I needed a life-line. I was sinking.
When my third child was born in 2001, I went into a state of mommy shock. Suddenly, everything was harder. I never got sleep (compared to ALL the sleep I was getting as a mom of 2 under 3, of course). I had no social life because getting out of the house with all 3 kids was nearly impossible (or just too much for my exhausted self), dinners were very simple because I couldn’t handle cooking while dealing with 3 little ones who desperately needed my attention during the dinner hour. And date nights? Didn’t happen. Ever. Whether it was my lack of planning ahead to schedule a teenager to come over on a Friday night or simply my hesitation to pay $25-40 EXTRA on top of whatever we payed for our actual date….they weren’t happening. Obviously, this situation didn’t benefit my already-suffering mommy spirits.
And then a glorious thing happened. We were talking with another couple (who had 2 kids) who were feeling the same way. They wanted to get out but they didn’t want to (or couldn’t afford to) pay for a babysitter. We arranged to swap babysitting with them every weekend. We would drop our kids off at their house on a Friday night. The kids would eat a kid-friendly dinner together, play for an hour, and then get ready for bed. When our date was over, we’d pick up our sleeping kids, transport them from their house to our car, and then back home to their beds. The next weekend, they’d drop their kids off at our house for the same routine. It was heaven-sent.
Some weekends, we’d bring all of the kids to one of our houses, put them to sleep upstairs, and then watch movies and play games in the basement until we were tired and ready to go home.
It was incredible how much better I began to feel and how much more I was able to handle once I was having a regular break. And that couple became a few of our best friends.
These days, I’ve got a built-in babysitter (ie–a teenaged daughter!) in the evenings but I still often need someone to watch AJ while I make a trip to the doctor or to volunteer at the kids’ school. I still swap with other moms to get those things done. The kids consider it a play-date, and we moms get to accomplish something that needs to be done.
I’ve lived in this house for 12 years, and have a good network of friends at school and church, but many people don’t have that kind of network. Where do you find these mommy-swap opportunities? What about playdates for your pre-school kids? Do you hang out at local playgrounds and hope to get lucky?
Enter HiveMoms.com. Here’s a little information about what HiveMoms offers (and why!):
Our hope is to recover the good old days of “growing up in the neighborhood”, which often seems lost in these modern times. We embrace the fact that it takes a village to raise a child. Every mom needs a friend, and a helping hand now and then. In a pinch, every mom needs to know there is someone she can trust to look after her kids for a few hours, sometimes a few days.
Our website is designed exclusively for moms. Working moms, stay-at-home moms, work-at-home moms, married moms, single moms – these are only labels. At the end of the day, we all need the occasional companionship, date night or just a few hours away from the kids. To help moms build a support network, HiveMoms provides geolocation search and free online co-op features that allow a user to:
(a) Find other moms who live nearby;
(b) Join playdates being hosted by moms in her neighborhood;
(c) Join babysitting co-ops run by moms in her neighborhood;
(d) Earn and spend points by taking turns to babysit within a babysitting co-op; and
(e) Post her babysitting needs to the wider HiveMoms community.
In these recessionary times, babysitting co-ops also make sense for the household budget. Moms get the double benefit of a trusted support group, and saving up to $1,000 a year on babysitting fees.
HiveMoms serves moms all over the US. For free! Don’t do co-ops or already have a swap set up? What about playdates? How often do we miss great families that are just around the corner because we’re all so busy?
How often do you get out without the kids and what benefits do you see from that time away?
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by HiveMoms.com. I am a member of HiveMoms and have found parents right here in my neighborhood to connect with and help. The views and experiences are mine.
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