biking with baby and our babysitting co-op

Babysitting coop parking. #bikewithkids This is how we roll.

{“parking” at our babysitting co-op & C. and I ready to head home}

I’ve noted before that I’m fortunate to have found a really wonderful group of parents in our current home town. Our group is made of a mix of work-at-home parents, work-outside-the-home parents, creatives, freelancers, and self-employed business owners. Everyone brings a variety of experiences and life stories to the group and we thrive because of such a great diversity. Linguistically, too, we have parents speaking Italian, German, Spanish, a bit of Japanese, and Romanian (yours truly).

As a result, there is constantly something going on and somebody planning something exciting. We currently have a baby book club (yes, our kids have their own book club), meet-ups at the park, family bike rides in the works (I’m planning that one, more to come later), and a babysitting co-op of sorts.

The babysitting co-op has just begun and is still in the early stages of development but I already know that it’s one of the best things we’ve come up with. It consists of me and two other mothers whose daytime schedules mirror mine and their babies, who are about the same age as C.

How it works:

We chose a day of the week that works for all three of us and we rotate going to each other’s houses where two adults stay and watch all three children while one of us gets a few hours to herself! Brilliant, right?

The idea is that we could all use a bit of time off but we all appreciate not having to splurge of a regular sitter in order to get out of the house.

This set-up works especially well for several reasons: the persons left in charge of the babies have the adult company and extra help of another parent (no one is solo managing multiple kids and trying to figure out how to escape to the bathroom for just a second while three mobile babies are tottering around). The person whose house is being used can actually do some light housework, cooking, laundry, etc, while the visiting adult oversees the kids. The visiting adult can watch the kids while getting to have adult conversation with the other person in the room. And, obviously, the person whose day off it is gets to take off with the peace of mind that her child is in good company and in good hands.

Added bonus: it doesn’t cost a dime.

Keepin it surreal. Coffee and writing

Last week, it was my day off. So after dropping C. off by bike, I pedaled to a local coffee shop and caught up on some much needed emails and writing. Initially, I wanted to ban myself from doing “work” during these precious hours to myself and thought of all the things I always want to do but never have the time for: reading a newspaper from cover to cover, perusing the shops and trying on stuff without having to keep a baby from crawling under the changing room doors and away from mama while she’s in some stage of undressed…you know, that.

But in the end, there was nothing I wanted to do more than write. As I’ve said before, now that my time to write is limited to a few windows here and there, I look forward to it and cherish that time. I get excited when opening up my notebook and reviewing my to-write list. And I love the familiar feel of working at a coffee shop, reminding me of a past life as a graduate student. Everything’s better through the hazy lens of nostalgia, right?

(In addition to the once-weekly baby share, I also have a yoga babycare set-up with another mother in our group. We alternate watching each other’s baby while the other one gets to attend a yoga class. One week I get both babies, the following week: namaste.)

I really enjoy my friends’ babies, having known them since they were born and delighting in their development and growth as much as I delight in seeing C. take off. And what’s more, I love seeing C. interract with her baby friends – babies that she’s been around since she came into this world. So even on days when I’m “on,” it still feels like a treat rather than work when I watch my friends’ babies. Our set-up works especially well because we can count on one another to honor those commitments and to respect each other’s parenting wishes. When living away from family and not having grandparents or aunts and uncles on which to rely, this set-up is a dream come true.

**

Do you share child care with friends in your community? If you only had an hour or two to yourself, how would you spend it?

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About simplybike

{Bikes, a new baby, and the story of us.}
This entry was posted in Baby, Biking in a Dress, Biking with Kids, Daily Commute, Family, Life in a Small Town, Stylish Cycling, Summer Cycling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to biking with baby and our babysitting co-op

  1. This is brilliant! Love that both the parents and babies benefit.

  2. We don’t do anything quite as formal as this, but we’re on a rotation with several neighbors with kids. We babysit so they can go on dates and they repay the favor. It seems like such a luxury that costs nothing!

  3. Bobbie says:

    I count as a “creative” right?

  4. Nadine says:

    Brilliant idea!

  5. Erica says:

    That baby seat is cute beyond words. Love it!

    I run a babysitting coop site that makes it super easy to manage a coop (keep track of points, emergency info, etc.). It’s free to use and sounds like it may make your coop even easier — SittingAround (http://sittingaround.com).

    ~Erica

  6. Rita says:

    This sounds like such a great idea!

  7. I LOVE this idea! Lauren {above commenter} recommended your site to me when I mentioned I was having trouble getting out on the bike because of lack of baby care. I’ve heard of co-ops before but they always scared me because I don’t trust myself with lots of kids at once haha. I love the idea that 2 adults stay with the kids- such a better alternative!

    Maybe you’ve mentioned this before, but how old was your baby when you started using the trailer with your bike?

    • simplybike says:

      We never did use a trailer because C. never liked it. But the first time we gave it a try was around 10 months old. That’s about how old she was when we tried the iBert child seat, which she liked right away. I think the rule of thumb is that they have to be able to sit upright and support the weight of a helmet; then they’re big enough.

      S.

      • Graziella says:

        While I am so happy that you have an amazing hands-on dad to Lucas, I think it’s kind of stnrgae that we praise them. I mean, wives AND husbands both decide to have a baby. Why should it be anything special to have a dad who is hands-on? Thats what they are supposed to be like? They should spend time with their children and take care of them equally with the mother. Maybe this is my immaturity talking but I just don’t understand all the praise for these dads. And if we praise these dad’s so much, why aren’t we praising the hands-on moms just the same? Hmmm, please shed some light on this for me T.

  8. Lisa says:

    Wonderful ideas! You are very fortunate to have so many other parents of young children in your community.

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