Babysitting coops, lifelong friends
Yesterday Elaine Argo stopped by for a chat. She was in town from Illinois to visit her family. Thankfully, I am considered part of that family. When our kids were wee ones we were in a babysitting coop together. That meant that we, along with about 30 other moms, took care of each other's kiddos. When you aren't blessed to live near your own family, you can't drop kids off at gramma's or Aunt Judy's for a couple hours. Even stay at home moms occasionally need to go to a doctor's appointment or the hair dresser without their munchkins in tow. So we form babysitting coops.
The gift of a few hours free time is wonderful when the kids are little. The gift of families being connected for a lifetime is far more wonderful. Those homes that would actually brave it out with my four and the regulars that I took care of in my home formed close ties. Linda Fortgang, Debbie Lee, and Elaine are three of the ladies that became like sisters to me and aunts to my kids. These friendships went way beyond babysitting. We spent time together, planned and attended birthday parties, and shared advice as well as our hearts with each other.
Elaine lived a ways out of town so when her kids had sports or music lessons she would hang out at my house. More than once I came home to find her mopping my kitchen floor or folding laundry with a cup of coffee. These ladies became my 'refrigerator friends'. Those who are comfortable enough in your home to make a pot of coffee and know where the cookies are hidden. Invitations are not necessary between us. We can just stop by and hang out. No straightening up the house to look like 4 kids didn't live there.
The best advice I could give moms with young kids is form or join a babysitting coop. It becomes your family away from home. If you do there may even be time for a bubble bath before your kids reach high school.