Mothers with Young Children Need Help! Let’s Talk about How

For the past couple months, life with my 2 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old has seemed….pretty manageable.  It’s to the point, where I’m like….should I have another baby?  Because I should just be jumping back on the crazy train as soon as I’ve caught my breath, right?  I’ve started reading more, writing more, cleaning more, and just lounging more.  And then I got the urge to volunteer my time in some way.  Rather than sitting around, enjoying how easy I have it and thinking about me, me, me; I wanted to figure out a way to help others, with my 2 little ones in tow.  Near and dear to my heart is helping other mothers who are buried deep in the trenches of motherhood.

IMG_5836

Back when we had a 15 month old and a newborn.

I have some friends who have just had or are having their 3rd baby and their oldest is 2 1/2 or younger.  I can only imagine how challenging and tiring that would be. That could’ve been me had God not taken pity on my sanity and given me time to figure out NFP without another surprise during the confusing early months when Silvia was a newborn.  I respect my friends and their sacrifice to faithfully practice or attempt to practice NFP even with children so close together, and I want to help.  I want to be God’s hands, cleaning their houses, making them dinners, and keeping their older kids busy.  I know that God won’t give them more than they can handle and that He will carry them through the difficult times, but maybe God wants to use me to physically carry them through.  In this very manageable season that I’m in, maybe it’s my turn to reach out and help.  Also, I already have my own help.  My two neighbor girls, aged 11 and 7, are answers to my prayers for help that I cried out years ago.

Today, I brought my kids to my friend’s house and the four toddlers played together while she and her husband took their newborn to a doctor appointment and then did a little housecleaning.  I did my best to help clean, too. I could have stayed all day and cleaned (cuz I’m weird and actually enjoy it), but alas, there were 4 toddlers to help take care of.  I’ve made plans with her to make this a weekly event for a while.

I’m still brainstorming ways to help all these moms that need help.  In our modern world of isolation, I want to build communities and networks that have each other’s backs.  We and many of our friends don’t have family in town.  It can be so difficult to get help without paying your left arm for a babysitter.   When a crisis pops up and the babysitter isn’t around, it’s important to have a safety net of people you can turn to.

I’ve thought about something like a co-op daycare, where moms could drop their kids off for a few hours while a couple of other moms babysit together; and then they all switch babysitting duties the next time.  In busy seasons, where moms have newborns, they would be exempt temporarily from babysitting duties, but could still drop their kids off.

My friend thought that moms should just swap babysitting and/or cleaning with another mom.

Also, what we need is more “big” kids to help out like my neighbor girls.  They are at an age where they love little kids and find them so adorable; so they like to play with them.  Leo loves big kids because they run around with him, play hide and seek and push him on the swing.  They don’t take his toys like the other toddlers do.  They are kind of like older siblings and they can be mommy’s helpers at home while she cooks,cleans, works on something or just relaxes.   My little sister babysat (without charging) for a large family for several years.  She started when she was in middle school and continued to babysit throughout high school.  The mom would work from home on her business or do housework while my sister was there.  I see now what a blessing she was for that family.

Do you have any ideas on how to help moms with young children?  Or how to build up communities?  I’d love to hear them.

 

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rebekah
    Apr 06, 2014 @ 05:02:02

    You’ve got some great ideas here. It is so kind of you to want to reach out to others in your “free” time. It is definitely something young mothers need, that is for sure, someone to help them and give them a hand once in a while.

    Reply

    • Deanna
      Apr 06, 2014 @ 13:47:15

      Rebekah, does swapping with others work as families get large? Are there other ways you get help from people with your kids? I guess as they get older, they can be dropped off at frIends’ houses for a while to play.

      Reply

      • Rebekah
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 03:11:06

        I used to swap a lot when I had two kids. Once I had three, the other mom I used to swap with also had three but then she went back to work so I didn’t have that option anymore. Mostly everyone works around here. The one way I get help is through a woman at church who volunteers to come over on friday to stay with the kids while I go to the store. I think the swapping works best when you have several moms who can help each other out.

      • Deanna
        Apr 07, 2014 @ 13:17:47

        It’s amazing what a difference one willing volunteer makes. That’s great you’ve found someone (or someone’s found you).

  2. Rachel
    Apr 07, 2014 @ 02:13:17

    I have a friend who is part of a babysitting co-op. Every time she babysits someone’s child, she “earns” hours for someone else to watch her kids. In this way when she needs a sitter, anyone in the co-op can babysit, and she is not dependent on trading days with one other mom who may or may not be available when she needs it. Seems to work pretty well. Btw, it is great to hear you are doing so well. And I have always wondered what kind of volunteer work you can do with a toddler in tow. I never thought of the importance of the work I am already doing when I help watch other family’s kids.

    Reply

    • Deanna
      Apr 07, 2014 @ 13:12:40

      Hey Rachel, good to hear from you. The babysitting co-op sounds interesting. I’d like to hear more about the logistics and the ideal number of participants. I’ll have to talk to you more about it. :).

      Reply

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