Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I am taking up some new offers

Is this the cutest image of 'help' ever? Sourced from here

Getting the kids looked after by other people hasn't really happened much here. Not for any real reason,  just no family close by, moving around a little, not originally being from the area, lack of funds for baby sitters at times, everyone having their own kids to look after, which when they are babies is hard enough.

But Popps starting school has made some management things tricky in the Huey Household. Mr H can not be relied upon to do a single drop off or pick up.

Prep kids need to be dropped at the class room and picked up outside the building, none of this sitting in the car and letting them walk to you business. No, no dropping them at the corner and making a mad dash to the next destination of work.

So it was that I reluctantly booked in to use the after school care program, there are 80 kids in prep. So far none of the kids in Popps' class are in after school care, the guilt at sending her was sitting there, but with a few meetings coming up we were just going to have to be the first.

But then some other Mums including some I barely know have offered their help.

"You can leave her with me"

"Drop her with us"

"I can do pick up on Friday"

Have all been phrases sent my way over the last month.

I hesitated.

I said I would think about it.

I wasn't sure.

Could I really pass over the responsibility of my child to other Mums, who had their own busy lives already, some whose homes I have never set foot in.

Yes, I could.

I have.

It is working well so far. Popps enjoys the visits at peoples houses. She and one of her new little friends have been bragging about how they are going to have breakfast together.

And the reason this came to be is simple. I am more than happy to help these Mums on my day off, or at Saturday dancing or swimming lessons or weekends when appointments need to be met.

This is Mummy Bartering.  An economic activity that has long thrived and prospered through all the GFCs of times gone by.

Are you a Mummy Bartererererer too (was that too many erers?)


  1. I think Mummy bartering is a great idea. I've done a bit of it and am thinking of suggesting a babysitting circle so none of us ever have to pay for a babysitter. I'm lucky I've managed to land in a lovely little neighbourhood with lots of families.

  2. My kids are way too old to need babysitting, and when they were younger most of my circle of friends hadn't started with kids yet. No mummy-bartering for me, although I did have some lovely older neighbours who helped out occasionally.

    A couple of weeks ago I was at a party and got to chatting to a lady who was also attending with her partner. She mentioned that their kids were being babysat, through a babysitting club. Several families are in it, most knew each other from mother's group and they take turns looking after each other's kids. Neat idea! I was jealous.

  3. I'm surprised no prep kids are in after school care. We won't need to use it to start with - but that's because my husband is a shift worker and my inlaws are local and retired. I'm the only one in mothers group who has that luxury - the rest will need to use after school care unless other mums offer.

    I'll certainly be happy to help out even though we won't really need it reciprocated. Certainly within my mothers group we are all willing to help our for things - I've looked after kids so mums can attend dr's appointments, uni, meetings etc and some of the mums have a babysitting swap going on so they can have 'date night' once a month or so.

  4. What a clever idea! Wish we had something like that around here especially when I went to uni! Glad it's working out :)

  5. I don't do this yet for a lot of the reasons you mentioned but think I really will do this as my boys grow. One of my mum's group friends and I are considering sending our oldest two to the same preschool & school for this very reason (not that I won't choose a different school if I want to!). I love your new phrase too! X

  6. We don't have the option of before / after school care. It's prob taken me til now - grade 2 and 4 - to really take mummy bartering on. We are a little different from some as there are kids at school that live up to 35km away! Slowly slowly....

  7. I am a barterer extraordinaire! Children, meals, time out. You name it. I regularly have 7 kids at my place whilst my main trader is doing her stuff. And then, in turn, I skip away from her place, alone. In one week I had her four boys whilst she went and had a pap smear, and then the next day she had my three whilst I went to an interview.

    We often cook up double dinners and take one to the others - then at least if the kids are all mad busy, dinner is already dealt with...

    I do also use after school care too - once a week - as a result of work & three kids in three different after school activities - Lexie, at age 5 is the only prep/reception/kindy kid. She LOVES it. I felt a bit guilty initially - but she evidently adores it, so I have let go of the guilt.

    1. Funny I have little guilt about the after school care, much more about taking up people on their offers to help. But already I am liking this idea.

  8. I love the bartering deal. Luckily I have made friends with a few of the other school mums who I'm very comfortable to leave Bell with. I'm always happy to reciprocate, because as an only child, it's nice for her to have other kids to play with at home.
    Because my hub is a shift worker, we can usually juggle, but there's always going to be those times when you need the help.

    1. Mr H used to do a lot more shift work than he does now, it was actually quite useful to swap shifts/hours in times of need.

  9. Great idea, especially for those without the luxury of grandparents or other family to help out (secretly envious of these people)! Sometimes we need help and it goes both ways. I was amazed when I started my business recently the offers of help I had from Mum's at our school. There are still some wonderful people out there :)

  10. I would if it wasn't for car seats and only being able to fit 2 in my little Corolla.
    What a great idea and such lovely mums.

  11. Oh Claire,

    It's a hard thing - handing over your kids to another person.

    Getting the kids looked after doesn't happen here much either. Not until late last year. I had to work more in the office. Massive work increase. I tried childcare, and hated every visit (less than 10). My eldest became clingly and he completely changed. My confident boy didn't even want to go to Kinder anymore. So, I started mummy bartering instead. It worked a charm. Now I have two girls at my place on Wednesday while she works, and she has mine on Fridays while I work.

    It's the best invention, and I'd rather it be someone we see on a regular basis, rather than strangers looking after the ones I love most.

    It's saved my life, and my budget too. (Gosh, childcare is SO expensive.) The boys even love it.


    Glad you've discovered it too. xx

  12. My kids are really not interested in after school care and used to have tantrums when they though it was going to be a necessity so instead they were dragged to work with me a few days after school. Now they walk to and from school with friends. Them being able to do that gives me an extra hour each day to 'get stuff done' at work. That said, I often arrive home after the kids and find that half the neighbourhood is in our house, playing games and devouring all the fruit and crackers. Free range parenting seems to be the go around here and I love it!

  13. as your kids get older and take on more activities, bartering becomes the only way to go … xt

  14. Mummybartering is a great idea. In my ideal world this would happen automatically - and be called communal tribal living, but modern families and parenting doesn't seem to catching up to my ideal! Unfortunately I have not found many mothers in my area offering anything though. I'm still hoping. So great that you have found a helpful arrangement!


Commenting brings amazing luck, you must try it and see how you go!