10 Ways Busy Moms Save Time and Energy by Sharing Childcare and other Mom Duties

Susanna Sisson's picture
Clothesline that says Mama in clothespins

They say, “It takes a village” and yet the idea of cooperative living hasn’t really taken off in the United Stated. I’m not talking about “Sister Wives” but why not consider a cooperative to take the burden off you and other moms? Learn how busy moms save time and energy by sharing childcare and other mom duties.

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When my parents were starting their family, my grandmother came for a few weeks to help with the first two kids. When I was born, she just moved into the extra bedroom and stayed. It made sense to have family to help with the kids and household chores since both my parents had full-time jobs in order to support the family, save money and afford tuition at a small church school. My grandmother took up to school and picked us up and made most of the family meals. So, in essence, my grandmother raised four kids and did a lot to take care of the entire family.

When this country was being settled, communities worked together for the common good. People helped each other. If someone needed a new barn the community would have a barn-raising. Now in a lot of communities and neighborhoods, most people don’t even know their neighbors.

However the idea of cooperatives is fresh in the minds of some people who long for more friendship and someone to help take off some of the pressures of being a mom.

But what if you don’t have the luxury of having a relative to help? Here’s how busy moms save time and energy by sharing childcare and other mom duties.

1. Childcare – When my daughter was younger to save money, I would swap off childcare with one of her friend’s moms. It worked out pretty well since they spent most of their time together anyway so it was more like shared play dates. Since I worked an overnight shift at the hospital this worked perfectly. If you don’t have sisters or cousins with children who you can trade childcare with, then consider trading childcare with friends. You can try to find a childcare cooperative, join a meetup group or a mommy and me group, or just find moms in your neighborhood. Trading childcare works great whether you have to work, or if you just want a date night.

2. Carpooling – We all feel like ‘chauffeurs’ or a taxi service from time to time rather than moms but that’s just how it is raising kids. Getting kids back and forth to school can be a huge pain, especially if you’re not organized. In the past I’ve teamed up with moms in my neighborhood so our kids could ride-share. Instead of taking the kids to school, you pick them up or vice versa or you swap days driving. Sharing rides makes sense for the planet and your pocketbook.

3. Cooking – Some people love to cook and others, not so much. What if you form a mom’s cooperative for trading meals? Get together with friends, decide on any foot restrictions and how often you’ll get together to exchange food, discuss recipes and choices, have an opt-on time and date so you’ll know how many people are going to participate and what they plan on cooking, cook and prepare foods then meet again to exchange. You can do this weekly, twice a month or once a month depending on what people prefer. Here’s a sample sign-up sheet you can use for meetings.

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4. Community garden – I have friends who love to garden and would like to have a better variety. They solved the problem by getting together with a few close friends and buying an empty lot in the neighborhood to have a community garden. Everyone help’s with preparation and planting and everyone benefits by having fresh fruits and veggies.

5. Farm goods – Some people raise eggs or are beekeepers and have these staples they can share or trade, so don’t forget to include people in your group who may not have kids but want to participate in food exchanges.

6. House or Pet Sitting – Taking a vacation can be stressful rather than relaxing especially when you’re worried about your house or pet. Finding someone to watch the family pet or boarding which may cause added stress and anxiety for your pet is sometimes difficult. Here’s the solution. Why not ask your neighbors to trade house-sitting or pet-sitting?

7. Sewing – Maybe you’ve got a friend who is handy at sewing or mending but you don’t know a bobbin from a bobsled. Sewing is almost a lost art but rather than throw away clothes that can be mended or altered include friends in your group who can sew then figure out what you can do for them. Maybe you can trade errands or doing the lawn from time to time.

8. Shopping – Personal shopping services are expensive but what if you have friends you can trade shopping with for things such as groceries? Companies like Walmart now even provide pickup services so if you have a list of items you normally purchase and can order online, you can take turns picking up everyone’s groceries. If your area hasn’t gone to free pickup, shared shopping can still work even if you just share rides and do the shopping together. It’s always more fun to have a friend to break the monotony.

9. Cleaning – Most people have their own way of doing housework or might be embarrassed about how their house looks but there are cleaning cooperatives. I have a friend who loves cleaning so we would trade house-cleaning for my taking her child to school and home since she worked and I worked from home. It worked for us, I had a clean house and she didn’t have to worry about her child and could concentrate on her job.

10. Home repairs – this may not sound like something that would be a mom thing but over the years I’ve learned to do carpentry, fix washing machines and small appliances and even my own lawnmower, so if you can find a friend who’s handy at typically ‘guy’ things ask her to join your group. I’m even thinking of starting my own home remodeling cooperative to share things people don’t need, want, or have over-purchased and can be used by others to make home repairs. I have about seven friends who are all in that home remodeling mode so we also can help each other with jobs that require an extra set of hands.

I think most people have become so isolated they don’t know how to ask for help or work together for the common good, but mom cooperatives not only allow women (or men) to make new friends they can help busy moms save time and energy.

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