6 Easy Rules to Create and Keep Your Babysitting Barter System

Let’s talk about the fundamental rules of the babysitting barter system amongst parents.

1. You should never initiate a barter system with someone you just met.  This appears like you’re out right using the parent when most likely, they’re really seeking a companion for their child. This may also discourage the parent from further interaction with your child in an attempt to avoid you.

2. Don’t be too pushy.  Initiating a barter system can benefit both parties.  The key is not to appear overly aggressive.  Some parents don’t need to be a part of a barter system, others may not feel comfortable.  No matter the reason, the last thing you want to do is turn into a mob boss and begin issuing threats.

3. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about the children.  Yes, you want to go out and have fun or relax, or take an uniteruppted guilt-free nap; but at what cost? If your child isn’t actually friends with the other one, or they are uncomfortable being with the other parent you may want to reevaluate that partnership. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

4. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I a good babysitter?” If you can’t keep yourself from yelling, swearing and snatching up your own children every minute on the minute, what makes you think that you’ll be able to handle additional ones?

5. Only use the barter system as much as the other person is using it. If you and another parent have agreed to a barter system, then it should be equally beneficial. Think about a Libra balancing their scale. The moment it tips more to one side it’s over and the system will collapse along with your child’s companionship and your “in a pinch” baby sitter.

6. Remember it’s business even when it appears to be personal. I don’t care if you’ve known each other since second grade! Believe me when I tell you watching children can take it’s toll. Always remain courteous and professional when engaged in a babysitting barter system. This is the only way to ensure that the exchange will continue.

If you follow these six easy rules watch your babysitting barter system flourish. Not only that, but more parents will likely want to barter with you. Any parent knows how crucial babysitting options and emergency plans are. Don’t blow it!

The Balancing Act

There are days when my mommy skills seem to shine through and illuminate my daughters growth. Then there are days like today when I’m the exact opposite of anything shiny and nice; I’m a “mean mommy,” as my daughter would say. It’s the days when I’ve worked all day and smiled and provided exceptional service to others.  It’s the days when I’ve had to cook and clean and take out the trash and comb hair and give what’s left of my day to someone else.  It’s the days when I know I’ve practiced reading, writing and basic arithmetic with her, yet when we sit down to do homework my daughter is completely clueless as to what is being asked of her.  Then I snap.

I snap because I haven’t a smile left, I haven’t a nerve in reserve nor patience to take time out to assist my own child with her homework and that in itself frustrates and terrifies me.  I’ve realized that most days I spend my energy and time working and socializing out of fear that if I don’t bills won’t be paid and my daughter won’t have a room to play in.  It occurred to me that because I am playing the role of the provider and care taker that it’s hard for me to turn one off and the other on- while the care taker seems to dominate most daily agendas. 

As the demands of my career increases, so do the bonuses.  There’s a company car and gas card, there’s higher pay, there’s all expense paid travel, but what about the major con?  I’ve adopted a philosophy that there are no negatives, but I can’t help but wonder what is to come of my maternal instincts if I am unable to nurture them and put them to good use with my own off spring?  What is to become of this beautiful, innocent girl who at times is extremely lazy, but with guidance, support and unconditional love is completely capable of ruling the world?

We’re all balancing something.  They say nothing is every picture perfect; however when I look into those big brown eyes framed by lashes that grown women envy, I know that perfection exists and it’s often destroyed by negligence.  I pray for strength and more energy because I could never forgive myself if I destroy my greatest creation.