They say it takes a village to raise a child. Which is great if you actually, you know, live in a village.
But nowadays our society is so far removed from this type of culture that we don't even carry out simple practices that can work to share the load, give each other a break and save a bit of sanity. I don't know about you but I often struggle to find balance. How you find enough time in the day for family, individual, work and couple time is beyond me. Each week seems to only get busier and just when I think I've got one aspect sorted out it becomes apparent that the wheels are falling off elsewhere.
This year I am trying to 'bring back the village'.To not only give me a bit of time to do things that I need (want) to do, but also because I think it is healthy for Eamon to be able to spend time away from me, learning how to play with other little people. Oh and did I mention time to myself?!
So what have I organized?
The Kid Swap.
A friend of ours who lives just down the road from us is a work at home Dad with two boys (1 & 2). Once a week I take his two boys for the afternoon, then he takes Eamon on the following day. We swap after nap time, so no one has to worry about getting little ones to nap. This makes the day you have all the kids no stress at all, in fact its actually more fun, whilst the other person has a couple of hours to do what they please; work, clean, nap... So far this plan is working brilliantly, and I can tell you I enjoyed my two hours to myself today. I got all my orders for this week finished and even managed to have a shower (without having to share it with a little person!).
You don't realize how important having time with your partner is until you have a baby. All of a sudden everything is about the kid and you've forgotten the last time you had a conversation that wasn't about bodily functions, the lack of sleep or the latest funny thing he did. But organizing a babysitter is either expensive or you feel bad for asking a family member yet again. The solution? Swap babysitting time with another Mama (or Dad). The idea is that your partner stays home with your bub whilst you go look after your friend's bub in their own home. All babies in their own home and routines = a relaxing night for all parents (hopefully) and the babysitter even gets a night out of sorts (supplied DVDs sweeten the deal). Then a complete swap on another night means all parents have time to themselves without expense or anyone being put out.
So that is how I'm creating some balance this year (or attempting to anyway). I'd love to hear other ideas. How do you adopt a village mentality? Do you 'time share'?