I had a six-month old and a two-and-a-half year old, when I did my first “Momma Trade.”
I met a woman at the park who had children the same age as mine. We connected immediately and began talking about being with the children full-time. We both loved being with our kids, however, we had paper-work and creative projects that we wanted to attend to and found it nearly impossible to split focus while tending to our children.
We started to brainstorm a situation wherein we could meet at one of our homes and one of us would retreat to a separate room with a phone and a computer and “get stuff done,” while the other would hold court with the children. After an hour or so, we would switch. This would read like a regular playdate for the children, but as moms, we could accomplish something while our children played.
This stranger and I were friendly, trusted each other intuitively, and could have blossomed into friends in our own right, but at this juncture in each of our lives, we needed the “alone time” more than we needed to bond.
We set our first meeting for Wednesday at noon. We gathered in her children’s bedroom, said our hellos, and she brought out snacks. The toddlers got into a groove with some blocks and the babies were content with a couple of soft mirrors. She gave me the nod, and I slipped away. I escaped quietly to her bedroom, opened up my laptop and breathed a huge sigh of relief. My children were content, I was in the next room, but my psychic space was my own. I could hear sounds from the next room but did my best to block them out. The other mother was capable, my children were safe and it was okay for me to “unplug” from them for one hour.
The hour passed in record time. When my time was up, I joined my new found village momma. We both nursed our babies and we filled each other in a few more tidbits about our respective lives. Then she excused herself to the bedroom and I gathered the children into the living room. I read books and created a safe space wherein the children could discover each other and their environment together. The hour passed swiftly.
I left her house and we made a date for the same routine the following Wednesday at my house. We did this for a few weeks, and soon decided to up the ante to two mornings a week. It was the ultimate arrangement: green (no new resources,) free (trades are cost-free childcare,) and effective (knowing we had only one hour, we maximized the time with laser focus and intensity.)
I encourage new moms to reach out, take the risk and meet someone new, or maybe establish a new routine with an existing friend and try out a Momma Trade.
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About Jessica Williams
Jessica Williams created L.O.V.E. Parenting with a series of techniques for effective communication, deepened connection and more joy in parenting and life. Jessica is also the creator of www.UltimateParentingCourse.com with the best of today’s progressive parenting experts together in one program. Jessica is a featured expert internationally on both Mothering.com’s Ask An Expert and the upcoming www.KidsInTheHouse.com. Jessica is a regular contributor to Mothering Magazine’s All Things Mothering, LA Parent Magazine, LA Mom Magazine & DailyBuzzMoms. She has been interviewed on television and radio and taught workshops at family wellness centers, schools and doctor’s offices. Her BirthKit has helped women have a transformational & empowering birth. Jessica maintains a private coaching practice in her native Los Angeles where she lives with her husband and their three children. “Truly amazing woman. I love her advice.”—Carrie-Anne Moss. “All you have shared has helped tremendously.”—Lisa Bonet. “I am experiencing nothing short of a miracle thanks to your laser beam approach.” –Andrea Bendewald.