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I am a new mom and I'm in need of some help!

In addition to being a SAHM I am still enrolled in college, but am taking classes on the weekends when dh is home for now... with my daughter around I am getting behind in my studies.

Would you suggest I start/join a baby sitting co-op with other moms in the area or hire a mother's helper and why?

Also please share any experience you have had with mother's helpers or co-ops.

TIA
 

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Re co-ops... the amount of interest you will find depends on where you live. We started/ used a childcare co-op for ds's care from age one to two, and it was wonderful care... the BEST childcare we could have given him while I worked part-time. It was a lot of work, and a lot of intense dynamics though, since the care of our children is something most folks have strong feeling about.

I am hope most of the time now, and we are part of a babysitting co-op we use for appointments, nights out, etc. This also requires some effort, especially to get it going, but if you like watching other kids sometimes it is a great solution to cheap occasional care.

PM me if you have specific questions. I love co-operative care, and could ramble on all day.
 

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Pre mommyhood, I was a nanny. I thought I did well with the kids... but after becoming a mom myself, I realized that there are things a person who has not been a parenet can NEVER really know about "how to care for a baby" that a mom can. So if you want to best care for you babe, then I would suggest the co-op. Also, with the co-op I'm involved with, there is always "back-up" moms. If you hire someone, usually there is no back up if they get sick or even quit on you.
 

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I think the main difference is that with the mothers helper there are no strings attached and you are always with your baby. I don't know how old the babe is, but at a really young age (less than 18months) I think a mothers helper would be better, especially if you are nursing. You can get your studies done while a helper is at the house watching the baby or helping with light housework. You can be confident that your baby is being cared for properly because you are close by and always available.

With a co-op you have to swap so you actually don't gain that much time, yes some, but you have to return the sitting which is less time for your studies. I belong to a co-op and love it. I am extremely happy that I have moms to swap care with and the older the child gets the more I feel you actually NEED this. It is good to start out when the babes are small, but I think a co-op is more a social effort for your child and you and a mom's helper is help for you because you need it.

N
 

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I have belonged to a co-op for 11 years. We do everything from daytime, evening and overnights. We work out with the sitter which house.
The only way I see a co-op working for you is if you swapped with a mom who had older children and wanted someone to sit for them in the eve. You would go to their house put the kids to bed and study. It is nice because there is nothing demanding your attention.

I could not afford to hire someone to come to my home. Now that my kids are older I go to there houses to watch younger children.

We all met at LLL and branched out to people we met at church or school.

It is easiest to join an existing co-op.

If you can afford to hire a teen go for it.
 

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It depends on the degree of control you want to have.

If you don't mind loosening the grip a bit, then a co-op might work. If you want your rules followed about all things all the time, then you probably should go with a mother's helper. Plainly speaking, in general you will be able to boss around a mother's helper more. You're unlikely to be able to do that with an experienced mom, though of course they should honor as many of your requests as possible, and most co-ops have a discipline policy written into the bylaws.

Most co-ops work out so that you must be able to give as many hours as you take. So be sure to budget that time into your pros/cons list.

I think co-ops are wonderful when run well. That is a very important factor. It's actually not as easy to get one off the ground as you'd think, but there are some very very good books out there to help. However, they also a degree of willingess to trust a group of folks (and to be trustworthy in turn), and I tend to not enjoy having a lot of people to deal with. I've had better success with trading babysitting/errand days with one or two other moms, which provides much of the benefits and cuts out the politics (which can happen in a co-op, just like any other group activity--but as I said, with good leadership and very clear policies it doesn't have to be a problem). And if you're a social person, it can be a great way to meet other moms too.
 
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