From Kara at Mama Sweat:
... have slowly been building my safety net of neighbors. You know what I mean: a neighbor you ask to go to the bus stop when you're stuck in traffic; a neighbor who will dog sit when you're out of town; a neighbor who will run with you when you don't feel like going it alone. I have found these blessedly nice people and even a bonus: the neighbor who can stitch up a wound in her own kitchen...
Short of having sister wives, a good safety net of neighbors can ease the stress of motherhood, especially when it comes to childcare. The ultimate in friendship is being able to take on a friend's brood when she needs a quick getaway or her scheduled sitter has left her high and dry. Or, if you're me, you need a workout. Bad.So when my neighbor Cara (I know! Same name! I've never had a friend with my name before!) asked if I could watch her two boys for her I was honored that she would ask. When she offered to bring me lunch, I politely turned her down. I don't want lunch. I want the luxury of a workout in the middle of the day unencumbered by children.'Cara got what she needed. Kara got what she wanted. I think Cara and Kara have the beginning of something beautiful.
From ChristyP at It's a new day every day:
Two related items:
1) One day last week I got home from work early to grumpy kids. The verbal one requesting to play with a friend. I called one who graciously said "Come over!". Kids played. We drank wine, and I (barely) helped her assemble dinner. We had leftovers at home. Afterwards, there was a Facebook exchange about playdates during 'the witching hour' and why didn't we do that more often.
2) Yesterday a friend emailed to invite us over for the evening. I suggested cooperative dinner and delineated what I planned to make (sweet potato and corn chowder). Kids played. She and I cooked in parallel. We all ate together. No more effort for me (except the drive) than cooking for my own family, probably less in fact because the kids were entertained with an extra small person and her unfamiliar and therefore enticing toys.
The lessons here will not be new to at least some of you (bearingblog readers), but I still think that they are worth repeating.
1) Be open to possibility.
2) Take a chance then evaluate what worked and didn't (last night kids were too busy playing to eat very well and required more bedtime snack than usual).
3) Reach out. I'm feeling inadequate on this point at the moment because in our current living situation we lack the room and chairs to entertain well (i.e. without guests sitting on the floor).
4) It doesn't have to be perfect.
5) People you treat as family don't have to be related to you.
6) Make a plan and then execute it.
If it doesn't work with one person, try someone else. It's worth it.