One Mom’s Monthly Childcare Swap Idea Goes Viral

“If you have friends with kids, you need to childcare swap! It’s so nice to reconnect with your spouse and be something other than just a mom.”
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published May 23, 2023
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Image: Gorodenkoff | Shutterstock

When you’re a parent, things that don’t get put on the schedule often don’t happen. That’s why it’s so important to block out time not only for doctor’s appointments and work trips but also for you. When it comes to penciling in self-care or date night, one mom has gone viral for her simple set-it-and-forget-it approach to monthly “time off.”

Jessica, the face behind neurodivergent MomTok AppleSauceandaADHD, recently shared her monthly childcare swap idea with the masses. “It’s childcare swap night, which means that I’m at my friend Emily’s house,” Jessica shared from her close friend’s kitchen. “I fed her kids dinner, put them to bed, and now I’m waiting for her and her husband to get home from their date. And I told them stay out as late as possible please, because last time they didn’t. We made them reservations at a tiki bar downtown and then they’re going to the movies.”

“We do this once a month,” she noted. “So, I come over and watch her kids put them to bed and do all the bedtime routines. My husband stays home with my kids, and then in the future, she’ll do the same to me.”

Along with the things that you could expect from a typical babysitter, Jessica says she and Emily also work through things like potty training with each other’s children and they take care to tidy up each other’s houses at the end of the night because “It doesn’t feel like a break if you don’t come home to a cleaner home.”

“If you have friends with kids, you need to childcare swap! It’s so nice to reconnect with your spouse and be something other than just a mom,” Jessica emphasizes. “Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, and sometimes I feel like all I am is waiting on kids, cleaning butts, wiping noses, and I never get to be with my spouse at all. Sometimes I don’t even get to have a conversation because my kids are so loud making noise, so doing once a month really helps.”

While the idea of community childcare isn’t new, committing to carving out time once a month and having someone you can count on as childcare prices rise can really be a game-changer. “It’s really nice to have something to look forward to where you have an opportunity to schedule a date with your spouse and really reconnect. Which is something we weren’t getting before. In the whole four and a half years that I have been a parent, I have probably gone on a handful of dates with my husband. And that’s really hard on a marriage to not get that one-on-one time,” Jessica said.

But in an increasingly isolated post-pandemic world, many moms voiced their concerns that they didn’t have friends like Emily they could count on for these monthly swaps. “I didn’t always have an Emily,” Jessica replied. “If you find a mom you vibe with out in the wild, ask for her number! It’s awkward, it’s weird, do it. You will be so happy you did it. And so will the other mom. We are all out here lonely, well, maybe not all of us, but a lot of us are out here lonely, and we really just want a friend…Go make a mom friend!”

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