If you are like me then you know the value of allowing yourself some child-free time. I’d like to keep my sanity please. Whether it be by yourself, a much needed date-night with your spouse, or even to just get the grocery shopping or laundry done without little ones in tow; casual childcare, especially with the going rate of teen babysitters these days, can be a luxury many families just cannot afford. If you find yourself in this boat and are desperate for a mini break, its time to get creative with these childcare alternatives!
Creative Childcare Alternatives That Won’t Cost a Dime
1. Swap Child Care with a Mom-Friend.
If you have friends with children around the same age as yours offer to trade child care with each other. Local mom groups on FB are a great way to make mom-friends and find other parents open to swapping child care. You take the kids one evening, and the other set of parents take the kids another evening, and both sets of parents will enjoy a free night away!
The summer weather in July was amazing this year! We have been spending more and more time outside all day. We live on the west coast of Canada which brings it’s fair share of rainy days for a good portion of the year. Granted, all that rain also brings us lush green forests, beautiful lakes and amazing scenery…but for me, nothing beats the long warm sunny days of summer.
My daughter LOVES being outside – anytime the door opens she is making a break for it – rain or shine! If you have a little one I’m sure you will be taking advantage of the summer heat by spending lots of time outdoors too. I’ve gotten many ideas for outside play from our beloved daycare, and found a few of our own so far this summer. My daughter is 18 months at the time of this post and below is a list of our favorite 12 must have summer toys for babies and toddlers around her age. The best part – most summer goods are starting to go on sale in August making it great to prepare for next year!
My daughter is almost 18 months old and I am recovering from postpartum depression. Actually, post-weaning depression to be exact. Post-weaning depression? Huh? I didn’t know that was a thing either. I didn’t know it was a thing, a very real thing, for almost 8 months, with all the same physically and mentally draining shit-mix of emotions and hormones paired with unbearable anxiety and irritability…all the things every mother dreams of being. *NOT*
I fully weaned my daughter when she was about 10 months old. She was down to only 2 feeds a day, I was back to work, and she was showing less and less interest in it. I felt a little sad and knew I would miss our bonding time, but at the same time, I could see light at the end of the tunnel. She weaned quickly without any signs of emotional difficulty, and I only had one short bout of plugged milk ducts that cleared up within a couple days.
It’s common knowledge that a major hormonal shift happens after birth and that shift is the underlying cause for postpartum depression. What I didn’t know is that a similar shift occurs again when a woman stops breastfeeding. Slowly I started to feel an unrecognized change in me. I didn’t even know postpartum depression could occur anytime within the first year since giving birth. It didn’t cross my mind that the shift within my myself that I was feeling could be related to postpartum depression – I was 10 months out after all. Just when I should be feeling happy to have extra freedom since weaning and to have my body be all mine again, right? Wrong.
If you have a baby on the way and plan to breastfeed or know someone who is this is an AWESOME FREEBIE! Breastpads.com are offering 10 FREE pairs of washable breast pads with Insane in the Mombrain promo code PJBABY.
When I was about 7 months pregnant I started realizing I may need a little more for when the baby arrives. I was thinking of all the main items like a place for her to sleep, carseat, clothing, diapers, etc…but then one day I was reading an article (probably something super relaxing along the lines like “even more things to remember before baby arrives…”) and among those things they mentioned getting a comfortable nursing bra and breast pads if choosing to breastfeed. I had the bras, but breast pads had not even crossed my mind before! When I punched “washable breast pads” into Google, I came across Breastpads.com – a company that was giving away 10 free pairs of breast pads. All you had to pay was the shipping. Being the skeptic that I am, I did a quick search for reviews but didn’t come up with much. So having zero previous experience with these I figured what the heck and ordered them.
I remember when I was a kid – I LOVED learning and educational games. Heck, I still do. Anything that exercises my busy brain and is fun at the same time is a win win in my books. My daughter is 16 months now and is like a walking and babbling learning sponge…you can practically see the knowledge being absorbed! I recently discovered a really cool online store that specializes in learning tools, resources and games just for kids: Educents. I have already found so many neat ideas in the Pre-K section for my daughter and it goes all the way up to College so I’m looking forward to checking out each section as she grows. If your child is interested in Minecraft, butterflies, space, architecture, traveling…you name it, or you do home schooling, Educents probably offers a way to turn your child’s interests into a fun lesson. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to check out Educents’ new freebie at the bottom of this post!
For the first 6 months after my daughters birth I was a stay at home mom and had intentions of being so until she was at least 2 or 3 years old. I actually had this idea before she was even born – isn’t it funny how quickly life can change!? It wasn’t until the 8th month mark of my daughters life that I started thinking about going back to work. I felt both excited to be getting back into the “adult” world and being able to contribute financially to our family (even though my partner has always reassured me that he is perfectly happy supporting the 3 of of), yet I was extremely nervous about leaving my daughter in the care of others…especially people I didn’t know.
Luckily when I first started back to work it was part-time and because my partner owns a seasonal business, he was able to stay home with our daughter…Mr. Mom! It was a perfect transition, but now that my partners busy season is approaching, so is the company’s I work for and my hours have now switched from part-time to full-time. That meant we needed to look for daycare 5 days a week. I was very anxious about which daycare provider I could trust with the person most important to me. I did a lot of research on things to look for in a daycare as well as what questions to ask to be sure I chose the safest, best option for my kids so I could feel assured in dropping them off there everyday.
Let’s face it – becoming a mom takes over your life. All of a sudden your entire existence become all about another person – and while it is perhaps THE greatest feeling of all – whether you are a first time mom or mom of 3+, so many of us often lose ourselves in the process of transition from parentless to parent.
I can personally say this because it happened to me. It still happens to me if I’m not careful. After my daughter was born in 2015, I went through a time where I completely lost myself and who I was. I barely had time to think, let alone read in peace, be with friends or do any of my hobbies that make me feel like “me”. I was there for my daughter, my family and my work…but I wasn’t truly there in the moment. I was just doing, not living. I would get up, get myself and my daughter ready, go to work, come home, dinner, bath, bedtime routine…then go to bed, get up the next day and do it all over again. I knew what I was doing was important, and I love my Mom title and will always be there for my family, but I realized I needed a little “Me” time to recharge and connect with who I am as an individual too. These are ways I have found that allow me to reconnect with my identity beyond just being a mom – I hope you find them useful for you too!
I love to laugh and love a good friendly prank…so now that I have a little one of my own I’ll be sure to be pulling some of these when April Fools rolls around at my house! I can’t wait to do something unexpected that will surprise and make my daughter laugh with silliness!
Myra is still a little young for most of these ideas…but here are some kid-friendly April Fools day pranks I will be saving these for coming years!
Wrap your toddlers toys in shrink wrap and watch as they are mesmerizes by it! They will love discovering it and unwrapping them!
Freeze their Breakfast
Fill your child’s bowl with cereal and milk – then stick it into the freezer overnight! The kids will be in for a surprise when they go to take a scoop with their spoon!
Stuff marshmallows onto the tips of branches in your yard. Tell the kids the marshmallows are ready for picking and watch the look on their faces as they race outside to pick the “berries”.
Pudding or Juice Swap
Instead of a glass of milk or juice, give them a glass of vanilla pudding or set jello. They will be in for a surprise when they go to take a drink!
Fill your child’s pillowcase with balloons at nap time. Watch them discover what they pillow is *really* made of!
Funny Colored Milk
Put a drop or 2 of food colouring in their milk…and pretend you have no idea it’s a different color!
Grape Chocolate Eggs
Using leftover Easter egg chocolates, use the foil wrapping and wrap grapes – get ready for all sorts of reactions when they discover a grape inside instead of chocolate!
Have a happy and funny April Fools Day! Have you pranked your kiddies before?
I recently posted a “grinds my gears” thought on my Facebook and it got quite a bit of response from all perspectives so I thought I would share it on here too. It’s about the average cost of teenage babysitters these days. I’m talking your casual young teen sitters…not an experienced nanny, licensed daycares or ECE’s, etc who have made child care their careers. I’m talking “little-to-no-work-experience-and-still-too-young-to-qualify-for-a-regular-job-teen”.
$8+ per hour (I’ve heard as high as $12 if the teen is “experienced”). Maybe I am way behind the times, but I’m a numbers and stats girl…and to me, these numbers just don’t add up.