Guest Post Wednesday: “This is where community happens”

For the first official guest blog post here at Texas Schmexas, I’m turning to my friend who roasts the beautiful coffee (mentioned here) and makes other crafty things I covet. Rebecca lives in a small town in (very) rural western New York that gets a lot of snow. (I just checked the weather forecast and it was negative one degree and snowing up there.) I’ve known Rebecca for about ten years, and in addition to being both talented and beautiful, she’s an impressive mother of two, graduate student, wife, community-builder, cook, and Pinochle player. You can visit Rebecca’s blog, The Rowley Four, for more stories like the one below, which she offered to share with you.

Over the past 2.5 years of living in Houghton, we’ve learned that there are many blessings of living in this small, relatively tight-knit community.  There are quirks (i.e., never being able to make an anonymous visit to the grocery store, everyone having an opinion on your new house color, neighbors who take photos of workmen at your house, etc.) but there are certainly benefits.

One of the huge perks that we’ve been able to maximize on is our local babysitting co-op.There’s a huge number of families with young kids around, so a babysitting co-op is an amazing solution to our full lives lived on a small budget.  Basically, we use a token system as currency for babysitting each others’ kids.  You either earn or spend:

One kid = 2 tokens/hour

Two kids = 3 tokens/hour

Three kids = 4 tokens/hour

And the way I see it, there are four main benefits to doing things this way:

1. We don’t have to shell out massive amounts of cash for a babysitter when we want to go on a date, which around here can really add up once you add in the two hours round-trip that it takes to get anywhere!

2. Our kids are getting watched by other parents.  I don’t want to offend any young sitters out there, cause that’s not my intent, but there’s just something comforting about knowing that your babysitters have successfully kept small children alive for a number of years.

3. Your kids love having someone else’s kids at your house.  And they love going to their friends’ houses. Playmates!  New toys!  And for you, what’s a couple more kids when your house already has the chaos of your own darlings?

4. This is where community happens.  When you share homes, share kids, participate in each others’ lives, facilitate romance and reconnecting, and leave money out of it.  We know people better, our kids know their friends better.

This can work anywhere.  Just get some friends with kids together, and make it happen!

Stay tuned for more guest posts about community here on Wednesdays at Texas Schmexas. I have a backlog at the moment but would love to add yours to the queue. There are no requirements–any musings about community as you’ve experienced it will do!

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4 comments on “Guest Post Wednesday: “This is where community happens”

  1. Stephen says:

    Great Guest Post… Thanks Rebecca. I have heard of babysitting co-ops, we have a bunch of friends that trade babysitting services. We also have found one of the benefits of being a part of a church youth group is having an abundance on young ladies who want to babysit, though I do like the comment about having other parents babysit because of the comfort in knowing they have kept small children alive for several years. 🙂 That made me smile.

  2. Elizabeth's Dad says:

    Great post! Enjoyed the humor of it all. Keeping the kids alive, eh? What a good idea! :<)

  3. elizabeth says:

    Stephen & Dad,
    Thanks for the comments. I’ll let Rebecca respond if she wants to. Also, she has another great post about community on her blog this week, so you might want to check it out.

    As for me, what I would add is that this is definitely one of the benefits of living in close proximity with folks you know–that’s the important part, right? Folks you know. If you don’t know your “neighbors,” you wouldn’t want them watching your kids, would you? Just one more reason why community is a good idea. 🙂

    Looking forward to sharing future guest blog posts!

  4. rowleyfour says:

    Liz, the three families that watch our kids the most all live within a five minute walk of our house – figurative AND geographical neighbors.

    Stephen, one would think that living on a small, Christian college campus, we would also be inundated by young people who want to watch our kids. What I’ve found, though, is that while many of them theoretically want to babysit, their busy schedules make it really difficult to carve out that time. Also, I often need time during the day so that I can get work done or run errands, and that’s much harder for a college student to commit to.

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