Somewhere in the world it’s still Wednesday . . . right? Hoping so because I can barely remember what week it is – scratch that – I Can’t remember what week it is much less what day it is. I judge the days by whether it’s a work day or not. I work part-time so that is an easier judge for me. Nevertheless, I have trouble in this area.
I’ve been feeling an overwhelming need to contribute to the world. To volunteer, to write something, anything with meaning to someone more than myself (Not that this is). I’m hopefully going to start a group for parents and children at my church. We are a poor, small, and largely elderly lot in a colossal, stone church with magnificent Tiffany windows that is also elderly and in need of repairs. It is my hope that younger families and children will become interested in joining although that is not my primary focus.
Young, stay at home parents are frequently isolated, lonely, full of questions out of answers and bored with the daily routine. When I was younger, there was a program in our town where parents would meet once a month for a program while their children were babysat. The program each month would focus on a different aspect of importance to parents. A speaker might talk for 20-30 minutes, followed by a question-answer period. Topics could include: Saving for College funds, When to get a tutor for your child, First Aid, Budgeting for childhood expenses. There are plenty of relevant topics to draw from. (If any of you have suggestions, please let me know).
Children would be in a separate area with minders who have been background checked. Activities would be provided for participation. At the end of the parents’ time, there could be a potluck lunch.
Out of this, a couple of programs could evolve. First, a babysitting co-op could be developed. A parent needing a few hours off could find another parent in the co-op to babysit. The parent would then owe the co-op a number of points which would need to be eliminated by babysitting for someone else in the group. A small steering committee would keep track of the data and ensure quality care was being given. For instance, if a babysitter talks on the phone or works on a computer the entire time, watches inappropriate (adult, violent) shows, or is using drugs or alcohol during babysitting sessions the person could be eliminated from the program or warned, depending on the severity of the issue.
Another program I would hope to see emerge from the program would be playgroups that met weekly or every other week at different parks or places in the area. My children were in a playgroup from the time my oldest was five months old until he entered kindergarten. The playgroup mothers continued to celebrate births or other special occasions after the kids went to school. We even had an annual mothers’ weekend away at the beach.
There are a couple of more ideas I have for this population but they can wait a while. The nice thing is, once started, my contribution would be obtaining speakers while all else could be run by the parents. I’m past those years so it would not be appropriate for me to be involved any more. As I said, suggestions are welcome. Puleaseeee . . .