KIWI magazine's January 2012 issue

3 Types of Parenting Co-ops to Help Accomplish More (and Save Money)

KIWI magazine's January 2012 issue

KIWI magazine's January 2012 issue

Looking for ways keeping your family and home running smoothly? Forget hiring people to help; other parents might just be your best option.

There are never enough hours in the day to complete my to-do list. My friends and I often joke about what we could accomplish if we had a cook, housekeeper, chauffeur and personal assistant. Turns out, you don’t have to live in Hollywood to afford such help. An article in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of KIWI magazine highlights groups of parents across the country who are getting help from people who really know what they’re doing: other parents.

The article offered three ways to partner with other parents to get more done and save money at the same time.

Shopping: Getting to the grocery store is always on my agenda. And the days when I have all three kids in tow make those trips even more fun! One mom in Tower City, Penn., organized a shopping group among several families. Since they lived in a rural area, the parents had a tough time finding a decent grocery store. So each week, one family collected everyone’s lists and traveled two hours to shop at the nearest Whole Foods. It saved time and gas and allowed them to eat the kind of food they wanted.

Babysitting: Good babysitters are like gold among my friends. But even if you’re lucky enough to find one you and your kids like, affording them on a regular basis is a different story. Lots of parents arrange babysitting exchanges so they take advantage of a night out without having to watch the clock. The key is finding families with like-minded parenting philosophies, says the article.

Meal prep: Most families I know would prefer a home-cooked meal over one in a restaurant any night of the week. But with busy schedules it’s hard to carve out time to cook. A group of moms in Minnesota have developed a system that makes it easier. They cook and deliver meals for everyone else one night a week and are rewarded with no-work dinners three nights a week. They meet every few months to decide on entrees so they’re not eating the same meals too frequently. And it also helps them plan side dishes to prepare. The moms in the group say they like the setup not only for the time it saves, but it also exposes their families to food they might not have tried before.