Babysitting co-op rules and pros/cons
Babysitters in this area are soooo expensive that a few moms in my area are discussing doing a babysitting co-op where we help each other with babysitting -- the parent babysitting is getting playdates for own kids (which sometimes includes sleepovers) while the other parent gets to have kid-free time without having to worry about crazy cost of childcare in this area and gets someone they know and trust watching the kid. The thing is that I already do it (and have been for a while) with a couple of very close friends but we are so close that we just do it naturally and casually with the kids staying in each others' houses whenever the need arose, the kids all like and play well together, the moms agree on key things and get along, and we have no rules, no points, or anything like that -- just whoever needs help will text the other two and see who can take the kids for a playdate/sleepover, sometimes even last minute, almost like one will text family. It works well and likely will continue to work like this with those moms. Some other mom-acquintaces heard about us watching each others' kids and suggested we do a babysitting co-op, invite more moms, and do it like a club, but since I only casually know some of those other moms it feels like the casual way we did it before won't work and we need rules, which we have been discussing. Anyone has been in one of those babysitting co-ops and if so what rules did you have and what points system did you use to keep it fair? I'm wondering how you address a situation where moms have different number of kids, different ages and potty training status and sleep ability, some kids being a lot more difficult than others, different parenting methods, etc. We were excited about it at first, but now the more we discuss it, the more we are wondering if a more official expanded co-op is even worth it to us since there is already three of us who are close, with kids who are all easy and similar ages, and we already do it for each other and this will complicate matters and might make it less fun and a positive thing (since the kids of the other two moms are more like family at this point) and make it feel like transactional and like work. If you did it, was it a good experience?