When I was in high school, my best friend and I could regularly be overheard declaring “Dollar Exchange!” Sarah came up with this little phrase as an excuse for us to help each other pay for things – coffee, lunch, movie tickets, whatever the need was at the moment. If I didn’t have enough money with me, she would quickly cover the cost and exclaim, “Dollar Exchange!” The understanding was that next time she needed a few dollars, I would do the same for her. It was an ongoing Dollar Exchange. We never kept a tab. We just knew that we were always there to help each other whenever the need arose.
Now, years later, as I chase my three little people around and try to keep all the balls in the air, I can’t help but notice all the other mama’s around me who seem to all be in the same boat. We all love our kiddos and want the best for them. We’re all tired. We all see each other in those difficult moments, and our hearts so want to help, but often we’re just not sure how or we don’t want to intrude.
Enter “The Mommy Exchange.” Just like The Dollar Exchange, The Mommy Exchange is a way for us to help other moms when the need arises. It can be so hard to ask for help, but we all need it. Instead of waiting for another mom to ask for help, let’s start looking for ways to help each other, knowing that when we need it, someone else will reach out to help us.
The possibilities of how we can help each other are endless, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Carry small snacks and simple toys that can be shared.
I will never forget when I was at a wedding with two of my kiddos, who were toddlers at the time. I was exhausted just trying to keep them quiet. Suddenly, an experienced mama who has 7 grown children of her own came up to us and, without saying a word, offered both of my kids a string cheese and a simple wooden toy. You guys, she just carried those things in her purse – to help other moms! How great is that? Her act of generosity saved the day. My kids were completely occupied for the rest of the wedding with these new toys and snacks. And my stress level immediately decreased by about 1,000%.
2. When you make dinner, double the recipe and deliver it to another family.
Oh, how wonderful it would be to have someone deliver a fully cooked meal to your door. Right? Choose a day that you have a lighter schedule and double your dinner recipe. Then deliver it to another family just for fun. The only catch – ask them to continue The Mommy Exchange and do the same for someone else one day.
3. Wash another mom’s dishes or fold a load of laundry for her when you visit.
I mean, seriously. Could there be anything more lovely than not having to wash the dishes for the night? I. Think. Not!
4. Stop to help a Mama carry her bags in the parking lot.
We have a lot to carry. Everywhere we go. If you see a mom struggling to carry everything, stop what you’re doing and help her carry something.
There are so many ways we can help each other daily. But, there’s more. Not only do we have to be willing to help other mamas, but we also have to be willing to receive help when it’s offered. Remember, The Mommy Exchange goes both ways. Sometimes, receiving help can be the hardest part of the deal. But, in The Mommy Exchange, you’re not allowed only to give. You also have to receive.
Mama’s, we are strong, and together we are even stronger. Let’s start Exchanging! Who’s in? Share your ideas for how we can help each other.