Some days, being Supermom is too much to hope for.

You know which days I mean. I mean the days when your kid kept you up for half the night because she thought there was a squirrel in her closet. And your toddler kept you up for the other half because he’s getting his two-year molars even though he just turned one. The days when you walk around all morning with your nipple hanging out of your shirt and don’t even realize it. The days when there’s no such thing as a big enough coffee mug. The days when you seriously question why you ever had kids.

On days like that, you’ll never feel like Supermom. But that’s okay. The good news? You can still look like Supermom.

Think this won’t help you? You’re wrong. When you look like Supermom, people are less likely to criticize you. They’re more likely to help. They may even bring you coffee, just because they’re so impressed.

And the bonus? This one single action will actually make your life easier — while making it look like you’re doing it all.

Interested? Here’s the secret:

Borrow other people’s kids.

Yes, having more kids in your house can actually make your life easier. Don’t believe me? Here’s the key: you’ve got to find kids that are the right age. Contrary to popular belief, your child’s peers are not the kids you want to babysit — unless all your kids are at least three, and even then, you’ll be better off borrowing kids that are a little older. The actual logarithm for calculating the correct age to babysit is complicated, but here’s a quick reference guide:

* If your child is less than five years old, babysit an older child. You may feel intimidated by the thought of taking care of a child who’s older than you have experience with. This is a mistake. Older children are easier. You’ll discover why when you have one in your house.

* If your child is very young (less than one year), aim for a greater age gap than if your child is older. If you have a one year old, babysit a five year old. If you have a two year old, babysit a three or four year old.

* DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, allow two two-year-olds in your house. EVER. Unless you have twins and can’t avoid it, but in that case you should outsource one of them to someone with a three- or four-year-old as often as possible.

* Do not  babysit a child  the same age as yours unless your child is at least three years old. Two three year olds can play together, but only on a good day. Two five year olds can be kicked out of the house to play in the yard together all day while you Facebook on your couch.

* If your child is four or five, consider babysitting a younger baby (younger than 18 months) if — and ONLY if — your child loves babies. If your child often talks about wanting a sibling or loves to play with babies, then borrowing a baby could make your child easier by keeping him entertained. However, this is only recommended for brief periods.

* If you have more than one child, follow the guide for your youngest child.

And finally, don’t forget to cash in on the extra bonus of this hack: babysitting trades. After you’ve borrowed your friend’s kids, they are morally obligated at some point to return the favor. Which means free babysitting for you.

And if getting free babysitting doesn’t make you Supermom, I don’t know what does.

Photo by Mario Antonio Pena Zapeteria

3 Comments

FarleyagainJuly 8, 2013 9:54 pm

Now I understand what I did wrong! But, I’m going to get the cape, definitely.

Cristina SierraJuly 12, 2013 1:08 am

Brilliant parenting hack! Love the guidelines regarding ages – I totally agree!

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