Our Babysitting Swap

We have the greatest thing going with our babysitting swap...
Last summer, on the Yahoo! Group "Families in Zurich," I saw that a woman named Anne-Sophie was looking for someone to do a babysitting swap with her. She mentioned they are a French family who have lived in the US and UK and everyone in the family speaks English. In all the places they’ve lived, they set up babysitting swaps and it always worked out. I honestly had never thought of setting up a regular swap! It was definitely one of those forehead slap moments. With babysitters coming in at 25-35 Francs per hour in Zurich, we never went out. Ever. I emailed Anne-Sophie right away and we met at a little park in the Neumarkt district of central Zurich. Her two children and Coco instantly fell in love and she and I hit it off immediately. We have been trading babysitting nights and having dinners together ever since. 

The husbands are part of the deal, too. On babysitting nights, the children are always at their own home. For example, last night I went to Anne-Sophie and Nicolas’ and took care of their two children while J was home with Coco. After their kids went to bed, I watched Netflix, knitted a bit of Coco’s sweater and painted my nails! At our house, J enjoyed an evening reading by the fire after Coco was asleep. And, of course, Anne-Sophie and Nicolas were out on the town together. So, everyone gets two dates per month, but only has to babysit once. It’s genius!

I am so grateful to have a babysitting swap. J and I love the time we get together and it means that we are exploring the city and experiencing more of what Zurich has to offer. When we moved here in 2010, I was pregnant less than six months later which meant we never really got to know the city as childless people. We dove right into the wonder of parenthood, but now that Coco’s two, we can lift our heads a bit and enjoy our city. So far we’ve been out for drinks, to friends houses for kid-free dinners (so much more relaxing!), to the movies, and next we want to go to the thermal baths. 

I think the most remarkable thing is that we have actually gotten new friends out of the deal! Anne-Sophie and Nicolas are the ones who have convinced me to learn to ski this winter (eek!) and there isn’t anything more wonderful than leaving your little girl with someone she knows and trusts for a relaxing time out. It’s fabulous.

Do you have a babysitting swap? How do you make sure you get time away with your spouse? 

(photo via J.Crew)