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Oh, Yeah, And I Save Money, Too

I’m organizing another shop and swap
for my neighborhood, and I have to say, I’m really looking
forward to it.

This past spring I had all the moms in my community bring in their
unneeded kids’ clothes and baby gear, and we spent a morning
“shopping” through all the stuff for what we needed. I
was astounded at what some moms gave away – car seats,
jogging strollers, huge toys, and rooms full of clothes – and
felt great watching Maddie and Cora’s old stuff get new

I also planned for the morning to be a bit
of a mommy hang-out time, and I made coffee and baked goods and set
out orange juice and goldfish crackers. The little ones played with
all the toys on display while the moms got a chance to hang out and
catch up, and everyone seemed to really love it.

This time around, I hear there’s going to be even more great
stuff, and I see the circle growing wider: I’ve had several
moms mention that they’ve passed the info on to other friends
outside of our community, which is fine with me. I hear about new
moms with little baby gear and no cash, and tell them to come by
and get what they need. This, to me, is recycling at its best.

But as much as I love to recycle (and you know I do!) the aspect
I’m most looking forward to is the fellowship with other
moms. We’re setting up tonight, getting out folding tables
and sorting clothing and displaying toys, in a mostly kid-free
zone. Many hands make labor light, and I can’t think of any
bunch of people faster than a roomful of moms with no kids to
distract them. Everything gets done without being asked, tables are
wiped down, stuff is sorted and neat. And the whole time,
we’re gabbing away.

Maddie’s really looking forward to the swap on Thursday
–she knows most of her friends will be there, and finding all
her friends in one room is a rarity these days as the kids grow up
and become busier and busier. I think the swap is a sort of last
hurrah to me before Maddie starts preschool and we all turn back to
the hustle and bustle of the school year.

And it’s not just about being around moms in this relaxed
setting – it’s about being around friends, around
people you know and who know you. I was running through my list of
supplies to bring today, and was saying to myself, “Now
here’s Alison’s diet coke (no lime) and I need to make
Cheryl’s sweet tea and don’t want to forget . .
.” As moms, we often spend so much of our time anticipating
our children’s’ needs and never find ourselves
pampered, or even second-guessed. So I’m happy I’ll be
in a roomful of people who can hang out and breath, secure in the
knowledge that someone in the building has an eye on their
kid for them, and enjoying the food spread – especially that
one little bit just for them. There's even a little something just
for me: several of the girls in the neighborhood are heading out
for a Girls' Night Out tonight, and they're stopping by to help
set up before their merriment begins, sacrificing precious
babysitter time. Talk about a gift.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to Thursday morning. And getting to
shop for free is surprisingly low on my highlights list.


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