Sunday, October 12, 2008

Friday's Fun

My mom used to say that most of the inspiration she received was while she was in the shower. Maybe that's because it was the only quiet place in her house. I was so pleased when that's what happened to me a week ago last Sunday morning.

As I showered, I was thinking back to the days of young children and a workaholic husband and feeling rather isolated. I know there are women in my ward who feel that way. I felt that there must be something I could do.

I realized that I have two teenagers in my home now who are very good babysitters. I also realized that the upcoming Friday would be a teacher workday, thus Z would be working, but we'd all be home. Well, wheels started turning, and here's the plan that was created: we would invite any women who wanted to, to drop their children off at our home on Friday moring from 9 to 11:30am. Those women could go and do whatever they wanted during that time. I would invite some of the youth to come help and we would make it into a training session for future babysitters. The teens would act as mentors to those kids 9-12 years old who would be acting as the babysitters. We would have a snack and the kids'd play their little hearts out.

I called the Relief Society president and asked if she'd announce it during their meeting that day. She agreed to do so. I also created a couple of sign ups--one to know how many kids we'd have of what ages and one to determine how many of the youth we'd have.

As I spoke with one of the women in the ward later, she warned me that the youth hate to be asked to babysit because they get called upon all the time for ward functions. I assured her that this wasn't a ward function and there was no pressure for any of them to do it because it was a Hess family activity. This was going to be an opportunity to let my children serve a little and if others wanted to join us, great.

I was surprised when nearly every young woman signed up to help when the list was passed later that day. Problem was, there was only one woman signed up to bring her kids. I was soooo surprised!

I decided to send out an email to as many of the women in the ward whose addresses I knew.

Okay, so to make this long story short, this past Friday we ended up with eight youth here to help. We had somewhere between 25 and 30 kids playing at our home. It was loud, but boy were they having fun. It was apparent that we needed a bit more room. We moved the foosball table as far as we could against the desk that's built into our family room. We'd then moved the couch up against that, so that the little ones wouldn't get hit in the head with the foosball poles and so the kids'd have more room to play. What I didn't expect was what I saw--the boys climbed on the back of the couch and on the desk to play foosball. It was so cute. I wish I'd taken pictures. The girls played dress-ups in the opposite corner. The little ones ran around doing what little ones do in the middle of the room.

We threw a couple blankets out over the carpet for snack. We had cheese and apples.

Later in the day, while out running around with my kids, I asked them if they'd enjoyed it and if it was something they'd consider doing again. I was pleased to hear a resounding yes, they loved it, and yes, when could they do it again.

So, although it wasn't as structured as I had envisioned, I felt that we'd accomplished the two main goals--the mom's got away and got to do what they wanted--some went to the temple, some went to a scout committee meeting, some went running, and some just went home to do whatever, and the kids seemed to have had a great time.

8 comments:

Darilyn said...

You can be translated anytime now Julie. You are amazing.

meganconser said...

Having two children who attended- I KNOW they had a great time. Thank you so much. Getting to go grocery shopping by myself gave me time to think in quiet, AND I didn't end up with a bunch of stuff in my cart I wasn't expecting! I love that you did this. What a great act of service. And what a wonderful thing to teach the children who attended to help: Service can be fun, and simple. Thanks again Julie!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful. I live in area with no family. The closest is 5 in half hours away the rest is 10 or more. We have a small youth group in our church and they are so active and they really avoid you like the plague when you ask to babysit. I think this was a wonderful lesson and help to the moms. Grea thinking! Blessings

Grammy said...

That was wonderful. Moms can always use a break. And some time have no one to turn to. My kids are grown and now I have grandkids.

the pleasures of homemaking said...

That was a great idea! I'm sure everyone enjoyed it and I think it's great that your kids are willing to do it again!

Manuela

BarbaraLee said...

This is what helping your neighbor out means.

Mom2my9 said...

I remember reading this post the day you posted and I thought, "Wow! What a selfless servant of Christ." I'm sure you've earned your angel wings by now and I, too, am not sure why you haven't been translated!

Alyson said...

I would so have brought my kids over ;)

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