parenting ideas

Jessica Secrest explains the "childcare swap."

"It takes a village to raise a child" is an African proverb commonly attributed to the Igbo and Yoruba tribes of Nigeria. The phrase encapsulates the worldview that child-rearing is the responsibility of an entire community, not just a singular family unit.

The phrase became popular in Western culture after Hillary Clinton's 1996 book, "It Takes a Village," which argued for a societal approach to children's welfare.

A viral TikTok video by Jessica Secrest from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has many thinking that she's the perfect example of what “It takes a village" means. She and her friend and fellow mom, Emily, have an arrangement where they watch each other's kids so they can have a date night with their husbands.

“It’s childcare swap night, which means that I’m at my friend Emily’s house,” she explained to the camera. “I fed her kids dinner, put them to bed, and now I’m waiting for her and her husband to get home from their date. And I told them stay out as late as possible please, because last time they didn’t. We made them reservations at a tiki bar downtown and then they’re going to the movies.”

“We do this once a month,” she continued. “So, I come over and watch her kids put them to bed and do all the bedtime routines. My husband stays home with my kids, and then in the future, she’ll do the same for me.”


I love that we started doing this! It is nice to go on a date and spend some one on one time with your spouse without kids on a semi regular basis! #childcare #babysitting #childcareswap #babysitforyourfriends #bestie #bestfriend #momtok #datenight #dateyourspouse #fyp #momsoftiktok #foryou

Secrest also noted that she and Emily don’t just watch each other’s kids during a childcare swap. They tidy up each other’s homes, too.

“While we do this, we try to pick up each other’s house and just leave it better than we found it,” she added. “It doesn’t feel like a break if you don’t come home to a cleaner home.”


The simple arrangement is a beautiful way for bestie moms to support one another while giving each other more time alone with their spouses. A study from the National Marriage Project found that of couples that go on regular date nights, 3 out of 4 are “highly committed” to their relationships. Only about half of those who don’t regularly go on date nights report being “highly committed.”

“It’s so nice to reconnect with your spouse and be something other than just a mom,” Secrest admits. “Because I am a stay-at-home mom and sometimes it feels like all I am is waiting on kids, cleaning butts and wiping noses. And I never get to be with my spouse at all. Doing this once a month really helps.”

The comments on the video were overwhelmingly positive, and many of Secrest’s followers hope to set up a childcare swap of their own.

“I wish I had a friend! This would be so nice to do and be at peace knowing that someone you trust is caring for your children while u r on a date,” Alex_7238 wrote. “This is the definition of it takes a village!! Love this!!!" Kaley added.

Victoria thought that Secrest’s thoughts on coming home to a clean home hit the nail right on the head. “'It doesn’t feel like a break if you don’t come home to a clean house' OMG. SOMEONE FINALLY GETS IT,” she wrote.

Secrest’s post shows that when people have great support from their village, it not only helps to raise a child but also creates stronger marriages and happy families, too.