To make connections in your community, and create more time for yourself, find or start a cooperative babysitting group with some other parents. You'll earn lots of babysitting time by caring for other co-op members' children. Plus, you'll have the added reassurance of knowing you're leaving your toddler with someone you can trust.
Here's how it works:
Babysitting co-ops can provide a modern-day substitute for the extended family. And they're a great source of support and security for many families. What's more, research shows that a child's sense of her own competence gets a boost when her parents have lots of connections and regular contact with other adults. Just be sure that all co-op participants share similar philosophies on discipline and have the same basic expectations for care.