One of the common pieces of advice I was given while pregnant was to accept help when it was offered. When I was pregnant I wasn’t able to foresee what my life would be like with a newborn. I had never even had a pet, much less a baby, so my guess was as good as any other new mom’s in terms of how much help I would “want.”
Before she as born, my parents, sister and in-laws made it very clear that help was just a phone call away. I accepted it gratefully, but mostly thought I would be fine. I didn’t expect to really utilize anyone else for a while. After all, she was going to be my only baby—what could be so hard about that? I quickly found out that the village mentality was not created as a joke. It’s the truth that it takes a village to raise a child and keep a mother sane (they left that part out). Although it may bruise the ego a bit from time to time, I have learned to love my village and not do everything by myself. This isn’t always an option (or a desire) for everyone, but it has been a lifesaver for me!
I love being with my daughter. I love feeding her, watching her look at the world around her, talk to her friend the plant and listen to her snore! Hours go by, and it’s been the two of us just hanging out and loving on one another. It does feel weird and “off” when she isn’t with me, but I think it’s a good thing to get away once in a while. I had a completely different life before having her, and I am thankful to have time to remember it and do things that bring my joy separately from being a parent.
The other day Matt’s parents had a day date with her for a few hours. I was able to attend my sister’s wedding dress fitting, go to brunch (with mimosas!), binge watch some trashy television and go for a great run! Dinner was ready-ish when Matt got home, and I was cool, calm and collected. Some of these things are impossible to do with her right now, and the rest take more effort than necessary. It’s not always enjoyable to tote her around with me, and I’m pretty sure she was happier with her loving grandparents, anyway. What’s funny is they thank me as if I am doing them the favor.
By sharing her once in a while, she brings so much joy to my family. I felt like a new person at the end of that Saturday afternoon, and I was more than ready to have her home with me that evening. The separation renewed my peace, patience and endurance to give her my best again.
I think there is a stigma out there that encourages moms to feel guilty, spoiled or weak for accepting too much help. I once was a nanny for a wonderful family. The mother did not work at the time I was employed, but kept me there as help to her. I remember listening to others judge her for bringing someone into her home so she could take a walk or read a magazine in peace. I now think they are all overly judgmental and probably jealous! I totally get it! Every parent needs help, whether we use it or not. Some parents may have a nanny, a great daycare center, a personal chef or driver (it’s possible) or lots of great friends. Whatever it is, it’s the village, and we all can use a village. I’m so thankful for mine!