Maybe it’s independence, or stubbornness, or the nutty need to control things, but whatever you want to call it, a lot of us have a heck of a time asking for—and receiving—help.
I’m no exception. When my son was a newborn, I had an ample supply of relatives hanging around, asking what they could do. What did I tell them? “Nothing! It’s just nice to get to visit with you.”
I was lying, of course. My house was in great need of a good scrubbing, as was I. Our refrigerator was full of things that had expired and our laundry baskets were overflowing. Sometimes when people offer help, you know they’re just saying it to say it and they’re hoping you’ll tell them everything is fine. But a lot of the well-meaning visitors we got those first few weeks really meant it.
Still, it was hard for me to accept their offers. It was harder still to actually ask for help. The only thing I remember asking for regularly was food, especially since that was something we could enjoy with whoever brought it to us so it felt more social and less needy.
Part of the reason I didn’t accept much help that first time around was because I needed things done just right. You know what I mean—we all have our “rules” about how we clean certain things. I also firmly believed that I could handle everything and I didn’t want anyone to think otherwise. When I did let somebody stay to help, I had them hold Caden so I could get some work done.
Fortunately, now that Chloe’s here, I’m a little older … and a LOT wiser. Meaning, I’m aware I can’t handle everything and I don’t care who knows it! I’ve asked for help on everything—probably to the point where certain relatives aren’t going to offer anymore. Even as I write this, Chloe’s great-grandmother is downstairs, helping my husband vacuum and mop the floors.
Because of this shift, we’ve had relatives and friends cook for us, help us fold laundry, and walk our dogs since the day we brought Chloe home. I even let my mother-in-law clean our bathrooms (that was a tough one). My husband and I take turns calling our network of family and friends and directly saying, “We need help. Can you come over next Thursday?”
Incredibly, they come. Best of all, I do the baby-holding while they do the work. I like it that way, but most importantly I’m getting more crucial bonding time with my little cherub.
There have also been some pleasant surprises along the way. Except for the occasional helper who earnestly wanted to do something for us in those early weeks and has now had about enough of it (in other words, my mother), most everybody has actually enjoyed doing things for us. At least, that’s what they keep telling us. They also keep coming back, so I believe them.
From our end, hubby and I are getting on top of things quicker than we did when Caden was born. We’ve even already enjoyed a few movie nights together and a date-lunch out on the town.
With every new baby, there’s a sudden shift to your life process. Even the best-laid plans can go askew simply because you have to wait for life to happen before you can adjust your routine to follow suit.
I’m done with thinking I have to be independent. Now, my priorities are all about quality time with my husband, my son, and my darling little newborn. If that means having someone else scrub my toilet or fold my dainties … so be it. It’s worth it.