I’ve never been very good at accepting help. Possibly because I often find ‘help’ more of a ‘hindrance’, if you know what I mean. And I’ve never really needed a great deal of help – well certainly not before I had children and not in the early stages of parenthood.
When my first baby was born, I remember the strongest piece of advice in all the baby books was to leave the washing and the cleaning up. Never, I thought. I don’t like mess. Fortunately I had a baby that slept for long periods at a time. So, in addition to attending to her needs I was also able to go on long walks, do pilates, cook the dinner, bake sweets and clean the house. People would kindly say, “Just sing out if you need any help”. But, I didn’t. I was lucky in some ways, well organised in other ways, and pig-headed in further ways!
When my second child came along, I got quite a rude shock. Those small gaps of “free” time were swallowed up the moment she was born. She was a serial cat napper. And when she was awake, she was unhappy. It was the antithesis to my first experience. She demanded my attention all day long. There was no time for cleaning, little time for cooking and certainly no time for leisurely walks or baking. But still I didn’t like accepting help. So I became very tolerant of mess and chaos.
“Why don’t you put them in childcare?”, “Get a nanny”, and “Hire a cleaner”, the suggestions flowed. But I ploughed along. I was lucky that my mother-in-law looked after my girls once a week if she could and this was a godsend. But sometimes she went away, on long holidays for up to seven weeks!
When my third daughter was born, two years ago, life got messier and busier. Having three kids in less than three years will do that to your life. I got accustomed to living in a continuum of chaos. But then I made a change. My saviour came in the form of these two words: Occasional care.
Miss J and Miss H go to a wonderful and warm neighbourhood house once a week. It allows me time to drink a coffee in peace, clean up some of the mess (I say “some”) and recharge…. a little. It also gives me one-on-one time with Miss A, which is a highlight of my week. It is “help” and I like it.
The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child” has merit but who has access to a village.? I don’t think I need a village but an extra pair of hands, now THAT I can definitely embrace. So, things are changing around here. I am accepting help. Not only that, I am seeking help.
On my To Do list is the following:
* Hire a nanny/babysitter to look after my girls for half a day each week, thereby allowing me to escape to the library to do work.
* Ask my lovely MIL if she will look after my girls one morning a week so I can do a Cardio tennis workout for an hour with a friend.
* Pay a baby sitter once a month so I can go out on a date with hubby or out to dinner with friends.
* Investigate getting a cleaner once a fortnight. Still in two minds about this one as technically I can spot clean during naps, at night-time and on weekends. But gosh it would be nice to open the front door to a neat house….
How about you? Do you get much help? Are you good at accepting help or do you prefer to do it all yourself?