Chronicles of a New Mum: It Takes a Village
My aunt and teenage cousins have been visiting for a week. Not only do they love my daughter, but they are always going out of their way to help me, too. Little things like folding the laundry, handing me a glass of water that I didn't ask for, and babysitting so my husband and I can go out for dinner has made me feel like a different person. Having three extra sets of hands is such a luxury. It's allowed me to do things that I used to take for granted before having a baby, like going to a much needed yoga class, or watching a funny TV show during my daughter's nap time instead of spending it tidying the chaos around the house. People always swoop in to help when you have a newborn, but swooping in at any stage of life with a baby is just as helpful.
Mums put so much pressure on themselves to prove that we can do anything and everything, all on our own. But as this recent (and so fantastic) opinion piece in the NY Times asks, "what are you trying to win?"
You're not "losing" at mothering if you ask for help, take help that is offered, or do something for yourself. Before you had a baby, all you had to do was focus on your own needs (or your spouse's- but in a totally different way than what you do for a little one). And once you become a parent, it's easy to forget that you even have needs. You fit your "things" in when you can- a quick shower that you barely took the time to enjoy because your mind was racing with your to-do list. Or you smear on face moisturizer and consider it "makeup" because you just don't see the point in putting on the rest.
Receiving help from family, friends, and babysitters is a good thing, not a sign of failure or weakness. We put every ounce of energy we have into our babies. And having a little assistance gives us a chance to save some of that energy for ourselves.
With my family here for the week, I had the chance to regroup and really feel like "me" again. (But I'll really miss my trusty sets of extra hands.)