When it comes to raising kids, it takes a village. It always has, and it always will. I am certainly no exception. With four kids now four years old and under (including a set of 10-month-old twins), I have absolutely no shame in admitting I have help–a lot of it, actually.
Normalizing asking for help
I believe it’s time we normalize asking for help in all the ways we need it. Think about it; not that long ago, there was a literal village, a community of families living together or close by supporting each other so the village as a whole could thrive.
A mama is there for you in the morning to take the gassy baby you have been up all night nursing so that you can get some rest. A playdate after school for your children because you didn’t have time to get dinner on the table. A safe place where everyone had a role in collectively child rearing and growing together.
It’s a beautiful concept. A group of women rallying together to raise the next generation. Nowadays, we live more isolated from immediate family and friends. We are in single-family homes, often in bigger cities, a car, or maybe even a plane ride away from family. Many of us choose to have a dual-income household meaning both parents work.
The only way to show up at our best
My husband and I are building businesses that we are super passionate about, and we know that our work makes us better, happier parents to our children. So, when we found out we were pregnant again with our third (and fourth baby–yikes!), the first thing we did, after the initial shock, was figure out where we needed support.
With both of our families living plane rides away, we knew we needed help so that we could continue to show up in the best way possible for our kids, allowing us to strike a balance between being able to work and build our businesses while raising our family and maintaining our relationship with each other. Yes, date nights are a necessity in our world.
At first, I had a hard time giving up control and giving in to receiving help. I was raised in a traditional household with an incredible stay-at-home mom who was always there for everything and, in my eyes, did it all!
When it came down to hiring our Nanny, I quickly felt the mom guilt mounting as judgments raced through my head; “I should be the one doing all the things for all my kids, shouldn’t I? If I can’t do it all myself, doesn’t that mean I’m less of a mom, less of a wife, less of a business owner? Simply less? Suzy down the street looks like she has it all together and has no help!”
But then it hit me; it was quite the opposite; if I refused help, that’s when I would be less of a mom, less of a wife, and less of a business owner. I would be torn in so many directions; I wouldn’t be helpful to anyone. By receiving help, I show up for my kids as my very best self.
I get to make a conscious effort when I’m with them to leave my work at the door (for the most part), and I can be present. I compartmentalize everything in my life, and I can do that because I opened myself up to receiving help and prioritize the things that are the non-negotiables that I do, and ask for help with the things that I know others can do, and likely will do better than me.
I ask for help where I need it, and I share with others that I have support because, as moms, we need to give ourselves a break. Oh, and by the way, “Suzy down the street” also had help, but I didn’t know about it because she was too afraid to share over fear of also being judged.
Help can come in so many ways; it can be a friend you carpool with to school or do weekly play dates with, parents that come over and help or take your kids for sleepovers. For us, it’s our nannies who genuinely have become family members.
I feel proud that I get to employ these incredible women (yes, I have two) and, through that, support their families and children. And for our children, we are normalizing asking for help. We are admitting that it can’t all be done alone.
We are showing the importance of balance. Of self-care. Of working and earning independently. Of fostering a solid relationship with our partners. We are building our village filled with physical and emotional support.
My message would be to prioritize help in whatever way you need it. You can and you should. Do not feel guilty. Do not talk yourself out of it. Motherhood is the most challenging job in the world. We need to find ways to fill our cups—to recharge and reset.
Most importantly we need to normalize having help and be proud of it.
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