Before you roll your eyes, I will warn you: I am THAT mom. I never really wanted help when both of my daughters were first born (except for free food!), I try to only call a babysitter when I’m actually working (as opposed to having help here consistently, for day-to-day basics) and I was the one who mostly got up in the middle of the night when duty called during the new baby-stage (ok, I might kinda resent that one). Feel free to roll your eyes now.
Yes, I am a little burnt out these days (some days more than others), but I will make a case that toughing it out can pay off by teaching you how to problem-solve and find your parenting/family style. At least, that’s what it’s done for me (everyone’s different, I know).
For me, toughing it out – through sleepy-eyes, trial-and-error nap-time coordination and figuring out how the heck I’m going to creatively cook dinner when four eyes in miniature bodies are staring at me to entertain them – has transformed me into a slick problem-solver. Toughing it out has taught me how to manage and conquer schedules and tantrums. Toughing it out has required me to be insistent about teaching my girls to sleep (and share a room). Toughing it out has given me the know-how to teach my girls how to entertain themselves when I cook dinner. Toughing it out has made me figure out how to deal with my girls’ personalities, and really learn how they work so that I can handle them in most situations inside and outside the home. Toughing it out has bonded me closely with my girls…we have become a team (for better or worse) and most of the time, they seem to listen to me (most of the time). Toughing it out is shaping my own rhythm for the long haul ahead.
I never understand the question that I get from many of my friends, complete with horrified looks on their faces: You take both kids to the grocery store with you? Yes. How else am I supposed to get my shopping done, and how else am I supposed to learn how to teach my girls how to behave in a public setting if I’m not practicing it daily? (Yes, I’m that chick you overhear saying “Don’t touch that,” “Put that back,” and “If you take your shoes off they will kick us out” rolling down the cereal aisles.) If I left my girls at home with a sitter every time I went to the market, no one would learn any manners or appropriate behavior (my girls) and no one would ever learn how to handle two wild munchkins in a public place (me). And what good would that do us all? Veteran parents say that as kids get bigger, so do the dilemmas for “raising good kids.” Despite my rookie-status with two toddlers, I like to compare the ideal of “raising good kids” to this: You can’t run a marathon without training on all the small tracks first. If I’d had the means and desire to employ full-time help since the birth of my girls, I don’t think I’d have as much insight, experience or ‘on-the-job training’ to handle the ridiculous challenges that come flying at me now. To excel in this job of ‘motherhood,’ I truly believe there are benefits to being persistent when it comes to figuring things out from the very beginning. ‘Skills’ don’t develop overnight.
In an age where us moms are quick to call for help and make no apologies about it, I’m afraid we’re stripping away our own capabilities and hindering our learning curve when it comes to finding our personal parenting niches. It’s hard, and a lot of times it flat-out sucks, but hard work always pays off (at least, that’s what Twilight Sparkle of My Little Pony says… yes, we’re a little obsessed with her.) I also can’t help but think of our moms and grandparents: No one I knew had round-the-clock help when I was young, and I think that in many ways they were conditioned to handle more challenges much more gracefully than us (myself included). That’s inspiring to me… not only as a mom but as a woman.
Obviously, there are days when every mom absolutely have to call for help (which yes, I have done). But then you just gotta get right back on the purple pony and go.
DID YOU TRY TO TOUGH IT OUT AS A NEW MOM?