Hello, My name is Tara and I'm a recovering “do it all by myself-er” If there aren't meetings for people like me their should be! (Maybe I should just start one myself! ha!) I grew up thinking I had to do everything by myself. I'm not really sure why, I don't THINK my parents made me feel this way, I think I was just born with the desire to do things my way and by myself. That's OK when it's just you that you have to worry about, and you are a kid. (Not ideal, but OK.) Once you become an adult and especially when you become a parent, you have to throw out the idea that you can do it yourself! You know that saying “it takes a village”? It's a saying because it's TRUE!!!!!! It does take a village! Studies show that kids need 5 adults in their lives that have meaningful relationships with them to grow into healthy adults. I think adults need that too, to stay healthy.
Bringing home a new baby is no picnic! You've just had major surgery or been hit by a truck or both! Now you are responsible for healing yourself and taking care of a helpless infant or 2 (or more, God bless you!!) You are also having hormonal chaos internally. You are exhausted. If you are breast feeding you'll be lucky to sleep in 2 hour stretches, (if someone else can bring you the baby and take them away as soon as they are done feeding) It's basically the same for bottle feeding unless you are able to sleep through the baby crying to eat and have a helper to do a feeding or 2. You are basically in the absolute worse condition to be asked to do anything but care for yourself, but if you live in most modern cultures, you get very little help. (Did you know in some cultures the mom is expected to only sleep and feed the baby for 6 weeks after birth?????????? Sign me up for that!!) You do not have to do this alone!
If you feel like you just want to hide, run away, hire a full time household staff to take care of things, you are not alone! If you think you just can't do this, if you need a break, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are feeling sad, confused, selfish(you aren't), depressed, having illogical thoughts, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! All those feelings, all those emotions ARE NORMAL!!! It's OK to ask for help, because YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! Reach out to family members, neighbors, walk to a local church and ASK FOR HELP!
Be specific if you can. Tell your neighbor, I need someone to hold my colicky baby while I take a nap. I need someone to do some laundry, I need someone to bring us dinner, or pick up take out. I need someone to entertain my toddler while I take care of a new baby. I need someone that is willing to take my wild child, kid with special needs,typical kid, to the play ground for an hour so I can eat chocolate and cry on my couch. JUST ASK!!! Most people really are willing to help out because they know how you feel, because YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! \
If you have days that you HATE being a mom, (Not hating on your kids, but just want a time where you have little to no responsibilities, time you can actually focus on yourself for a full 5 min.) YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! If you have days that you do not enjoy being around your kids, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! it's normal to need some alone time. grown up time, what ever time. It's incredibly hard to always be needed and responsible for so many people and things. It's OK to want a break!
No one has it all together and does it alone, no one that is still sane, anyway. If you see a mom that “has it all together” it's because she has a village, maybe she hires her village, maybe she has family nearby, maybe she has great neighbors or friends from church, how ever she does it, I guarantee she does NOT do it alone!
I used to feel that I couldn't ask anyone for help. Luckily I had a few neighbors and friends that just did it anyway. I found a MOPS group, and later a mom group at my church. I started actually asking neighbors to give my kids a ride to practice or a ride home. (I can't be in 2 places at once, no matter how hard I try!) I share my struggles now, I offer help to others when I can. Offering specific help makes it easier to accept help when I need it. I know when others ask me for help I am more than happy to do what I can. That's how most people feel! Most people are good and want to help, but many times they don't want to over step or don't know what to offer. If you need help JUST ASK!!! I'll say it again, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!
I know it can be hard to find a village, if you live away from family it can feel like you are burden to others if you ask for help. So many moms are looking for a group of people to do life with. They are looking for community, reach out, or look for those that have reached out. I see mom in local groups on Facebook looking for other moms like them to connect with, take the invitation, meet up at the library, park or coffee shop, even if you are only home on maternity leave and feel like you can't connect to others because you will going back to work soon, just meet them, you new best friend could be waiting to me you! I've never heard anyone say that they have too many friends!
Please reach out to someone if you are feeling lonely, sad, scared, exhausted. Please reach out to someone if you have the ability to help, even if it's just sitting and drinking a coffee together, someone needs you in their life!
BE THE VILLAGE!!