Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Real Moms

So Mo tagged me with the "Real Moms" meme, and while struggling with what to say, I took a shower and Bingo! Inspiration. But not like you think. In the shower I started to think about the dinner I was going to have, at a nice restaurant, thanks to the wonderful Ellen and Jiro (and their Ada-sitting generosity). The dinner, by the way, was fantastic. Highly recommended, especially when you can get someone else to foot the bill. But about that shower.

I was in the shower because I'd just come from a hair appointment. I love my stylist, but in an attempt to accentuate what curls I have, she'd managed to give me a bit of an evil clown look. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but there was a definite bump around the ear area.

So, here's what I came up with (once the water had sufficiently calmed my post-hairstyle panic):

Real Moms Ask For Help

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is one of the hardest things for me. Before I had Ada, I had no idea this would be difficult. Of course I'd ask for help! My friends and I had always been there for each other, so why would this be different? But even when you desperately need help, it is harder than you'd think to ask for it.

I still kick myself for not demanding to help Ellen more in the first few months of Monkey Boy's life. Only by seeing how amazingly generous she was with her time and energy did I understand what I should have done for her. (Shut it Ellen, I can wish I had known what to do.) Her help, and the help of numerous other friends and family, it made all the difference to me. I am so lucky that people (like my sister) volunteered to visit regularly, or brought me food, or let me borrow baby items I had not realized I'd need or want. That whole village thing, they weren't kidding about that. You get the idea.

When I had Ada, Ellen's help, and the help of numerous other friends and family, made all the difference to me. I am so lucky that people (like my sister) visited regularly, brought me food, walked the girl while I slept, and let me borrow baby items I had not realized I'd need or want. That whole village thing, they weren't kidding about that.

Now that I know, I try to offer help when I can. It seems so obvious now that moms (new and not so new) need help. This is not because my friends are not capable, but because the task of being a parent is so large and unending. And now that I know, I realize that other people see how necessary the help is. I am working on being better about asking for help when I need it.

And speaking of help, I needed it today.

Ada was driving me up a wall with her toddler ways. The whining was especially grinding, making me ready to flee the house even before Chris left at 8:30 this morning. It was all I could do to tolerate her all morning. Nurturing was pretty much out of the question. Of course on the day I need the time without her, she naps restlessly and wakes early, before my (required, demanded) alone time is "up." My time to write this, and to prepare for work tomorrow and to drink tea and be still. Especially on a day that has already felt so hard, I want time alone. Or at least I want to not spend more time alone with her. And since I used nap time to start this post on how key it is to ask for help, I vowed to reach out.

I called Ellen. But even after all this considering, it was hard to take her help. It was hard because she offered more than I'd planned on getting. I called her figuring I'd ask to come over so that Ada and I would not be alone together. She told me to leave Ada with her. Which is great, except that I know her plan A was a nap. So I feel guilty. But lovely Ellen refused to let me say no. It is embarrassingly hard to say yes, thanks, I will take this free time. It is hard to admit that I need it, and scary to take free time without a plan "worthy" of the space. But plan-free, here I am. Sitting at my dining room table typing, considering whether to prepare for tomorrow or to read my novel. Maybe a little of both. Or nothing. Drinking tea and being still are okay too.

Maybe I am not the poster child for asking for help. But whenever I do I am glad I have asked. And getting more than I've asked for is a lovely bonus. Give it a try, you might be surprised by the result.

** ** **

Oh right, the tagging part. Laurie and dodo, feel free to take this up if you'd like. No pressure.


  1. Asking for help. I still haven't mastered it but yes...it's a necessity for a real mom.

  2. Nice one!... that's a really good one. I had somebody encourage me early to do it and I as lucky tooo...

    Yeah i regret not being more mom-helpful before I was in the cult.

  3. oh no - not the tagging!!!!

  4. I think you are right and also that it gets easier as time goes on. I could not ask for help with my baby because I thought, no one else could do it. Now I'm like, you want to watch him? Here you go- see you later..

  5. I think you are right - I am much less attached to the idea of doing it all myself now that she's more able to do things herself! In a deep emotional way, I know she'll be ok with someone else for a few hours.

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