Rolling with the punches has never really been my strength, and I’d be the first to admit that I like all my ‘t’s crossed and my ducks in a row. I like my routines and schedules to be orderly, punctual, and well-thought-out. (And thanks to my Type A, planner personality, I like sufficient time to eagerly anticipate – or dread – an upcoming event). 😉 Of course, life rarely works out that way, so I have learned to embrace curve balls a bit more and to see the humor in unplanned (and less than pleasant) situations.
Or, well, I’ve gotten better at it anyway… No one’s perfect, after all.
But especially as a mom, I’ve had to be a bit more flexible with my expectations.
Like we will be fifteen minutes late to every doctor’s appointment. (The secretary doesn’t even bother scolding us over it anymore. She and I both very well know that I’ll just apologize earnestly… and then be late again the following week). Dirty dishes will always be out of control in my kitchen, seemingly growing out of the sink and cascading onto the countertop. I will never be caught up on laundry. And I will have countless days during which I use a hat to cover my exhausted eyes, lack of makeup, and hair gone-wild.
(On the really bad days, I see just how far I can get away with pulling down the hat over my face. I call it my Mommy Gangsta look, and I fully expect it to become ‘a fashion trend’ with other mom).
It (a.k.a. ‘life’) is a lot to keep up with, especially now in particular. There’s breastfeeding every two hours (sometimes more frequently). There’s keeping a very energetic, stubborn two-year-old alive. There’s keeping our two cats and newborn alive when they come into contact with my very energetic, stubborn two-year-old. There’s recovering from a C-section. And there’s just life in general (from prepping meals, to tidying the house, to keeping up with laundry, to showering on occasion…).
It’s a LOT.
It’d be a lot anyway, but having physical restrictions right now (because of the surgery) definitely makes things more complicated. For three weeks, I can’t lift over 10 pounds, climb stairs, drive a car, or walk distance. And unfortunately, Nate was only given one week of unpaid, paternity leave, which he broke into two weeks of half days. Suddenly, I’m having to depend on others to do my grocery shopping, help with meals, babysit my toddler, etc.
And I realized very soon into my recovery that it’s not always easy for me to accept help from others. I’m quite comfortable being the one cooking meals for others… Or running errands for others… But when it’s time for me to accept help, I sometimes get uncomfortable.
I realize how silly it might sound. But there HAS to be other women out there like me who totally ‘get’ what I’m saying right now. 🙂
To find myself unable to tend to my own household definitely left me humbled. I’ve needed Nate’s help with absolutely everything. And since he works every afternoon, I’ve relied on my mom to help with Brady during the afternoons. (Taking care of a toddler AND a newborn while recovering from a C-section would have just been too much physically as well as mentally)! I’ve needed assistance with meals. With laundry. With a ton of simple things.
Like “Hey, I forgot to brush my teeth… Can you run upstairs and grab my toothbrush for me?”
Or, “Hmmm, this toddler stinks. Can you give him a bath for me?”
And even, “I’m SO sorry to wake you up, but I’m really thirsty. Can you run downstairs and get me a glass of water?”
For someone as independent as myself, it can be shocking to need so much assistance. It’s uncomfortable, and unfamiliar, and humbling. It’s like I felt this need to prove to myself – once again – that I was perfectly capable of taking care of things on my own.
After all, no one really likes to say, “Hey, I need help.”
But the thing is that we really are stronger together. And sometimes it’s okay to not be okay… Just as we should celebrate and mourn together, we also should be willing to lift each other up when the other isn’t able to stand alone. We really can’t expect to make it through life on our own, especially when the hard times come. Sometimes we need to be willing to share our burdens with the able shoulders and arms of those who are willing to walk our journey with us.
Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it often takes strength to admit you can’t juggle it all.
I know that I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude towards Nate for all that he has juggled over these past two weeks. And my emotional and physical recovery would have been much harder had my mom not taken Brady every afternoon for a few hours. And the meals and snacks that family and friends have dropped off for us have been life-savers during my busy days.
We really do need to be open and accept help. To admit to close family and friends when we’re struggling and need prayer. To be willing to say “Okay” when others offer to provide assistance.
Because even if I’m ALL for independence, there’s also no shame at all in saying, “Help! I need someone.” 🙂