There is one comment I hear far and above any other as the mom in a large family.
I don’t know how you do it.
So I’ll fill you in on my secret.
But first, one important thing to note is that when you have a lot of kids, it just becomes your new normal. You can’t really remember any other way. And so you just make it work.
Having lots of kids also kind of forces you to keep things in perspective and not to sweat the small stuff. There are just too many other things going on.
So I think moms of bigger families have conditioned themselves to just go with the flow.
Or maybe go with the flow people have more kids because they can deal with it.
Maybe it’s a which came first, the chicken or the egg kind of thing.
But then there is my secret.
It’s not really a secret.
How do I do it?
I ask for a shit ton of help.
I ask my parents for help.
I ask my friends for help.
I ask anyone and everyone for help.
And I accept most help that is offered to me.
In any form.
If people offer to give my kids rides to/from practice, games, etc., I accept.
If we go to a party or a banquet or a dinner or any function and there is leftover food that people don’t want or need and they ask me if I want it, I take it.
And I don’t worry about reciprocating.
That’s not to say I don’t help other people out when I can.
But I don’t keep score. I don’t say, Well they gave us a ride so now I owe them a ride or They invited us over, so now we have to invite them over.
One day, when things quiet down a little, I’ll pay all this help forward. Maybe I’ll help a mom out whose oldest kid is the age of my youngest. I hope to help out with any grandchildren I’m fortunate enough to have the same way my parents have helped us.
But I don’t worry about those things now.
Right now, I do what I need to in order to make sure everyone’s needs are met.
I’m not like this only as a parent.
I was the same way as a teacher.
There are two types of teachers: teachers who gladly accept any help offered to them in the classroom, and teachers who don’t want anyone else in there.
I was always the first kind. Any aide, any parent, any volunteer, any anyone was welcome in my class.
Why wouldn’t you accept help?
It only benefits the kids in your class!
And it’s the same with my own children.
If it’s a choice between asking for help so I can make something happen or just not doing it, I will always ask for help.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
I believe it’s a sign of strength. It keeps you from burning the candle at both ends, overextending yourself, and burning yourself out to the point that you can’t function at all.
I delegate A LOT.
Just this past week I asked my parents for help carving pumpkins with the kids. I could have done it all on my own with them, but why put the whole load on my back (my husband was working this weekend) if my parents are willing to help out?
I asked my mom for help with the kids Halloween costumes. She totally took care of Number 5 and Number 7’s costumes. It was a huge amount of time taken off my hands, and the kids looked great and were super happy.
There is no award at the end of parenting for doing it all yourself.
So that’s how I do it.
I believe it takes a village.
And I rely on my village,
My fav part “There is no award at the end of parenting for doing it all yourself.” Soooo true!
Elizabeth Rivers says
I loved this post! We all need to remember asking for help doesn’t mean we aren’t good enough.
Lucy Clarke says
As I have been reading on the list of people you ask help from, I was thinking, “Wow. It really does take a village.” Seeing the exact same thing as you end this article… I was blown away!
Listing the things I got here…
1. Do not sweat the small stuff.
2. Ask for a shit ton of help.
3. Accept most help that is offered in any form.
4. Don’t worry about reciprocating or keeping score. One day, when things quiet down a little, we can pay all this help forward.
5. Delegate A LOT.
6. There is no award at the end of parenting for doing it all yourself.
7. It takes a village. Rely on your village a lot.
Indeed, it is never a measure of adequacy if we ask for help.