A couple weeks ago I had a bit of a nervous breakdown.
One of my friends really picked up on it.
She organized a semi-intervention, rallied the troops, and sent in the cavalry to rescue me.
I didn’t go down without a fight.
My family needs me, I told my friend.
Your family needs you to be well, she told me back.
But what about nap time? I asked.
Nobody else knows how to do nap time! I told her.
And then, realizing how ridiculous I sounded, I just finally let go.
I released my grip, and I let some other people take over.
Just for 24 hours.
I got away. I got some rest. I cleared my head a little bit.
I don’t know where this feeling comes from that in order to be good mothers we need to do everything alone.
That in asking for help, we are failing.
It’s just not right.
And in clearing my head, I was able to see this.
So I came home, and I asked for help.
And then I opened myself up to receiving it.
I sent a message out to a bunch of my closest friends:
Hello Ladies… you are receiving this message because you are all first draft picks on my Mom Dream Team. You are all aware of my issues. You all know me and on some, or many levels, can relate to me. You are intelligent and funny and strong and those are the people I want to surround myself with…
…Some of you live far away. But I know if I plant a seed, you may have a thought or idea that will be helpful, or a different perspective. You also have different areas of expertise and different strengths. So I’m going to be throwing some stuff out there over the next few weeks. I realize you all have lives and that you are busy. I know you may not have the time or desire to even reply to this message, and I completely understand.
Since the meltdown, my husband and I decided we would find a way to scrape some money together to pay someone to come and help me out for a few hours a day.
That was my first order of business with the dream team.
…the first thing I need help with is getting some help here at the house. We have decided that we will find a way to pay for me to have someone help out about 20 hours a week… I am looking for someone to be sort or a jack of all trades. Someone to help around the house with the cleaning, someone to help with the kids if I need it, someone to run errands…Basically a personal assistant/housecleaner/babysitter.
… If you know of anyone, or have any suggestions of where I could start, I am all ears.
I never expected for my friends to answer with this:
Susie, I will help you. I can commit to one morning a week. But I am not taking any money from you. You can buy me a bottle of wine. Or better yet, we can get together for a bitch session and get drunk. Lol! I would love to help you indefinitely or until you find someone permanently.
Count me in to help however possible. When my kids were little there was a woman I had once a week to do exactly what you’re looking for. I’ll see if she’s still around and interested in what you’re looking for. I’ll keep thinking of other possibilities too. Keep thinking about what you need and telling us- that’s awesome! It takes a village….
Thank you for your confidence vote! M — how does TH or F morning work for you? We could watch them together while I clean toilets and put a meal into the slow cooker. I am also good with T, TH, and F from 12-3. I only have 4 children, but I am not afraid of cleaning or laundry. Susie, I am with M. No money, please. I just want a place where I can have a drink of wine.
I hadn’t intended for them to actually do the helping out. Just helping me find someone.
My first reaction was to say NO WAY!!!
But I stopped myself.
I was still worried about what my house looked like.
It was a mess.
I still had some of the oh-shit-we-need-to-clean-for-the-cleaning-lady anxiety.
Yesterday, Wednesday morning, I started to panic.
I should cancel.
And then I saw about three minutes of this show on TLC.
It’s a new show, about a young couple with quintuplets and a six-year-old.
The quintuplets are toddlers now. The father was donating all of their baby bottles to another family.
The six-year-old wanted to know why he was giving their stuff away for free, and the father said something like We relied on the help of friends to get us through. So now we are trying to give back a little.
I thought about what he said. And why this was the part of the show the universe had directed me to watch.
We relied on the help of friends.
So I relaxed.
And this morning, at 9:15, two of my friends came over.
They brought dinner for tonight, they brought balloons for the kids, they brought packing tape after I sent a last-minute text, and the judgement-free willingness to do anything.
One friend taped up and addressed three boxes of clothing that Number 7 has outgrown and have been sitting by my front door for months now, waiting to be sent to someone in another state who could use them.
The other friend occupied Number 7 with balloons.
Last night I discovered I had completely forgotten to send out my Christmas cards.
I found the box of them on top of my refrigerator.
Ugh. I really had no desire, or time, to deal with them.
But my friends didn’t mind.
When one friend left, she took the boxes of clothing she had taped and addressed, loaded them into her car, and mailed them for me.
The other friend cleaned two of the bathrooms while I went and picked up Number 6 at school.
It was a great morning (for me, anyway).
I feel lighter.
I have some support.
Those boxes by my front door are finally gone.
There is less for me to worry about.
Loosening my grip and asking for help hasn’t made me a worse mom.
It’s made me a better one.
Number 7 has two more women she now feels comfortable with, and if I have an emergency and need help, the net of people who really knows my children has just been spread a little bit wider.
So I will rely on the help of friends for a little while longer.
As long as I need to.
And when the day comes that I don’t need to rely on them for help anymore,
then I will find the people who might need to rely on me.
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