In case I haven't mentioned this before, I'm on my own a lot. Hubby works full-time and farms with his dad so he's pretty much home to eat (occasionally) and sleep (sometimes). He tries to help me out when he's able to, but the poor guy works so hard that he spends his small amount of time at home either relaxing on the couch or playing with the kids to try to make up for the fact that he hasn't seen them in two days. So for the most part, I'm doing this whole parenting thing on my own.
Except I'm not truly on my own. I have in-laws right down the road from me who like it when I drop the kids off for a few hours on Saturday so I can get some work done at home. I have parents and a sister who live less than 10 minutes from me, who, although busy with jobs and their own lives, will drop everything to come over if I have an emergency or just desperately need some help for the day. I have another sister and a best friend who, although too far away to visit often, are just a text, phone call, or email away and are great moral support when I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make it through the day. I have an amazing church family who pray for me and offer help if needed.
For example. we're very active in our church. We go to two services on
Sundays, Bible study on Wednesday nights and other activities in
between. Hubby is at work for half of all Sundays and Wednesdays
leaving me to get the kids to church in one piece on my own. And if it
weren't for the fact that my in-laws, my parents, my sister, and my
church family all help me out while at church, I would probably just
stay home on those days that Hubby is working. When I pull up in the
church parking lot, someone comes out to help me get the kids inside.
Whoever is in the foyer at the time helps the kids hang their coats up.
The older kids sit with my in-laws during the service so I can take the
baby to the nursery if necessary. Someone is always willing to chase
Star around so I don't have to. And it goes on and on.
I honestly don't know how I would do this without the help I get from others. I have some health problems that complicate things sometimes. Add to that the fact that I work at home while caring for my children, and some days I feel like I'm taking one step forwards and 12 steps back.
It's humbling to realize that I can't do this on my own. That I need help taking care of my own children sometimes. Sometimes, I have to fight the urge to respond with "no, thank you" when someone offers some help because I've been conditioned, like so many other women, to believe that I should be doing this on my own. So many Christian women try hard to live up to the famed Proverbs 31 woman by "doing it all" and end up exhausted and discouraged. But here's the thing...the Proverbs 31 woman had help.
She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants.
(Italics are mine)
So why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to be "do it all?" Raising children, keeping a household, working at a job (be it at home or outside the home), being a stay-at-home mom, etc...it's hard and sometimes we need help. This blog post by Marie Osborne really makes this point well.
Here's the best part of needing help...we're given the opportunity to bless someone else simply by accepting their offer to help. Yes, it's humbling to admit that you need help, but the person offering usually doesn't see it that way. They are blessed by being able to help someone else and by accepting their help, you are the one blessing them. So let's all make an effort to be a blessing to someone else-either by accepting their offer to help or by offering to help someone else.