Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Helping Hands

It truly does take a village! I’d be lying if I gave anyone the impression that caring for Lil’ O is easy or that I have it all under control. In reality I have an amazing group of people surrounding me that help care for him and that amazing network allows me to have some time for myself. Because, let’s face it, keeping this mom happy helps everyone. So, this is a public thank you to everyone who has helped Husby and me take such wonderful care of Lil’ O. These precious individuals and groups have eased our way into parenting and I’m so grateful.

First and foremost, Husby is there for constant tag-teaming and support. As my spouse, he’s my partner in life and he’s certainly a partner in parenting. Seeing my husband as a parent has made me appreciate him in all new ways. I’m so grateful for him and so appreciative of his help in caring for Lil’ O. Being able to tag team is huge! Especially in the wee hours of the night/morning during the first few weeks of Lil’ O’s life. Since I had a (not-by-choice) c-section, Husby, Lil’ O and I all stayed in the hospital for four days following Lil’ O’s birth. I didn’t mind much since, beyond staring at Lil’ O and attempted nursing, my focus was made fuzzy by healing. Gingerly walking to and from the bathroom or around the post-partum maternity ward was a big deal. So, given my limited physical capabilities, Husby changed nearly every early diaper and responded to a lot of Lil’ O’s cries while we were in the hospital and for the first couple weeks we were home.

If you’re one of the brave souls that’s a single parent, please know you have my utmost respect and admiration! Single parents, more than any other, need the help of a loving support network.

Religious Community
Our church family has been so supportive, especially when we first came home with Lil’ O. The first two weeks home we didn’t worry about a single meal. They kept coming to our doorstep! The women of the church, led by our pastor’s wife, brought us full meals for dinner every other day for those first two weeks. It was amazing! And, it was so nice not to have to worry about food as we were adjusting to being home with Lil’ O.

We have friends who also kindly came by with meals for us in those early weeks. They also provided a taste of the outside world. By necessity, I think, parents become isolated when they first bring home that bundle of joy. Having our friends come to visit really helped us remember that there was still an outside world and provide a window into what current events we might have missed.

We also have friends that ran out for diapers after we’d had a full day of doctor appointments and are happy to watch Lil’ O so we can get a break. Good friends indeed.

Daycare Provider
I would not be able to go to work and focus on work if not for our amazing daycare provider. Husby found them by searching our local YMCA site and we loved the vibe since our first interview. It’s an in-home daycare close to our home with a mom fully dedicated to Lil’ O and two other little babes. This is where Lil’ O spends his days Monday through Thursday. (My mom, aka G’ma, watches Lil’ O on Fridays.) My little guy loves watching all those kids play and interact! We think he’s an introvert since he isn’t quick to jump into the action, but he sure does enjoy taking it all in.

This is a big one! Husby and I both dearly love our families and I’m so blessed that my parents and Sistah are here in town. My mom, G’ma, has been hugely helpful. She cleaned our place before Lil’ O was born and cleaned a few more times during my maternity leave. Once I settled into rhythm with Lil’ O after Husby went back to work, G’ma also came by weekly to take care of Lil’ O and give me a break. Those weekly visits were also helpful and gave me someone to talk to. Knowing that babies need to hear language, I kept trying to talk to Lil’ O, but being by myself I was running out of things to say!

My parents and Sistah are also on speed dial for babysitting duties. It’s been so, so nice to have dates with Husby out of the house and on our own. Don’t get me wrong, we love Lil’ O dearly, but having a babe has forced us to be more purposeful in connecting with each other, whether by our at-least-weekly at-home date nights or by escaping the house and all its distractions for a few hours. And having ready sitters has made that possible.

So, thank you to all these folks and more who have helped Husby and me! We and Lil’ O thank you and love you!

I hope all the other parents out there also have amazing support networks to turn to. I admit, it takes some humility to accept the helping hand, but it also takes off a load of stress. If you don’t (yet) have a strong network of helpers to turn to, look to these groups of people in your life. I bet they’d be willing to help, especially if it means time with that precious child.

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