Recently, my husband took a vacation with his dad and brother. It was a much deserved opportunity for him to get away and enjoy himself. But it meant that I was going to be the solo parent of our kindergartner and one year old for five days. It was time to call for backup.
Even though I was a year into this ‘mother-of-two’ thing, I didn’t feel comfortable going at it alone for that length of time. My gut was telling me it was too overwhelming for me to take on right now. But there was a negative voice inside my head trying to make me feel bad for recognizing it might be too much. It was saying things like you should be able able to take care of your kids on your own for five days. So many moms do this all the time, why can’t you?
The truth was I could do it alone. But, I didn’t need to. I knew I had a great support system of many relatives and friends close by; it would be silly not to tap into that. Instead of setting myself up to be overwhelmed from spreading myself too thin while my husband was away, I asked for help. I reached out to my first line of assistance: my mom and my mother-in-law. As grandmas are known to do, they jumped at my request, especially since it meant they could spend some quality time with the grandkids.
My mother-in-law stayed over with us the first evening, and my mom covered the next three nights. They helped me manage the daily chaos of supper and bedtime and getting us all out the door for work, school, and daycare. There were also many other benefits:
- Because I knew I would have help nearly every day, as the trip approached I didn’t let worry creep in on how everything was going to go.
- My mother-in-law helped calm my daughter’s meltdown when my husband left that first evening. She also set up a welcome back poster that my daughter could work on while he was gone.
- After the kids were in bed each night, my mom and I were able to chat and catch up with each other.
- My mom brought special craft projects for the weekend that she and my daughter worked on; they also played make-believe for hours. They had a blast together and I was free to take care of the baby, get meals ready, run errands, and straighten up the house.
- We invited great-grandma over on Saturday to share in the quality time and play a few games of Go-Fish.
It was just me and the kids on the final night and day; thanks to the help I had earlier in the week, I was calm, confident, and not overwhelmed in the least. I can never thank the grandmas (and grandpas) enough for all the times they spring into action to help us with the kids. In addition, the quality time they get to spend together is priceless. The experience was a great reminder it’s always okay to call for backup.