I have been on edge all week. My dad has been away. And I’ve been without an afternoon babysitter. I’m desperately trying to hire someone. I thought we found our candidate until one of her references turned out to be a bit of a train wreck.
The reference kept using words like “unreliable” and “often didn’t show up for work.”
Which are not exactly the same as “totally awesome” and “we’re completely lost without her.”
And the babysitter with the six cats didn’t work out. She’s getting her master’s degree (not in cats) and I just can’t imagine asking her to join me in scrubbing baby food off the floor.
During the interview – after asking the obligatory childcare questions – I quickly change the subject to her pets. I found out that she actually goes hiking with her dog and a cat. Then she tells me, “Sometimes we have to stop and wait for the cat because you know, she’s a cat. So she’s a little slower.” And I’m thinking – actually I don’t know about the hiking habits of cats but if and when I go hiking with one I will totally walk a little slower so she can keep up.
Despite my newly acquired pet knowledge, I was still left to wrangle my children alone for most of the week and by Friday I was almost in tears.
But there is something I’ve noticed about the suburbs (other than the tennis skirts, mammoth SUVs and never ending volunteer opportunities), moms who offer to help. It’s not that mothers aren’t kind and generous in the city. They are. It’s just more survival of the fittest. When you’re pushing your double stroller through throngs of tourists in the rain – it’s hard to tell another mom, “Sure. I can bring Johnny home from school. I’ll just swing him up on my shoulders, hand him an umbrella and I’ll hoof the 20 blocks over to your apartment.”
Out here, it’s just easier to help. I was actually able to let my babies nap and relax myself for a few minutes on Friday because one mom brought Summer home from school and another brought Dylan home. And yet another offered to watch the twins if I wanted to get out of the house for a bit.
And you know how that made me feel? Supported. Like I wasn’t alone. It’s not easy for me to ask for help. It’s definitely not my comfort zone. But sometimes life gives you no choice. You can either cry or say, “Yes, I need help. Thank you. You’re a rock star. Better than Chuck Bass. You’re my hero.”
I don’t know if I’ll be able to return the favor to every mom who has helped me during this crazy year.
But even if I can’t, I will pay it forward.
Because one of these days, there will be a mom who is completely overwhelmed by the chaos and needs of her young children. A woman who is on the edge of tears. And I plan to show up at her house with an ice coffee and an offer to help in anyway I can.
Unless I’m busy playing tennis.
Okay, I’ll skip tennis.
And I will hopefully make that mom feel supported and not alone.
It’s the least a mother can do.
Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother (who is often here to help) and all of you. xo