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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

26 Responses to i swear this is a mother’s day post.

  • Rebecca says:

    Great post. I feel like you…wanna know what makes me mad? I live on a island. If I could…i would doggy paddle somewhere anywhere for an hour…lol

  • christine says:

    That is so sweet! I felt like “yeah, I know what she’s talking about.” I live in the Philippines, practically the other side of the world, but I can totally relate to what you said. There are some days when you just want to cry or pull your hair out because of frustrations and thankfully, just like you, I live in a generous neighborhood where you can just yell and someone would come to help out. 🙂

  • Very nice. This post promptly placed the song, “Lean on Me,” in my head. Over and over. Which isn’t entirely horrible.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, too!

  • Ann's Rants says:

    This mom lives in Madison Wisconsin and is due with her twins (kids #3 and #4) in July. ((NOT ME)).

    If only our suburbs were a little closer together.

  • mom-mom-mom says:

    I moved to the burbs & got a minivan — kicking and screaming. It ended up being the best decision for my family and my sanity. I am surrounded by an amazing network of moms who will drop off a meal, pick up a kid or break open a bottle of wine at the drop of a hat. I am so lucky!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • annie says:

    This is a really nice post! I wish I could be your neighbor and come over to help out – or at least bring you wine and treats.

    Happy Mother’s Day!!

  • Emily says:

    So true Kelce! As I have followed you from one neighborhood to the next, I also have to say I totally agree with the comparison. It is so nice to be out here in the ‘burbs and feel like you can call on your compadres for a boost here and there. I loved this post. You deserve an ice coffee, a fresh highlight (not that your hair doesn’t look fantastic right now), a pedicure, and mint juleps today. XOXXO

  • KV says:

    And a word to honor your mother, Kelcey — part of my suburban legacy — meeting in a church parking lot in Westport 29 years ago — and to even longer-ago suburban mom-friends, women who got me through earlier parenting years, Miriam (we met on a playground in Farmington and our four children played day after day until they went home to Israel) and Dori (sat next to her at a town meeting in Farmington the same year; our four daughters played and played and grew up together). Thank you, Kelcey – your words today brought all three women into my own hall of fame, into the embrace of memory and gratitude. at)

  • Vaashti says:

    “If you can’t pay it back, pay it forward.” Thank you for the reminder. Love, love, LOVE your blog. Happy Mother’s Day!!

  • Marinka says:

    That lady is totally nuts. Cats are so super fast. Unless it’s just that MyNicki is especially talented. Good thing she’s not going to be your babysitter. Or doesn’t know my name.

    Happy Mothers’s Day to you and all the mothers out there who make our lives easier.

  • erinb says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to one of my favorite supermoms! May the Mother’s Day Gods bring you a sane, stable, cat-less babysitter ASAP!!! xoxo

  • Jen says:

    Happy Mother’s Day Kelcey! I’m so dying to meet those babies. They’ll be toddlers by the time that happens…oh well 🙂 It’s so true, Mom’s out here are so great about helping when you just can’t do it all. I still take Luke to speech and OT twice a week and when my college student sitter is busy, or Eric can’t take Parker to yet another meeting, these Mom’s are so great about taking Parker home with them until I can get there. So different in the city, due to, like you said, ability to do so. Or the fact that you don’t want to have to ask their nanny…that said, i really miss walking my kids to school too!
    Hope you find a great sitter, fast…

  • Ann says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Kelcey. Thanks for letting me borrow Tommy-Tom for our visit. Hope you find a babysitter soon.

  • red pen mama says:

    It is hard to let others help. We have to put aside that “have it all/do it all” attitude. I, for one, would gladly accept even more help!

    Happy mother’s day every day, to every mom, especially the helpful ones!

  • Babymama says:

    Lord God I hear you!!

    I’m in the midst of looking for a nanny and interviewing has been H-E-…well, you get the picture.

    Hope you had a lovely Mother’s Day!


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kelcey kintner