As you may or may not know, my mom lives with us and is the primary caregiver for our kids when we are at work. And guess what? It's awesome. It's a dream come true, for all of us. My mom is my best friend, and she's truly the easiest person in the world to get along with. In fact, my husband said the other day, "I think you annoy me more than your mom ever does." Ha. I wasn't even offended, because it's true.
My mom is awesome, and I dare you to even try not to like her. I double dare you. She's like a tub of Ben & Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream (and if you don't like that, then I don't like you.) Seriously, the woman is a saint.
So living with her is easy. And amazing. And that's why I've started calling her my Sister Wife (in a non-sexual way, don't make this weird.)
Since I'm off on mat leave this year, we share the cleaning, the cooking, and the chasing-of-the-toddler. We go to the park together, do laundry together (okay, she does the laundry, I can't lie), and eat lunch together. It. Is. Awesome.
And it got me thinking...
Maybe the Mormons are onto something?
After speaking with many mom friends, and from personal experience, I know that staying home alone with the kids can get pretty lonely at times. So maybe, just maybe, the answer is...Polygamy?
Just think about it for a minute...
You are on mat leave, or perhaps a full-time, stay-at-home mom. Your better half gets up early and leaves for work. It's 7:00am, you're exhausted, you've been up all night. The toddler wants to play, the baby wants to eat, you want a coffee, and the dog has to pee. All at the same time. But if you had a sister wife around, you could tag-team the morning to-do list. Sister wife could take the toddler outside to play as the dog goes pee, and you could make a pot of coffee and feed the baby. BAM. Done.
During the day, when you want to pull your hair out because the toddler is having an irrational meltdown over the wrong blue cup you can look over to Sister Wife and say, "Where did this monster come from?!?" She can tag you out while you go and take deep breaths into a paper bag on the back porch, because some days Lamaze class breathing is needed when you have a toddler.
Then, once you've semi-recharged, you can return to the scene and everything will be a-okay because Sister Wife distracted the toddler with a dump-truck and now he's happily eating his lunch. *crisis averted* Later in the day, you can return the favor to Sister Wife when the baby pukes in her hair and she needs to take a shower immediately.
See? Isn't this a brilliant solution? Why isn't everyone a Polygamist? Or to be fair, a Polyandrist? (Is that the proper plural term for Polyandry? Let's go with it...)
What I'm getting at here, really, is that phrases like "Many hands make light work," and "it takes a village to raise a child" are 100% true. Sure, you can raise children on your own with zero help from family and friends, and many people do this either by choice or by circumstance, but it's hard, and it's lonely. I don't think anyone can deny that.
Therefore, if you have help available to you in any way...TAKE IT! Do you have a neighbour friend who can watch the kids for a couple of hours so you can have a shower and run an errand? Awesome. Do you have a mother in law who will come over and offer you a hand throughout the week? Amazing.
It can be really hard to accept help, and even harder to ask for it. I know this because even I have a hard time some days accepting help from my mom. I feel like "I should be able to do this myself," so I sometimes deny her offers, which is incredibly silly. So I've tried to let go of my Super Mom mentality and accept the help whenever I need it. What I find is that I'm better rested and equipped to handle stressful and exhausting situations. It makes me a better mom and enhances the quality of the time I spend with my kids.
Help is good. Really good. So if you can, I truly encourage you to find a Sister Wife...or something like it. It's especially good if you can find a Sister Wife who likes to watch hockey with your husband on Saturday nights so that you don't have to!
To read more about trying times as a parent check out "Do Your Toddlers Freak Out Over Weird Stuff Too?" Or you can read about my personal experience of going from having one child to having two.