I don’t like clutter; as soon as my daughter outgrows her clothes, we pass them on. That’s exactly how I would have envisioned myself as a parent.
I also thought, naively, that I was going to continue as a self-sufficient adult.
About that, I was completely wrong.
My baby arrived six weeks early; we didn’t yet have a crib. She spent the first month in the hospital (we had time to get the crib). She couldn’t breastfeed; I pumped exclusively.
When she was six months old and it was time to leave her at daycare, she lasted – we lasted – four days.
We accepted my mom’s and mother-in-law’s offers, which we had rebuffed up until then, to watch her at home. My baby spends two days a week with her grandparents, one with me, and two with a babysitter – a dear friend’s cousin.
My mother-in-law brings us delicious vegetarian food. My mom does our laundry and sweeps. My father-in-law cleans our bathtub. The babysitter does the baby’s laundry and empties the dishwasher.
Without this parade of love, we would eat only frozen pizza and our baby would crawl around in dust bunnies and sleep on snot-filled sheets.
Both of our moms lived in cities without family nearby when we were born – perhaps this is why they are so quick to help us out. Not only does their love and support keep us fed and clean, but it strengthens our relationships with them and our daughter’s relationship with them too.
One of the best parts of this year is learning a seemingly obvious lesson: offering and accepting help is part of being a family.
I suppose it’s possible that my husband and I could survive parenting without this village of support.
I’m just thankful we don’t have to.