Everyone has different strengths and talents. It’s terribly easy to compare our gifts to the strengths of someone else and think, “I should be doing what they are doing… in addition to what I’m doing.”
I have 3 boys. They are all fairly young and parenting each one requires a good deal of my time and attention. I’m also expecting baby boy #4 any day now. It’s taken this many years but I think I’ve finally reached the place in mothering where I am happy to admit, I can’t do it all. I am physically incapable of giving each boy my undivided attention all of the time and I don’t feel guilty about it one bit.
Just this week I hired a Mother’s Helper to specifically help me after baby 4 arrives. When I was a less experienced mother I would have thought a Mother’s Helper was an extravagant waste of money but now I understand the need for an additional set of hands. Every mother has a different set of circumstances, skills and life demands. Right now my day-to-day life is pretty demanding… for me. I’m talking about the basics of tending to children, cleaning up after them, homeschooling, taking care of myself, etc… Everything is 3 times MORE when there are 3 children involved. It takes 3 times longer to get ready in the morning. It takes 3 times longer to eat a meal. It takes 3 times longer to get out the door. It takes 3 times longer to get the mess cleaned.
Yet, at the end of the day I look at the messy state of my house, the dishes piled up in the sink and feel like a failure. Then I would hear of friends that were tending to their bountiful gardens, doing fun crafts with their children, taking weekly homeschool field trips, sewing all of their kids’ clothes or painting beautiful masterpieces and my heart would just sink. How could I ever compare to their motherhood awesomeness when my floor was covered in cheerios and there may or may not be a dirty diaper on the floor?
Then I remembered. We are all different. The mother who has a pristine garden tends to it while her older children are at school. The mother who sews beautiful dresses for her daughters has been sewing since she was a little girl (unlike me who has no idea how to run my sewing machine). The mother who is taking her homeschooled kids on field trips each week doesn’t have a napping toddler. The mother who paints masterpieces finds painting to be a peaceful retreat from the chaos of her own life. We are all mothering in our own beautiful way.
I don’t feel one ounce of guilt for hiring someone to help me during this big transition period in our lives. I am actually very excited to have an extra set of hands around the house. A mother’s helper allows me to give more attention to each task at hand, weather it’s homeschooling Jude, feeding a new baby or taking a shower. I find that my motherhood duties become stressful when I am pulled in too many directions at once, so having a helper to alleviate even a little bit of that stress is huge.
I may never be an artist or a gardener but I am enough for my children. And now that I realize I can’t do it all I find so much grace in the day-to-day.