Today was a good day. There were a couple of tired meltdowns and moments of motherly frustration, but it was a really great Christmas. Explaining extra gifts for the child who doesn’t get gifts from other households to a six year old who has already had two other Christmases is enough to drive any mama crazy. We have made it to the end of the day.
I am currently listening to my husband remind the boys not to throw matchbox cars on top of our hoosier cabinet. There is an orchestra of giggles and the heavy stomps of running children. There are kids who did not have to do without a single thing. There is joy. There is family. They are happy.
There were several moments today that made me realize that it truly takes a village. It takes a village for everyone not just the kids. My husband invited my son’s father to brunch at his grandmother’s. My ex was met with warmth and hospitality during a tough holiday for him. THAT is our family, our village. It was a nice morning.
I had my hands full and of course my son needed help opening a drink. I struggled to do it with one hand, so in came cousin Megan to the rescue. My son had a small tantrum and there were my sister-in-laws, Michelle and Dawn, to console him and check in and reassure me. My mother-in-law and brother-in-law, Dave, helped me talk some gratitude and reality into my typically sweet child. It worked! My angel returned. He was allowed his feelings and reminded of what was real.
Uncle Matt played with the kids and Aunt Jenn wrangled kiddos while wearing a baby. Cousin Brad gracefully took a nerf bullet to the head and my husband helped make plates and hooked up all the new electronics.
Sadie helped the boys clean their toys up. Carmen celebrated her younger sibling’s scooter riding and drove her dad to pick up dinner. My mom sorted enough Pokemon cards to fill the bed of Robert’s truck and helped the boys mine for gems. She is a lifesaver!!
Uncle Chris has spent holiday time playing with three little boys and my dad has snuggled little ones and supervised outside play. Dot cooked a huge meal and made sure everyone was comfortable. My ex made sure that kids were behaving and Aunt Michelle and Uncle Dave provided helmets for kids to ride fourwheelers safely.
All of these things took one more weight off of my shoulders. All of these people probably didn’t give a second thought to the day’s labor, but their labor helped me be present and be a better mama. Holidays are lovely, but let’s be real, they are stressful!
I recently chatted with another mom who expressed frustration when people offered her help. She felt this made her less capable. I understood her feeling and recalled the first time I watched my husband take my son to the men’s room. It was a bizarre thing for me. I was not sure I liked it. That was my job. I was a single mom who didn’t need help from any man. 🤦♀️ I always just took him myself to the ladies’ room. Years later, I am grateful.
I’m not grateful just because I have help for the other three children in my life, but also because the one I came in with has more loving hands to pitch in. Parenting is tough. It’s the coolest thing I have ever done, but it is real work and the hours are demanding. The tantrums or moods or fighting or schedules are exhausting. The snuggles and laughter and breakthroughs make up for it, but I don’t have to do any of that alone!
Mama, I ask you to picture your favorite mom celebrity. You know, the one who is a total bad@$$ and has it all together. The one who hustles and makes moves and has her own big dreams. The one who does it all. Guess what? SHE doesn’t do it all. She has an assistant, a nanny, and a maid. She may even have a personal chef! Give yourself a break, girl.
Take the help. It doesn’t mean you’re any less awesome or capable. It means you’re human and people love you and your children enough to offer a helping hand. It takes a village for all of us. Give yourself that village. Your spouse, your children, and your sanity will thank you!
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.