Monday, July 12, 2010

The Difference A Week Makes

The 4th of July weekend was full of fireworks, but unfortunately a lot of the red was from the roseola that E developed.  I have never seen her so miserable.  To top it off, poor M threw out his back in a big way and spent most of the weekend in bed with a heating pad and lots of aleve.  Luckily, we were with family and so I had lots of help from my mother.  E stayed inside with her fever and spots while L played with my brother.

As we planned, my mom came back with us when we returned home and stayed the whole week.  I was nervous for a couple of reasons: 1) My mom and I have always had a somewhat strained relationship and 2) I suck at letting people help me.  However, with two kids under 3 I have finally given up on the idea of being the working mom who can do everything.  The truth is, I suck at that, too. Besides, with E so sick I had no other choice. She was able to help me take care of E and we kept L home from daycare for a few days so he could spend some on-on-one time with Nana.  Since I had help, M was able to rest and we were able to go out THREE nights last week.  I even got a girls night out with Maura on Friday!  It was amazing and much needed.

For one week, I stepped into a different world of parenting.  I always knew that having family close by made a big difference, but I never realized how much of a difference until I actually experienced it.  Towels were clean, children were happy, M and I were.......happy?  That's right!  The stress level dropped dramatically as did the frequency of sarcastic remarks.  Having that help really made me see what a strain all of this has had on our marriage.  I actually had time to enjoy my kids instead of worrying about feeding them, bathing them, and making sure everything was just so. 

It all makes sense to me.  Our friends with small children that have family in town just seem to be happier.  They don't have to worry about babysitters, lack of babysitters, scheduling nights out months ahead of time or getting into a bind with no family to rely on.  We do have friends that we could call, of course, but you always feel so badly when you have to do that.  I know that having family close by doesn't get rid of stress, but it certainly cuts down on a lot of it. 

Much of our stress is temporary.  We have not sold our old house, which means we are paying two mortgages and M is taking care (mowing, fixing, etc..) of two houses.  The space program is cutting many, many jobs and while I think we're ok, there is always that fear.  Despite all of that, I feel strangely positive.  I want to try to continue this feeling that the week with help gave to me.  Ok, so our house looks like we moved in yesterday instead of 5 months ago. We'll just have to tackle that as we can.  We'll just have to tackle everything as we can.  In the mean time, I'll just hope that everyone is right when they say, "it gets easier".


  1. Family does help a ton. So glad you had such a great week - if anyone deserved it, you did!!

  2. Wow. That sounds so much like my life...just toss in one more kid. ;) We just moved an hour away from our family support and we will NEVER get unpacked because we are always in this mad rush of feed, bathe, change, launder, cook, clean, shop, repeat. ::sigh::

  3. I am terrible about asking for help.
    And who cares how the house looks--just a little at a time :) (I know this is easier said than done!)
    Glad the week was good--family always helps!

  4. You are not alone on both fronts. We are far from family and rarely manage a date night. And we moved here in Jan and still have rather large boxes in the dining room. No place to unpack the contents so they'll just have to stay. Maybe I'll cover them with a sheet...

  5. I am bad about asking for help and all of my family lives within 25 miles of us!
    Having them close is a blessing....and a curse.
    Glad you had a good week!

  6. Even with out kids, it's hard to be without family.

    So glad you had your Mom for the week and that it was a great time!

  7. I totally sympathize, right down to the mother with the strained relationship. But, you know, I do feel that we find "family" where we make it, and we have some friends that do totally help us out when we are stressed.

    I am glad that you got some relaxation time in and some husband appreciation time too!

    I think sometimes the stress can cause illnesses too (as well as the illnesses causing stress). I hope your family is coming into a HEALTHY patch now!!

    (And, while my life is still often choatic--it does get easier!!!)

  8. I'm glad to hear that you got a little break and sound a bit more relaxed. I have family right next door so I kind of take for granted, but I still don't like to ask them for help. The only thing I ever feel comfortable with is the babysitting thing because grandparents don't view it as that. As for chores go I have never had my mom or MIL do anything around my house. Must be the control freak thing in me.

  9. It does get easier, right? :)
    I didn't realize you hadn't sold your old house yet; I can't imagine how much you guys are trying to keep up with. I'm glad you got a break, and I hope you find ways to get more!

  10. I am so glad that your mom could come for help. My entire family lives in Brazil and I am a single mother. Some days I just somebody would show up at the door and just ask if I want some help. Enjoy!