Letting go and accepting help

I was talking with another Mom a few days ago and she told me the following story.

Her little girl was due to have a playdate at home with her best-friend.  However, on the morning of the scheduled playdate, which was during the half-term break, the appointment was canceled.  The reason?  The little friend had chicken-pox.

As my friend’s daughter had already had chicken-pox, and wishing to reach out to help a fellow parent, she offered to take the best-friend’s younger twin brothers off their mother’s hands for a few hours.  This was a generous offer but it was also a sensible one: my friend also happens to have a boy the same age as the twins.

It could all have worked out beautifully.  The Mom nursing her sick daughter gets some respite and a chance to really connect with her little girl who benefits from the extra attention.  My friend gets the respite that comes when successful playdates happen and children play together and require less undivided attention.  The boys get an impromptu and welcome playtime.  My friend’s daughter is disappointed, but you can’t have everything!

Instead of this scenario the mother of the little girl with chicken-pox could not be persuaded to let her boys visit.

We can think of many possible reasons why she might have refused this offer of help.

But I’m more interested in encouraging us as parents to watch out for this same effect in our own lives and take steps to change it.

Raising children is a challenging and demanding job.  It cannot be done alone.  It is no badge of honour in my opinion to struggle on alone when help is available and on offer.  Accepting help allows us to recharge our batteries which ultimately allows us to be more patient and better parents.

Some of us are isolated from family and community as never before.  Let’s start to buck this trend towards ever greater isolation by making an effort to ASK FOR and ACCEPT help from our parent friends.

If we turn these generous offers down too often they might not be repeated and we will find ourselves increasingly cut off from the support that every parent needs and deserves.

Raising children was never meant to be a solitary occupation.  Let’s not feel guilty about accepting help to do it.


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