It takes a village to raise a child, but how do you ask for help?
by Jaclyn Herrmann
As a new mom, you are bombarded with expectations about how perfect everything should be, and when you finally get home with your new baby, reality sets in: you now have a human life that is entirely your responsibility. As much as the media would like to make it appear sometimes, being a new mother is no easy task, and can admittedly be overwhelming. It is important for new moms to know when and how to ask for help.
- Let go of the guilt. While the beginning of your child’s life is a beautiful, special time, and you may feel that you should be able to handle everything yourself, there is no shame in asking for help from those around you to make this time a little easier for you while you juggle new financial burdens, recovering from childbirth, soothing your fussy baby, breastfeeding, and mastering new skills. The lessened stress and fatigue will benefit both you and your little one.
- Ask for help with little tasks. Those around you can see the fatigue in your eyes, but they may be too nervous to ask if you need help as to not appear too overbearing. Your loved ones will likely do whatever it takes to release some of your stress if asked directly. Those who have had children of their own will be even more willing to help because they understand what you are experiencing. Maybe you need an hour to yourself. Your mother, sister, or best friend would probably love the time with the baby while you go out for a bit or just take a nap or shower at home. Perhaps your neighbor sees how stressed you are and would love to help water your plants, walk your dog, or mow your lawn for a few weeks. The worst they can do is say no.
- Know when to say no. While there may be some people who need you to ask them for help, there may be others who will want to overstay their visit and help with everything without being asked. It is important to be assertive and know when to say no to someone’s help, even if you are grateful for their willingness to help. Being a parent is exhausting, and having added people around the house who are constantly hovering over you can sometimes make it worse. Only you know what is best for you. While saying no to help will offend some people, it may be what is best for you and your baby if you just need some time alone. With a bit of wordplay, you can express your gratitude while politely declining help.
- If you can spend some extra money, do it. Setting a bit of money aside for services that will make your life a little bit easier can be a lifesaver. If you can afford a mother’s helper or a nanny to come by for a few hours a week to care for the baby while you take care of yourself or sign up for a grocery delivery service, by all means, do it. This doesn’t make you a lazy parent. It just means that you need some help and there is never anything wrong with that.
Raising a child is no easy task that can’t always realistically be done alone. You deserve all the help that you can get, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Jaclyn Herrmann is a contributing writer. She lives in Atlanta GA and loves all things creative. She can be found on Instagram @jaclynherrmann