One major knowledge nugget I learned from Jazmine to baby Grace, is that not all “help” is beneficial.
New moms are often told to take all the help they can get. That peice of advice seeps in and becomes a way of thinking that lasts far past the newborn/infant stage. When you physically can’t, accept the help. However, there are many times in this motherhood journey where we have to figure it out.
I remember thinking there was no way I could clean the house with a 4 month old Jazmine because she needed me so much. I reached out asking for family to watch her for a few hours so I could clean. It was then that, I truly believe, the Holy Spirit said, “clean the house with her.” Now, had I been baby wearing in the house, this would have been a no brainier but I wasn’t then and I was so used to how I had done things before Jazmine, adjusting didn’t even cross my brain. I am grateful no one came to my rescue. I am grateful I had to think through and accept that my cleaning day would forever be altered. What used to take me two hours to clean the entire house, is now broken up over several days. The days of the house being all fresh clean at one time is over.
Tanya later admitted to my husband that when Bella was a baby, her mother did everything for her except nurse her. She bathed her, dressed her, walked with her, you name it. Then Scott came along. Tanya was holding him and it was nightime and he was screaming. She asked her mother to take him for just a few minutes. See, motherhood had gotten rough there. Her mother later told my husband that the Holy Spirit told her “not to touch him.” Why? Because how would she ever learn? Motherhood was easy the first time around. She got all the attention but had to do minimal work. With Scott, she learned. With Bella, she didn’t. Tanya has often said and both Bella and Scott have repeated, that if Scott came first, there would have been no Bella. I think she means if Scott was born first and she had to do for Scott the first time around, she would not have gotten pregnant again.
I told my mother just yesterday that my Jazmine isn’t where I wanted her to be at 7yrs old in relation to her behavior while shopping. I find myself having to say don’t do, you know better, stop it etc way too much for my liking. But the truth is, I did it to myself. She didn’t shadow me at the stores. She wasn’t with me when I went shopping as often as I went and many times, a family member was with me to keep her occupied so I could think. I did us both a disservice. Children learn by observing and spending time with you. That is how they learn to imitate us. I chose and easy path because it was presented to be helpful and I justified my decision. I regret that now and there isn’t an errand that my children don’t go on with me anymore.
Do I get time away by myself? Not yet but I will. Do I accept help? Yes. Yes I do but when it’s needed, not when it’s easy. I don’t need help holding the baby while I’m teaching Jazmine. I don’t need help packing a diaper bag. Those are things you have to learn how to do and get on with life.
Not all help offered or sought is beneficial in the long run. I am enjoying learning more lessons this time around.