I decided a long time ago, back when I was still a child, that I would take care of my own children. I would cook for them, I would spend time with them… I would not let others dictate how I should parent! I would not disappear from dawn to midnight, leaving my child with the maid! Ahem. No prizes for guessing who grew up this way.
Perhaps it’s because I grew up in an environment where help was never rendered without conditions or a feeling like I was begging for handouts.
I ended up fiercely independent and self reliant (stubbornly so?), wanting to do everything myself, figure out my own problems.
For the most part, it worked beautifully, and I learnt so much along the way and did many things that deserve a good pat on the back (by myself, of course).
Giving birth? No epidural! Confinement? No nanny! Taking care of Lorraine? Me! Housework? Me! Cook? Me! Still run a business full time? No problem!
Except… yes got problem. Finally, after 19 long months, I realise that I’ve finally found where my limit is.
I have not slept more than 3h in a row for 2 years (including late pregnancy).
I have not gone out without a baby in tow for more than 1 hour, and I’ve only done it once.
When I do my work, it’s when I cross my fingers that Lorraine is deep asleep enough, and I tip toe out of the room to work. I never know how much time I have, so I can never plan anything in advance. Ever since she turned 1 or so, I couldn’t even work while she napped, cos she has developed ninja senses to know if I was beside her.
When I was sick from bronchitis and an injured rib, I soldiered on. I threw myself many pity parties along the way, but onwards I went.
Despite that, I hung on. Because I was still coping, if even barely. It didn’t make any logical sense to do what I did, but I don’t regret having spent 24/7 with her for the past 19 months. I was exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, but I loved it. I loved that I was there for every moment, every milestone, that I understood everything she was saying and doing. I could look at myself in the mirror and I could truly say that there was nothing more that I could have done, nothing more that I could have given.
The happiest moments I’ve had in my life were over these 19 months.
But now, it’s time to accept that some help will do our family good. I have rejected the idea for a long time, but we have finally hired a helper and will be picking her up in an hour’s time.
I hope that with an extra pair of hands, I will have more energy and time to recharge, so that I can be a better mother and wife.
I hope that with help, I can spend more structured time on my work (which I absolutely love), instead of stolen minutes spent haphazardly, and hopefully contribute to a higher standard of living for us.
I realise that, far from escaping the responsibilities of motherhood, accepting help around the house – could very well be the opposite.