When I am asked what holds the Number One spot on my list of advice for people who are just starting out as parents, I usually say, “Trust your instincts.”
If someone were to ask me that this week, I would have to say it's, “Bring backup.”
Now don't get me wrong: I firmly believe that the responsibility for my children rests squarely on my shoulders and their fathers', and nowhere else. We made 'em, it's our job to see that they grow up healthy and whole and at least semi-domesticated. Raising a child is a voluntary decision, and if you've made it it's your duty to see the thing through personally.
But “personally” doesn't have to mean “alone.”
This has been brought home to me again recently, because I've just gone through a rather nasty bout of pneumonia. I'll spare you the details; suffice it to say that I haven't been good for anything, much less parenting, for the last two weeks.
It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I began to feel better, because – well, imagine what would happen in your house if nobody did any work for two weeks. "Chaos" is what would happen here. Today is the first day I really felt up to taking stock of the situation.
And what did I find?
I found that my family has my back.
Homework got done, the ACT's got taken, Easter happened, people got fed every day. Library books were picked up, bank deposits were made, prom tickets were bought. Floors were swept and vacuumed, the fish and chickens are still here. Someone even bought plants for the hanging baskets. People brought me soup and medicine and emptied my trash. I didn't ask for any of this - it just happened.
I'm experiencing what Lance and I call a “Parenting Payday” with the realization that my kids are in fact extremely civilized, in addition to being loving and thoughtful and even skilful when they want to be. I already knew that my husband is the Veray Parfit Gentil Knight, but a reminder was long overdue.
Who's in your corner? Is it your husband, your sister, your mother, a friend? Perhaps you have neighbors upon whom you can always depend. Cultivate these people and be grateful for their presence in your life. You may not think about it when times are good, but it's the definition of an emergency that it happens when you least expect it – and there's not a single parent out there who doesn't need a little help from time to time.
Who's got your back?