Sunday, 21 October 2012

Who has your back?

I know there is that saying that it takes a village to bring up a child but this morning I was thinking about how many people it takes to support a Mum.

Being the Mum of small kids is harder than I ever imagined and, to be completely honest, if it wasn't for the people around me I just can't imagine how I would cope. 

The pressure on your relationship, the tiredness, the sickness, the mess, cooking endless dinners, the tantrums, the guilt and millions of choices ... it can all be very overwhelming and being at home with your kids can feel a lot like being locked in a pressure cooker with two hyper monkeys who are determined to break you!

So how do you cope, let alone enjoy it?

I think the secret is to share the load. (This shouldn't be confused with palming off the responsibility for your kids.) 

I'm really lucky, I have a wonderful extended family, a brilliant husband and the best friends in the whole world. And I rely on all of them to get me though in very different ways.

Being able to let off steam, having someone to babysit occasionally or having someone turn up unannounced at 4.30pm, holding a casserole and say 'I've brought you dinner, can't stay the kids are in the car', can make all the difference.  

I love the old saying 'A problem shared is a problem halved' and it is never more true than when you have kids. It is like dropping a rock into a pond ... the ripples get smaller and smaller the further away from the rock they get.

But it does occur to me that different people help you in different ways, so here is the run down of how it works in my world ... is it the same for you?

Grandmas are for babysitting, and realistic support and advice about parenting and marriage. They also love your kids unconditionally which is amazing when you need to vent, and they tend to be able to see the big picture!

Husbands/partners are for hugs and physical comfort, companionship, making you feel attractive (mostly) and enjoying your kids together (sometimes, sometimes it feels more like you have a common enemy!). They're your family.

Friends are for sharing the unvarnished truth, non-competitive comparisons of where your kids are up to,  and dinners in times of need. They have your back.

And if all else fails I can refer back to my awesome friend Louise's favourite saying: "This too shall pass." 

To which I normally respond: "I bloody well hope so!"

So, how does your support network work? Could you cope without them?

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