helpful help

Last weekend, my sister came over to spend the night and accompany us to the pumpkin patch in the morning. E had a mild fever in the night and I woke up a little stressed and he woke up with no fever but a little cranky.

In the morning, I couldn’t find anything. There was a specific shirt I wanted E to wear for the pumpkin photo opps and I couldn’t let it go- looked through every stitch of clothing and still couldn’t find it. The last time I saw my sunglasses they were in the hands of my friend’s almost-two-year-old running around my apartment the weekend before. And I could find nothing to wear that was nursing friendly and also cute. Frustration was piling up and we were running late to meet friends.

And I noticed something about having people around to help. My sister is so helpful- she anticipates and thinks about taking out trash/recycling and asks what else she can do and washes the dishes after dinner. But when she’s around, I stop doing 100% of everything. And then I feel annoyed when not 100% gets done exactly the way I do it and I start feeling like things are spinning out of control. So extra help, oddly enough, can feel like more work.

It’s famously hard to ask for help, and seemingly more so to hand over part of your to do list. Like maybe just because someone comes over to see me and E they didn’t intend to become my housekeeper! But it feels black and white- when my parents are here, I relax and sit on the couch after work while they serve me cheese and crackers and a beer, because they are doing mostly everything- running the kitchen, going to the store, organizing, etc. but if someone is dividing up the work with me, I am sort of on alert about all of it and it gets half done.

I’ve written before about how this must be a microcosm of what it’s like in a couple only they get a lot more practice (being that it’s a daily balance) and ostensibly find their groove and “own” certain tasks (and/or spend a lifetime fighting about it).

I think I need to better articulate what’s needed and also let it go. But there’s this panic when my sister or my nanny is there, like “I better do x, y, and z in the next ten minutes or I will never ever again get another opportunity.” This feeling started the minute E was born and it inspires efficiency but also isn’t entirely true.

The truth is, it’s easier when I’m in the groove of doing everything myself. More hands are great, as are nights with a built-in babysitter! But transitioning in and out is harder than you would think.

Lest I sound ungrateful: I am so grateful for helpers (and especially sister BaChee)!! Just need to be a better helpee.

Pumpkin patch was stellar although E wasn’t feeling great and it was oppressively hot- he was obsessed with the tractor from the hayride and pretty much nonplussed by everything else. “Truck! Truck!”



1 thought on “helpful help”

  1. Thanks for talking with Nan the other day! She is excited about starting a group in the south! We swim together one last time this weekend. Boohoo! Ps I feel exactly the same way about help. We just have our groove going and it’s like a well oiled machine.

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