Honest to goodness, I don't know how people raise kids without family around. (I'm not lying. I have nightmares about that kind of thing.) Jeff and I are incredibly blessed to have both of our families within an eight mile radius of our house; and I firmly believe that that fact alone accounts for at least 75% of the reason Sam is still alive today. ;)
Seriously though, I am a firm believer that this parenting thing wasn't meant to be done alone. Television, the movies, and even (maybe especially) the blog-world would have us all believe that we can (and, more importantly) should be able to handle our child, our home, and (oh heaven help us) our job, without any extra help. But, I'm here to tell you... Some days, you just need help! Some days, you need to be able to take a shower that is longer than 2 minutes and (if you are very very lucky) blow-dry your hair. Some days, you need someone to fold your laundry and clean your toilets because your baby has been through seventeen outfits in one day and all you want to do is take a nap. Some days, you need someone to take-over your spot next to your sleeping child to make sure he continues breathing so that sneak out for a half an hour and sit at a coffee shop and blog. And, some days, (ok, most days, if you are me), you need someone to just tell you that you are doing a darn good job and that your baby seems normal so far. :)
I know some people have really strong feelings about this, but, I'm going to say it anyway. Even though you are the very very BEST caregiver for your child; they will.be.ok if you let someone else try it every once in a while. In fact, when you get back from your respite (whether it be an hour at the mall or six minutes locked in your bedroom), you will be even BETTER than before you left. I left Sam for the first time when he was about a week old. Judge me if you want, but I don't regret it. I feel like this started him off feeling comfortable with other people and helped me to ease into my new role just a little bit more easily. And, as an added (and wonderful) bonus: by allowing someone else to help you, you are probably blessing THEM so much too! It's win-win really.
If you don't have family around, let your friends love on your kids. (Seriously, seeing the way some of my friends have fallen in love with Sam has been one of the most beautiful & intimate parts of friendship I have ever experienced.)
Swap babysitting with your neighbors.
That Super-Mom thing is a stinking myth. It will only make you tired and grouchy. It really does take a VILLAGE.
Accept help - in whatever form it comes. Because, trust me when I say that eventually people will stop offering to scrub your toilets and make you dinner every night... ;)
This post is part of a series for 31 Days of Change hosted by The Nester. To see my other "lessons," click here.