Childrearing

My Stress Must Be Showing – Everyone’s Offering To Babysit My Daughter

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stressed momMy husband and I have been on more dates this month than the first five months of the year combined. To be fair, we had his birthday and our anniversary. So we had more reasons to get a little “us time.” But we still seem to have an inordinate number of friends and family members offering to take our little girl for the evening.

At first I thought it was just the summer season that was getting to everyone. Kids are out of school and cousins want to play. Pools are open and fun is to be had. It’s sleepover season, right? My daughter has been loving all the social activities. Every weekend she asked, “So who am I going to see day?” Just expecting that we were going to have someone to visit.

Sounds awesome right? Yay for me and all my free time to eat sushi with my husband!

But somewhere around the sixth invitation for my daughter to come over, I started to wonder if there wasn’t an added layer of information that I was missing. I mentioned it to one of my friends, my amazement at how many people seem to want to take my daughter off my hands for a while. “Well people know how busy you are…” she said quietly.

Hold up. Nothing else needed to be said. Suddenly I realized what everyone else had known the whole time. This wasn’t just summer fun. My stress had been showing. People were trying to help out because they could tell that life was a little overwhelming at the moment. All at once, I felt grateful for my wonderful family and friends, and more than a little guilty.

To be fair, it has been a stressful month. Lots of work to do, a broken air conditioner and a weekend in 100 degree hear, family drama. When all of that stuff seems to happen at once, life gets a little more hectic. Apparently, I haven’t been handling all that as well as I thought I was. Apparently, everyone could tell that my hectiness had transformed into downright frustration. And either they wanted to save my daughter from my anxiety or they wanted to save me from my daughter’s energy.

Either way, it all boiled down to the idea that people thought I was better off having some alone time. And if there was anything to make me feel like a failure during an already stressful time, it was the idea that my family didn’t consider my competent enough to take care of my own child.

I know that I’m lucky. I’m obviously thankful that I have such caring friends and family who want to help me through a difficult time. But I also know that hearing my friend mention it made me think about just how stressed I was, and just how much I needed to calm down. It made me think about how all that frustration was playing out in front of my friends and family, and with my daughter.

More than anything, that gentle reminder convinced me to take every offer extended, take the time and really let myself clam down. And then make sure to extend a couple offers of my own in reciprocation. Getting help is a wonderful thing. Realizing how much I needed it was more than a little humbling.

(Photo: Piotr Marcinski/Shutterstock)