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With all of the baby gear designed to make your life easier, there's one item I left off my gift registry that, to this day, causes me to feel regret. Raising three young kids without it has affected my life, my marriage and my kids more
then any other item I did or didn't get.
I wish I had registered for help.
Before you tune me out and say, "Oh, rich people problems," hear me out.
Help can come in the form of arms from a neighbor, a fellow
church congregant, a friend from Temple, or you can hire them of course.
You just have to get past one giant hurdle: your pride.
I promise you, when you have that baby and are shuttled out
of the hospital after two days and you can barely walk, you will need help.
Spouses are great, but to put all of the pressure on them to help out, even if
they will, creates a lot of pressure on just two people.
I should have lined up a babysitter and a post-partum nurse.
I, too, love helping new moms out. Cleaning their kitchen, holding their baby while they take a shower, bringing them food.
You are suddenly so soaked in breastmilk, sweat or formula
you could give a shit about your shiny new nursery that suddenly has baby poop
here and there.
With my first child I registered for no help. I refused. I
was drowning and wanted to divorce my husband. No family, no mom friends, no
With my second child, I had a little village assembled. Our
oldest son's preschool delivered us food for a month! The parents all took
turns, it was incredible. Smack dab in
the middle of Hollywood and a different parent would show up nearly daily with
delicious food. It helped me recover my body
faster to have scrumptious food to reach for (instead of M&M's).
It cost us nothing yet meant everything.
I also took out an add on CraigsList looking for help for 12
hours a week. Perhaps you gasp in horror and cluck your heads thinking I'm a
horrible mother for not holding my children and staring at them for all hours
of the days.
She was amazing. She helped rock my colicky baby so I could
take a shower or play with my oldest. Twelve hours of help, all the other hours it
was on me.
You could find a neighborhood 10-year-old and pay her $5 an
hour: 12 times five is $60. Cut out your daily latte from Starbucks and, bam, you
have some help. Yes, you can hire help for that cheap. I have done it. I have a
sweet 10-year-old girl come over and play with my two youngest on Saturdays, so I can clean the house. Her mom
didn't want me to pay her more then $3, she'd sit for, like, three-hour increments.
It helped our weekends tremendously.
I also had a great place to call and ask breatfeeding
questions—the Pump Station. I called them all three times I had newborns.
Sure, I could have done this all alone, but it would have become toxic.
This last time, though, with my third child, I registered hardcore for
I got a full-time nanny. We worked in tandem, and she helped us tremendously.
Nannies are very expensive. In hindsight, I wish I had
actually had a live-in—someone told me they are less expensive (strange as
My kids are now 8, 5 and 3, and I'm out of the woods. No more nanny. Just my husband, myself and the three kids. Still no family in town, but I count my friends as family, so
I have people to call when we take trips to the ER.
I know some women who won't
ever ask for help. I think they think they are better then me. It's actually almost rude.
I know people want to be helpful. I had so many parents I
didn't even know deliver food after our second was born. It's in our nature. I
accepted their offers, as I know it makes them feel good. I, too, love helping new moms out. Cleaning their kitchen, holding their baby while they take a
shower, bringing them food.
Think about the aftercare you have planned for yourself once
your baby comes.
Sure, I could have done this all alone, but it would have
become toxic. Register and allow yourself to receive help after your baby
arrives. It's by far my biggest, most urgent piece of advice to new moms. It's what I can't believe I
never allowed myself to have with my first.