How to accept help in 100 easy steps.


Jose and I finally had our very first night away. I know, I know, I’ve been hyping this thing up for weeks. The preparation for our little getaway seriously occupied my mind non-stop right to the last minute. I wrote a 4-page manifesto for Jose’s mum, cooked every meal in advance, cleaned the house, the sheets, the towels, the dog, laid out all of the babe’s clothes. I wanted Tomoko to be responsible for as little as possible while also, honestly, leaving the appearance that I have my shit together on the regular. Of course my prepped meals were barely touched and my outfit choices had all been neglected. Sigh. Maybe next time I won’t try quite so hard.

Here’s the good news: as far as I can tell, Leni isn’t mad at me for taking a night off and the world as I know it didn’t implode! Yay!

I mean, of course it was fine, right? It probably looked a little different from the way I do things, but that’s ok. It used to be really hard to accept the kind of help I probably needed—be it from her grandparents or even from her father. No one could do it quite like me so to hell with time for myself, give me the baby!

The thing is, I know I’m far from perfect as a mother. Actually, I’m pretty sure I don’t know what the heck I’m doing most of time. It’s just that I’ve spent the majority of my waking hours since L was born studying her every move, adapting to each new stage and honing in on what works best for us. For that reason, letting go has been a bit of a process.

It took time to stop micromanaging everything. Ok so I doubt I’ll ever stop my over-planning and list-making—I’m learning it’s just who I am as a mum. The planning itself is what helps me walk away knowing I made it as easy as I could for the person I’ve left in charge. I’m setting us up for success, if you will. Where I have changed is in my ability to relax while someone else is caring for the babe. I believe this is called trust.

Getting to this point took some commitment and a fair bit of practice, mind you. It started with an agonizing 15 minutes while Jose and I walked the dog one week after L was born. That lead to the occasional night out after bedtime or a daytime break here and there between nursing and naps. Later, I graduated to some bi-weekly gym breaks courtesy of my mother-in-law, some even overlapping naps or requiring some pumped milk. Like, we’re talking serious baby steps here. And it was always fine. Always.

And I was able to let go just a teensy bit more each time.

So here we are. I’ve survived my first full night “off” and, frankly, it was a huge relief. In fact, my next night away is already booked!

I think I might be getting the hang of this…

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