Answer: I have a LOT of help.
I was intrigued when I was contacted by Campbell Canada about their #theMotherhood promotion. I love the idea of honouring the village of people who help us to raise our children - specifically my own daughters. I'd like to think I'm a decent mom, and part of that is outsourcing and embracing all of the love and assistance available to me!
- My husband. For some that would go without saying, but from what I hear, in some homes having Daddy's help isn't a given. Too bad my girls' loving father doesn't like to be discussed on the blog because this would be a great opportunity to give him some attention.
Then there are my parents. I could write posts and posts about everything they do to support me as a mom.
- First, my Dad. He had already retired from teaching when my oldest was born, and he often made the 40 minute drive to come up and hold his first grandchild so I could take a nap or a shower, or meet me at doctor's appointments. I vividly remember him giving me some perspective as I sobbed at the portrait studio because my three-month-old cried through her first official photo shoot. We returned an hour later and settled for some pictures of the little "angel" asleep instead. Nine years later, Dad is still quick to come and help us around the house and offer yard advice and assistance, and has passed on his love of the Montreal Canadiens to another generation.
- My Mom is not only there for regular advice and inspiration, but also for the practical things - helping organize my class retreat to take some pressure off, putting together my flower pots each busy springtime, going on class trips and volunteering in the girls' classrooms, and taking them for visits and sleepovers when we have other commitments. I truly don't think I could do it without her.
- My Grandma: She is a wonderful support, even embracing technology to be able to follow me online and text me compliments...and she thinks I'm always right! My girls adore their Great Grandma (they call her GG...GiGi...GeeGee...we can't figure out which way to spell it) and who else would teach them to knit? (Okay, fine, she even sews my buttons for me!)
- Our beloved babysitters: I am not ashamed to say that we started leaving our firstborn with a teenage babysitter when she was three months old, but be assured that she was no average teenager. The babysitters we've had for our girls over the years have all been incredible, and our daughters never, ever cried or complained when we left them. I like to joke that we helped put our first sitter through university (of course now she's an amazing teacher, no surprise) because we hired her so often. Getting out without the kids sometimes is one of the best ways to stay refreshed as a mom, and having couple time to strengthen your relationship is a gift to your kids as well (at least that's how I argue it). This wouldn't have been possible without the amazing young women we welcomed into our home. The babysitting category also includes daycare, and we have been incredibly blessed to be able to take advantage of my husband's sister's home daycare. Since I returned to work for the first time, when my daughter was almost a year old, my sister-in-law has been lovingly looking after our most precious assets. (The other day the girls were trying to convince me to give them a sibling, and argued "If you can't take care of it, Aunt Rose will!") Knowing that we could leave our daughters with someone who loved them like her own made it so much easier to devote my days to my students.
- Teachers: Let's be honest - during the week, they're spending more waking hours with the kids than I am, and their beloved teachers have such a huge impact on their development. Plus, they give my girls some extra TLC, since they're much nicer about handing out band aids and ice than I am! When I value education so strongly, it's a relief to know that they're in excellent hands (and I do have insider information, considering I work with their teachers!) You know the school is doing something right when the girls were looking like this on the first day:
- As I fear leaving anyone out, I also want to acknowledge my friends (several of whom are also my sisters-in-law) and coworkers who give me parenting advice (or, just as importantly, keep me company when I'm on a break from parenting) and while it may seem like indirect support, I wouldn't be the mother I am without a fantastic cleaning lady and a wonderful massage therapist too!
Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Campbell Canada. Opinions are, as always, my own.