Friday, January 13, 2012

Support System

Today, the bloggity blog is being featured on Table For Four. Thanks to Nicole for asking me to write a little something for her fun blog! Here is my post:

Before my family moved to California a few months ago, 2500 miles away from all of our friends and relatives, I accepted very little help when it came to my daughters. Sure, I took my mother in law up on babysitting every 8 weeks or so while I got my hair done, but I never took advantage of the free childcare for the 22 months that I had it. To be honest, I never thought I needed it. I stay at home with my girls and using a babysitter seemed like I was abusing the system a little. I mean, watching the kids was my job after all. Letting someone else watch them made me feel a little guilty. Plus, it feels awkward to accept help when it comes to my kids. I feel like I should do it all, all the time.

Then I moved to the other side of the country. I found myself with no mother in law, no mom, no grandmother or sisters in law or best friends close by to help with my girls. I sort of panicked. Who would be available for my hair appointments or, God forbid, when I got sick? Who would I call when I ran out of milk and needed someone to drop some off? I suddenly realized that the support system I took for granted back home was really an essential part of this whole parenting gig.

I did the only rational thing one could do when they find themselves in this predicament: I insisted that we move back home at once. Naturally, that didn't go over so well with JD. So, I prayed. I prayed for new friends that could be my California support system. Friends that could watch my kids when I am in a bind, friends to commiserate the terrible 2s with, friends to recommend pediatricians and grocery stores and kid-friendly places. And friends to be friends with, too.

Almost immediately, I made some friends and my support system was established. Having these women has made adjusting to our new life out here so much easier. I don't feel like I am completely alone each day. If I run out of milk or get sick, someone in my support system would have my back and come over. With milk. I have learned to treasure this help because most of the time, having a support system is not about the kids. It's about the mom. Sometimes the mom needs a break. Sometimes the mom needs to know that there are others who care enough about her to make themselves available to help out. Sometimes it is enough to know that there are people there to help, even if you don't need it.

So for the first time in my 26 months of motherhood, I am utilizing my support system. I now know the value of having people available to help a mama out. And not just for babysitting, but for encouragement and advice too. And fellowship. Sharing experiences is a huge part of the parenting journey. Having a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on is just as vital as having a trustworthy babysitter. That's what the support system is all about. And I have learned that having one and utilizing it makes all the difference in the world, whether you live near your family or 2500 miles away.

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