How do I do it?
I don't do it alone. That is for sure. Either emotionally or logistically. It has taken me a while to get here but I ask for help. In doing so, I actually realized that I have a tremendous amount of resources. Friends that are willing to help out. And these many hands and hearts lighten my load. They take a kid or two. They pick up one from school and drop him home when I feel like I am dying. They drop off milk when I canNOT put them all in the car one more time. They check in when I have been quiet. (It's not only the times that someone is venting or crying that you need to worry. It's the times when they get uncharacteristically quiet. When it has gone beyond needing a day or two and into a bit of a downdraft. That is when you check in.) I have friends who check in and stay or go as requested. That is love and care.
There is a group of four high school girls that I was privileged to meet through a friend. She is a teacher who lives in town and asked her classes if anyone was interested in being a mother's helper. It was brilliant. I got kids interested in some cash and who were already vetted by someone I trusted. They are all great with the kids and well worth the money I spend. It is good for ALL of us and sometimes it is the only thing that gets us through to bedtime. Half of our group are going into their Senior year. But that means we have them for another year and summers. The other two are even younger which is even better for us. You lot know how I like to collect people. These girls? They keep me sane. They play the games and wrangle the kids and let me make phone calls in peace. I would pay their rate 10 times over.
I have some business groups that I am in through Facebook and Instagram. I have met women that I respect, trust and admire. They check in to make sure my businesses are moving forward. That I am able to get the time in and that I am working on my SMART goals. They check in emotionally, too. Some are divorced. Many have kids. It's an interesting thing, raising businesses and babies. These women have become my colleagues and my confidantes. They know things that some close friends don't. Some are business related and some are life related. There is no judgment. There is sometimes freedom in telling it all to someone who is a little distant but who still gets it.
I have my kids. Yes, they are one of the parts that make it hard. But they are also the part that is the most rewarding. They are the sweet and the sour. They are the challenge and the reward. They have held me up on days I could not do it myself. They have urged me out of bed on days when I could have lounged it away. They make me laugh and they make me know that of all that has happened, I do have everything I ever wanted. And that I am not alone. I am NEVER alone. Never. Ever. Ever ever ever. Haha. But, seriously, not even in the bathroom. But that is also how I make it through. Because I know I am never alone. I don't have to do it alone. Nobody expects me to.
Know somebody in my situation? You know what you can do? Have a pizza night with them. So they have adult company and food they don't have to cook and other kids to entertain theirs. If you are running to the store? Ask if they need anything. Milk, bread, eggs, wine. Whatever. Could they get there? Sure. Is there something magical about milk showing up at your door without having to schlep three kids to the store? Oh, hell yes. Offer to take a kid, or two, for a playdate. The kids need the space as much as the parent. It is good for everyone. And just check in. There is a weird component of shame (maybe) and fear and defiance (I WILL do this myself) in this situation. Check in. To listen or help or just sit quietly with them. They don't have to do it alone but they just might if you don't lend a hand and it does take a village. To raise the parents, too.