I recently had some family visit and spent a lot of time with them. It was great for them to meet my newest daughter, and wonderful for my oldest daughter to see family again. My husband couldn’t take off from work for the first week of their visit, so it was just the girls and I driving to Kahala every day for the entire day. It was very interesting to watch my family trying to jump to my assistance whenever I tried to do anything
It was about the third day before one of my aunts stopped mid action (I can’t remember if she was changing the baby, making the oldest a sandwich, or helping me get stuff to the car) and said, “Man, it’s a good thing you are so independent! I never would have been this calm and collected alone with two babies!”
That stopped me. I mean, I knew I was independent – I always have been. But I hadn’t thought about it in relation to being a parent.
I did notice that after the aquarium when my uncle and cousin tried to help me load the girls and their stuff back in the car, I did it myself. And every time we arrived at and left the house they were renting, I was greeted and escorted by people asking what they could do despite my protests of being able to get everything. When we hiked Makapu’u, my uncle took the stroller amid my complaints and my aunts walked with Cailin.
It was very odd.
It’s not that my husband isn’t helpful – believe me, he’s great. He does everything he can to help me with the girls. But he’s so busy, works such long hours, and is randomly gone on trips that he’s just not here much. So when the girls and I go places, normally it is just me and the girls. I’m the one who has to make sure that we have everything needed for both of them – diapers, wipes, change of clothes, soccer ball, ballet outfit, bathing suit, sunscreen, etc. I have to make it fit nicely in the car. I’m the one who has to lug all that wherever we are going. I have to get it all out of the car and to wherever in one trip. While it’s only been two months that I’ve been doing this with Madelyn, I’ve been playing this game with Cailin for quite some time.
And I’m used to it. I got it. I CAN DO IT.
Apparently, not only can I do it, but I don’t accept help gracefully. My uncle at one point said something along the lines of, ‘Let me put the damn stroller in the car before I get yelled at for not helping you again!’ Oh. Ok. It’s not a bad thing to accept help – I am just not used to it.
Which left me wondering – was it so hard for me because I’m just very independent, or because I’m married to a Marine? What do you think?