I don’t need a village but I do need help


helpI’ve never been very good at accepting help. Possibly because I often find ‘help’ more of a ‘hindrance’, if you know what I mean. And I’ve never really needed a great deal of help – well certainly not before I had children and not in the early stages of parenthood.

When my first baby was born, I remember the strongest piece of advice in all the baby books was to leave the washing and the cleaning up. Never, I thought. I don’t like mess. Fortunately I had a baby that slept for long periods at a time. So, in addition to attending to her needs I was also able to go on long walks, do pilates, cook the dinner, bake sweets and clean the house. People would kindly say, “Just sing out if you need any help”. But, I didn’t. I was lucky in some ways, well organised in other ways, and pig-headed in further ways!

When my second child came along, I got quite a rude shock. Those small gaps of “free” time were swallowed up the moment she was born. She was a serial cat napper. And when she was awake, she was unhappy. It was the antithesis to my first experience. She demanded my attention all day long. There was no time for cleaning, little time for cooking and certainly no time for leisurely walks or baking. But still I didn’t like accepting help. So I became very tolerant of mess and chaos.

“Why don’t you put them in childcare?”, “Get a nanny”, and “Hire a cleaner”, the suggestions flowed. But I ploughed along. I was lucky that my mother-in-law looked after my girls once a week if she could and this was a godsend. But sometimes she went away, on long holidays for up to seven weeks!

When my third daughter was born, two years ago, life got messier and busier. Having three kids in less than three years will do that to your life. I got accustomed to living in a continuum of chaos. But then I made a change. My saviour came in the form of these two words: Occasional care.

Miss J and Miss H go to a wonderful and warm neighbourhood house once a week. It allows me time to drink a coffee in peace, clean up some of the mess (I say “some”) and recharge…. a little. It also gives me one-on-one time with Miss A, which is a highlight of my week. It is “help” and I like it.

The old adage “It takes a village to raise a child” has merit but who has access to a village.? I don’t think I need a village but an extra pair of hands, now THAT I can definitely embrace. So, things are changing around here. I am accepting help. Not only that, I am seeking help.

On my To Do list is the following:

* Hire a nanny/babysitter to look after my girls for half a day each week, thereby allowing me to escape to the library to do work.

* Ask my lovely MIL if she will look after my girls one morning a week so I can do a Cardio tennis workout for an hour with a friend.

* Pay a baby sitter once a month so I can go out on a date with hubby or out to dinner with friends.

* Investigate getting a cleaner once a fortnight. Still in two minds about this one as technically I can spot clean during naps, at night-time and on weekends. But gosh it would be nice to open the front door to a neat house….

How about you? Do you get much help? Are you good at accepting help or do you prefer to do it all yourself?


  1. says

    I find ‘help’ more of a hinderance too! I would much prefer to do everything myself and be in control. In saying this, I don’t have kids! I am sure I will find myself at the point you’re at now, when I eventually have children. Good luck!

  2. says

    I have the great luck of, as well as the support of, my other half. While I am not a “dirty” person, compared to him I am! I have not cleaned the shower since we moved into our house 7&1/2 years ago, and think I have done the vacuuming twice! Let us just say we work to our natural strengths – I am not a complete lazy bum!!

  3. says

    Oh my goodness, can I borrow your other half?! My hubby is not terribly messy himself but he can tolerate a lot more mess than I can (i.e dust, sticky floors, stick surfaces)! Yes, you play to your strengths in a relationship and sounds like your hubby is going for gold!! Awesome :-)

  4. says

    Good on you! If you guys can afford the cleaner then I say do it. You can use that time for other things I’m sure. I used to always have one as a professional pre kids as I was working all the time and I was damned if I was going to clean on my weekends (oh weekends lol). It wasn’t that expensive and was the best money I ever spent. If I had 3 kids, maybe even with 2, I’d seriously consider it!!!

  5. says

    Thanks Rach! I think you’re right and I am sure I won’t look back. I regret getting a cleaner – said no one EVER! By the way, nice to hear from you xx

  6. sallywilson1 says

    Living away from family, I fantasised about help for many years! Luckily my first bub was also pretty chilled and I didn’t feel I needed too much help, and my fantastic mothers group and Playgroup gave me a social network and friends to call if I needed a babysitter. But after bub no 2 we got a cleaner (I highly recommend it) and my oldest started daycare two days a week (so I could work from home). My husband works very long hours, so when bub no 3 came along we had a nanny two afternoons a week. Now we are back living close to family and that “village” is out and in full force and I love it – I can go to the dentist or hairdresser on my own during the week. Heaven! And now no 3 goes to occasional care one day a week, which is a godsend. And I’m a much better mum for it! Am now a huge fan of help!

    • says

      Hi Sally. Sounds like you had good sense to get a cleaner once bubba no. 2 arrived! It must have been so hard living away from your family. A nanny a couple of afternoons a week sounds like a good option. I am considering something similar here so that I can do some work. It’s wonderful that you can say you feel like a better mum for the help you receive. There’s really no point battling along, doing everything solo, if it’s going to make you miserable. Happy mum = happy kids and sounds like you’ve struck the perfect balance. Thanks so much for sharing :-)

  7. Belinda Easton says

    Hey Michaela, Just read your post and I have a brilliant nanny and cleaner who you would not only trust but love having her in your life. The kids would adore her too. Let me know if you wanted her details. She is super busy but may have some availability. :-) Bel