Don’t ask. Just help.

don't ask just helpWhen Kiwi was a few months old, a friend texted me.

“I’m coming over. Be there in 15.”

I was a little surprised—we’d met a month or two earlier in moms’ group, and our babies were mere weeks apart, so we didn’t know each other terribly well. I didn’t really know what to expect.

When she arrived, I welcomed her into my home, trying not to think of the dog hair tumbleweeds and last night’s dinner-coated dishes still on the counter.

“I’m here to guerrilla help,” she said, stepping inside. “You never take me up on my offers to help. But here I am.”

She set down her baby, who was sleeping in her car seat, and asked if I’d rather she do a load of laundry or scrub my shower.

Seriously.

She ended up bouncing Kiwi, who woke up from a two-minute nap and refused to go back to sleep. But that was a bigger help than battling shower scum to a harried, exhausted, desperate mother who spent nearly every minute of the day trying to get a baby to sleep.

My friend did something special that day. She rescued me from one more attempt to bounce my baby to sleep—the time that may have pushed me over the edge. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She showed up when even I didn’t know I needed her. She lived what should be the international mother’s motto: Don’t ask. Just help.  Read more

Filling my bucket: A kids-free beach weekend

In the depths of winter, when every day as a mom of two felt too hard to endure, I had this kids-free fantasy: I’d check into a hotel, I’d lie down in the king size bed, and there would be no one there to touch me. I would take a shower and eat a meal someone else cooked. Maybe I’d watch some TV. But mainly I’d be away.

The fantasy always felt cruel because it seemed utterly unattainable. I had a toddler who cried whenever I picked up my baby. I had a baby who was often in pain from reflux, who hardly slept, and who wouldn’t take a bottle. Even though we had the means to pay for a hotel for a night, I couldn’t go.

I felt trapped.

I remembered this fantasy a few weeks ago when—wait for it—I spent an entire kids-free weekend at the beach with friends.

I remembered the pain, the desperation, the dark hopelessness of those teary days. But the memory didn’t sting like a fresh cut; rather, it was an ache of a more distant pain. And the salt water of the Oregon coast helped heal me.Girlfriends kids-free beach weekend minivan Read more