It takes a village to raise a child, but I never realized how much I depended on my village until I couldn’t use them.
During this pandemic, we took social distancing seriously which meant my chidden didn’t see their grandparents for a while … which also means I didn’t get a break. Like most people, I had to work from home with no childcare. Sometimes that meant throwing goldfish at my children and taking phone calls in the closet, writing madly while the toddler napped, and working late into every evening after putting the kids to bed or having my daughter interrupt zoom calls because she needed me to change the channel.
But mostly it meant I felt guilty. I couldn’t give my children all the attention they deserved (and frankly, craved) and it meant I couldn’t give my job 100 per cent either. My five-year-old daughter got extra screen time and she was also asked to occupy the toddler many times. I’m happy to sort of start to slide into a bit of normality and I’m happy to have help again.
Raising children is hard, especially when you have little ones that need constant attention. Little ones often don’t sleep through the night making it hard to function on little sleep. I never truly appreciated the help I got from my extended family until I had to live without them. I’m grateful to be able to use their babysitting services again. I know I’m not alone in this. A friend recently posted on Facebook that she’s tired of babysitting her parents’ grandkids.
Needing help or asking for help doesn’t make you a bad parent. This is advice I’m still trying to take myself. It’s hard. You want to do it all. You want to be supermom. But at the end of the day, there’s nothing super about a burnt-out parent. Plus there are so many wonderful benefits of your kids having a good relationship with your parents, or in-laws. Including them learning skills you don’t have, passing along traditions and getting extra love.
Also, Grandparents who babysit grandkids live longer than same age adults without child-rearing responsibilities, according to recent research. A different study shows that babysitting grandchildren may actually help prevent Alzheimer’s disease by increasing brain function and memory. In addition to boosting brainpower, babysitting has been linked to decreased rates of depression. So really, you are doing your parents a favour by dumping your kids on them every once in a while.