Not matter your political leanings, nothing can be truer than the words that Hillary Rodham Clinton became famous for some fifteen years ago. It truly takes a village to raise a child. No matter what Bob Dole said about it.
My interpretation of her famous phrase is slightly different though. To me, I look at it as a way to make it ok to need help. To ask for help.
And that is truly one of the hardest lessons to swallow sometimes. Asking for help.
When I was younger, married, and Nick was just a few years old, I always wanted to be that parent (which is slightly different than this that parent). The one that seemingly had it all together. Balancing work, family, home with the ease of a walk in the park. I can be Super Woman. I can do it all. No doubt.
But at what price? Extra stress? Less sleep? Reduced levels of patience?
No, thank you.
It truly wasn’t until I separated from my (then) husband that I realized I couldn’t. I mean, well, in theory I could. But I wasn’t willing to do it at the cost it came with.
And so little by little, if people offered help, I took it. It started with baby steps. If someone was coming over for dinner and asked what they could bring, I suggested something. Instead of saying “nothing.” Easy enough. Dipping my toes in the water. Seeing how it felt.
And you know what? It felt fine.
Whether you’re a parent or not. Whether you’re the mom of a German Shepherd or a two-year-old or a succulent plant on your kitchen window sill. No matter your lot in life.
It’s ok to ask for help.
We are all in this together.
We schedule car pools to lessen the burden. Pick up extra items at a grocery store that we know someone needs. Watch each other’s kids to save a few bucks on babysitting. Drop off dinner just because.
We have each others’ backs.
Sometimes there is nothing greater than the people you can lean on in your friends and family network. Who can you call at 1 am when you need help? Those are your villagers. Your people.
Over the past few weeks in particular, there has been a lot of village raising. Last week it meant a bottle of wine and an ear for a friend that is going through a particularly difficult and messy time. I offered some words of wisdom, and a phone number or two, and did what I could. It’s not enough, but enough for that Friday night.
A friend’s Dad recently died, so this weekend, it will mean cooking up a dinner so she doesn’t have to think about feeding her kids during her trials.
And last night, it was watching friends’ kids so they could visit an immediate family member who is in the hospital.
Ask. Give. Some days you’ll be on the giving end. Some days, the receiving. It’s all ok. And when it comes to kids, I think it’s always pretty awesome knowing that my kids have pseudo extra parents out there. One friend texted me about kids’ sunglasses on sale today, and brought dessert to complete dinner at our house tonight. There’s always someone going that extra mile. Giving that extra pair of hands. Reminding you that you’re not alone.
Even though it sometimes feels like you are.
And trust me, I’m there with you.
With two extra little smiling faces at our dinner table last night, I wanted to keep the meal super kid-friendly. And I wanted to have the kids fed before they were picked up, to make it easier on their parents. I have the hardest time with side dishes at the dinner table. Salad or fresh fruit is a no-brainer, but vegetables are
sometimes always more challenging. I found this recipe for Cheesy Potato Fries on Pinterest (my vegetable board is here) and figured if the potatoes were a tough sell, the cheese might help a swing vote in my favor.
Truth be told, my kids want nothing to do with potatoes. Mashed, baked, double-stuffed, they want no part of it. They barely like french fries. But cheese? Maybe.
The cheesy potato fries were simple to make, and while I’m trying to avoid carbs at dinner, I couldn’t resist digging in myself. Even Mystic, who doesn’t like sour cream, went back for seconds.
Four little faces at the dinner table last night, and the littlest (at nearly three) actually ate the most. But each of them ate the potatoes.
And if you know kids, you know getting four kids to agree on the same food is almost like winning the lottery.
Well, it totally is.
The spud lottery.
So you can find the recipe here. Go make them. Share them with your villagers. Or your kids. Or just during a really good night of reality tv. I won’t tell.