June Cleaver-our standard to which mothers hold themselves to since the 50’s. She does it all, doesn’t she? She has an immaculate house, she is always dressed to the nines, raising perfect children in her perfect marriage. She did it all, why can’t I?
At some point around the era Leave it to Beaver aired, women were just finding their way in the corporate world. We wanted it all, didn’t we? The job, house, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. From the outside looking in she was “perfect.” Weird thing is that wasn’t real life. How on earth did that become our standard to which we judged our own life?
Since Leave it to Beaver is a make believe television series, we know that she, in fact, did not do it all. She had a makeup artist and a set designer. Her kids were actors acting perfectly. She had a stylist so she looked put together. The show aired for a total running time of less than an hour. She made no meals and did not wake up with any babies in the middle of the night.
Somewhere in the past 50 years, we have forgotten about the realities of family life and we all want to be June Cleaver. She’s not real and those expectations you set for yourself are not attainable. Something will be a miss. If you clean your house your kids will stay in their pajamas all day. If your kids are dressed and you’ve been playing with them your house will get messy. If you have a clean house and clothed kids you will be exhausted. Unless you accept help. I know, it’s with great intention that we want to be the best of the best and we don’t want others to see us at our worst, but that sets an unrealistic expectation that only makes it harder. Harder for us to get out of this mess we got ourselves into. Let’s pretend for a moment that (gasp) we accepted help or asked for help when we needed it.
Families and friends used to support each other and it really did take a village to raise a child. It still does! When a friend offers to clean your kitchen let them. It will give you time to do more important things like holding your baby. If your mom wants to come hold your baby let her. Go take a nap or a shower you know you need both. It is harder for us these days because often times our support system does not live next door anymore, they are in the trenches of raising babies too or you have said no thank you to their offers of help that they don’t offer anymore.
The fact of the matter is that there will be no other time in your life then you will need the most support than when you bring home a baby. You will be exhausted. You will be overwhelmed. You will be scared. You will question every decision you make. You need your people. You will need someone there to tell you-you can do it.
And the thing is if someone asks to help you-they benefit as well. Helping people, especially friends and family, gives us great joy. It’s the basis upon which that makes this country great. We all help each other because it makes us feel good too. Before you turn your friend away from helping you remember how it feels to help someone else and allow them that opportunity. In all reality, who doesn’t wish they had more help? We all do. It’s time for us change our mindset about allowing people to help. Let. Them. Help.