It is not my tendency to lean on others when I need a little help. Thank goodness there are times when I'm pushed above and beyond my maximum weight load. Because there is a very good lesson to be learned when we stop feeling the need to carry our burdens alone. Sometimes a little help from our friends (and/or family) lift us up, beyond and through moments where you simply can't find your way.
My specific lesson has come in the form of a daycare load and set of challenges that have had me pulling my hair out and quite literally ready to jump overboard. Most likely into shark infested waters, but I really didn't care.
I did everything I knew how to do, I thought of giving up and quitting, I faced things head on and then I asked for help.
My youngest son is on a brief hiatus between graduating from high school and setting off into the work world. The timing was perfect. He is not under any pressure from school or a job and seems pretty capable of lending a helping hand to a mom in need. He has been my right hand man within my daycare for most of his life, so he knows the ropes. No training was necessary. I asked if he would consider helping me out and it was an easy "yes" from him once he realized it was a paying proposition.
His first day was "Friday". Friday was the first day of the rest of our daycare lives, for as far as my eyes can see. My daycare is full to the brim. I have my maximum of preschool children and trust me, these maximums are in place for a very good reason.
A mom who has been on maternity leave went back to work on Monday. Her first born son continued to come to daycare three days a week throughout her maternity leave and his little brother has come for several "practise run" days. We usually have enough trial runs to help ease everyone through the transition of a new mom leaving her baby at daycare before the first day of work. We usually have a sense of "we will be okay" as we work out the kinks.
That didn't happen this time, despite the number of practise days we had. I was desperate. I didn't think I could do it. I talked to the mom, but not before I had a chance to talk with my son and offer him a temporary, part time job to help me get through the first several weeks. Thankfully he said yes, because I didn't have a very good fall-back plan if he had turned me down.
Friday was his first day. And he literally "saved the day" on so many levels. Not only did he lend a helping hand and an extra set of eyes and ears, but he calmed my new little one-year-old who I have not been able to calm myself. He offered me perspective, quiet suggestions and a sense of peace that calmed ME and helped me through the day. Not only that, but there were at least a few occasions where he saw the exact challenges that have me stumped. At one point, he simply said, "I don't even know what to say to that" with defeat in his voice, when one of the "attitudes" reared its ugly head. Then at the very end of the day, he said, "I only helped out 4-1/2 hours but I am physically tired!"
I simply felt validated. I wasn't making this stuff up. It IS hard, this work I do. The challenges I see are REAL, I'm not imagining this. And there IS a reason for my exhaustion.
I had so much energy at the end of my Friday that I actually went out and ran errands for the better part of the evening. I never EVER feel that way at the end of a day, let alone at the end of a week!
We were half way through our Monday and I was actually able to tell my son,"I've got it from here if you want to quit now" (I have tentatively "booked" him for three hours per day for the next three weeks). Friday, I asked him to stay a little bit longer three times, until he had worked an hour and a half beyond our agreed upon time span.
I am seeing the light again. There are issues I need to address but at least I can do so with a clearer understanding of my limits and "what is in the best interests of the child". My desperation level has levelled off and I think I'm ready for round three. And I just heard it drive up the driveway ...