So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

At a recent kiddie party, while discussing the challenges of raising four littles, a fellow Mom asked: “Do you guys have help?” To which I replied, “No,” as in my mind, “help” is what I would request of someone to assist in something I’d rather someone else do, like clean my house, provide nanny services, etc. 

By definition, “help” is “[making] it easier for (someone) to do something by offering one’s services or resources.” 

Another parent was listening in, and quickly jumped on me stating, “Yes you do, you have your husband!” in a snippy tone, insinuating I lied and should shush up. It felt gross and dismissive. But got me thinking about why it didn’t sit right with me.  To which I would like to respond:

First, having open conversations about the challenges of parenting is necessary and healthy. Silencing me in the middle of a private conversation was inappropriate. Second, my husband is not helping me. He is not providing his “services” to parenting any more than I am as the mother. What he is doing is honoring me, us and our family. He’s committing to all the things it takes to make this family function. He’s being what a father should be – a family man who demonstrates every day that his participation in our family didn’t end at the point of conception. Who acknowledges that each of us have a role in raising little humans, and whose importance in making a meaningful contribution extends beyond the monetary contribution he provides to our brood. Who has a woman in his life who sees his value as a man and father and gives him the confidence to show his strengths in those roles. Who married a woman with her own dreams and aspirations, and by parenting along side me, and sharing this mother-load, makes room for both of us to realize them. Who knows he’s modeling to our sons and daughter what it means to be an active contributor in making the heart of our family beat. Who does not treat me like a second-class citizen in my own home, expecting me to do all the “unpaid” and, what I find, mind-numbing domestic work (laundry, chauffeuring, dishes, etc.) of family management myself. Who understands, wholeheartedly, that parenting is a partnership and best undertaken as a team.

Parenting is not meant to be a solo journey. I know many of you do it (either by choice or by circumstance) and I have the deepest respect and admiration for your strength and resiliency. Some of you get your bliss from domestic duties and managing all the family stuff, happy to be the sole commander of the ship. 

I admire your choice. 

There are times I wish I had more enthusiasm for many of the tasks that amplify when children enter the picture. No judgement, all support over here. Sail on Sister! But this is not about who does what, who has it worse, who is parenting harder and it’s surely not about who does more.  

I don’t think the responsibilities and lists would ever be even anyway. It is about normalizing involved Dads. We need to remove “help” from describing a father’s involvement in family life. Fathers add significant value to the overall well being of the unit. Our children deserve the affections of both parents. We need to hold dads to the same standard of significance as we do mothers. His role should not be implied voluntary, and a mother’s mandatory. Parenting is a partnership in every way, shape and form. It’s a follow through on the planning that two individuals made to bring life to the world. 

Study after study shows the importance of fathers in their child’s upbringing. While our social systems have implemented measures to support this by introducing paternity leave, there still lies the hidden disapproval in many industries and corporations of a man taking extended time to be a father and a contributor in those early days of parenting. Many men feel this underlying condemnation of requesting time off and still bypass this wonderful bonding opportunity out of fear of dismissal upon return. This is shameful. Progress needs to be made here.

And it starts with not making mothers with hands-on partners be made to feel lucky. I am grateful for many things – a role model for my sons who may one day become father’s themselves, a male figure for my daughter who demonstrates what it means to honor a wife and be equally engaged in the rearing aspect of family life. I’m grateful that my spouse lives up to the “honor” and “cherish” sentiments we both stated in our vows and is a true, life partner in every facet of our journey. I’m grateful that our children will benefit and thrive from the love and affections of BOTH of their parents. But I don’t have to roll out the red carpet to the fact he’s parenting, anymore than he should feel gratitude that I stepped up and embraced my mothering role wholeheartedly as well. The choice to become a mother often means putting off career growth, surrendering to the mental and physical roller coaster of pregnancy, unruly hormones and radical body changes, and then being expected to perform at a level of super-human no one other than mothers understand, but many unrightfully judge. Having an involved partner helps relieve the load, yes, but he’s not helping me. He’s enabling a well-functioning “we.”

And though hands on fathering and home management has not always been the norm, that is not justification for continuing the way things have been. Women are redefining what it means to be a contributor to society, and, for many, it extends beyond her capacity to bear children and maintain a home. As before, but increasingly so, women are trailblazing, finding ways to pursue their passions, while still being phenomenal mothers. Except the unique gender difference is when a woman works, she’s expected to still mother as if she doesn’t, and work as if she isn’t a mother. That level of expectation is unhealthy, unsustainable and burning women out.  Inadequacy in all their roles at its peak. 

So, respectfully, please refrain from saying he’s “helping” me. It implies that I seek out his assistance for something I can’t do myself and that he’s doing me a favor. I can do it all myself. I just don’t agree with that level of expectation. Our household keeps afloat because we’re sharing the load and support one another as partners in parenting – our children benefiting from the love and affections of two parents who appreciate that dynamic in each other. And even with us both participating, parenting is still incredibly challenging.  SOS!

You May Also Like: For All The Husband Who Want To Get Laid Tonight

Sonya Kerr

Sonya Kerr is a modern, Canadian Mom of 4 kids under 8 years of age, Co-Managing the mayhem of large family-living with her high school sweetie. On temporary leave from her full-time job in Public Service, she's also a Writer + Content Creator + Blogger at http://houseofkerrs.com/. She's embracing Hockey Mom-hood, and making time for some inspiration and solitude seeking on the side. Her Mama Mantra: mind your own mothering. Be still and find your Mama wisdom and strength. Your journey is unique.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections