So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Here's my husband doing some dishes
Here’s my husband doing the dishes like a boss!

One Sunday afternoon before dinner with friends, I frenetically paced the kitchen finishing the prep work for dinner. Appearing to be strung out on meth, I washed dishes, scrubbed counters, tidied our office nook, and packed the kids’ lunches for the next day. When I slip into this state of crazy, there is no pause between shifting tasks. It never occurs to me to ask for help.

Most times when my husband sees me multi-tasking like a madwoman in the kitchen, he will offer to alleviate the burden. “What do you need help with?” he’ll ask. My husband is very capable (and ruggedly handsome), so you’d think I’d hand off a task or two to him; instead, I usually snap back that I’m fine. He’ll then retreat to another room to avoid being in my way in our tiny kitchen. Eventually, the juggle will become too much for me–something will boil over in my frantic clumsiness and anger moves in like a midwestern thunderstorm as I quickly forget my husband’s offer to help.

I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only woman who tries to take on the burden of parenting and running a home all on her own. Women are a strong, resilient breed of people. My mother and my grandmothers taught me the value of hard work by simply demonstrating it in their own homes. For much of my childhood, my mother worked an often difficult full-time job caring for adults with developmental disabilities. She managed to juggle long hours working with shuttling my brother and me to baseball, softball, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, football, and track; oftentimes she even coached us in these activities. On top of this, my mom cooked and cleaned and managed to have a social life. Much of me wants to emulate this work ethic for my own kids, but I’m learning there is also strength in asking for help. I’ve read a lot of blog posts, articles, and books lately calling for mothers, in particular, to help one another out. But wives, what if we relied on our husbands to help us? What could they do if we accepted their offer to help?

You see, I’m lying when I tell my husband that I’m fine, and he knows I’m lying because he is the one person in my life who knows me best. When I turn down his offers to help too many times, eventually he may stop offering. Perhaps my husband will begin to think he is not competent enough to help me. So why do I turn down his offers to help? For me, it’s 10% related to wanting to be strong and 90% due to the fact that I love control. It’s true. I like to be in control of how my floors are swept, how my kids are dressed, what we eat for meals, etc. Maybe you can relate. When I take a step back, though, and think about my need to control, I am ashamed at my narcissism. It is rather selfish (and ridiculous) of me to think that only I can cook meals or pack the kids’ lunches.

How would our homes change if we accepted our husband’s offers to help us? I know it’s difficult to let go of the control, but maybe we can look at life through a wider lens. Does it matter how our husband sweeps the floor if it ends up clean? Does our daughter’s hair have to be perfectly poised if she is healthy and happy? And what are we teaching our kids and husbands when we turn down these offers? What are we doing to our marriage? Accepting help from our spouse does not mean we are weak; rather, there seems to be a kind of quiet strength apparent in accepting help from others. This kind of strength will save us from multitasking meltdowns; it will teach our kids that it’s okay to ask for assistance, and it could strengthen our marriage as we achieve balance and learn to work together. 

Danielle Helzer

A former high school English teacher, Danielle now splits her time as a stay at home mom and a Writing Coach at a local community college. She is a wife and a new mother of two hilarious and resilient first-graders who she and her husband adopted from foster care. Danielle has a passion for writing and living purposefully. She enjoys listening to NPR, running, reading, music, sipping on coffee, making lists, and diversifying her collection of cat tchotchkes. You can find more of her writing about parenting, faith, teaching, and living at http://daniellehelzer.blogspot.com/. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter (@DMHelzer).

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading

The Truth about Puddle Jumpers and Toddler Drowning, From a Grieving Mom

In: Kids
Little boy in Puddle Jumper on waterslide

The very last video I have of my 3-year-old son, Levi, is of him bobbing up and down in a Puddle Jumper.  His little legs kicking underwater, his eyes the spitting image of his daddy, and his older sisters, his happy grin, and his little voice saying “Cheese!” This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later.  But this time, it was without the Puddle Jumper. I understand the sense of panic building inside you to avoid my story or read it just...

Keep Reading