I think any parent of multiple children, and certainly parents of multiples, will tell you that doing everyday tasks is no easy feat. A simple trip to the grocery store or even a preschool drop off with multiple children in tow can put you over the edge.
I used to think I could do it all. Or at least I tried. But the day that I admitted to myself that I needed a little extra help, my life changed forever.
It was a typical school day where I was struggling to get my four year old inside the building to drop him off at preschool while juggling twin two years old who were, like usual, not cooperating. My twins were screaming that they wanted out of the stroller and my preschooler was dragging his bag behind him and shuffling his feet along at a turtle’s pace. Per usual, we were running late and looked like a spectacle. It’s funny how “mom tricks” emerge when you have no choice but to figure out how to open a door without the use of your hands while pushing 60 pounds of baby and ushering your preschooler in close behind. I managed to get us through the door by pushing the automatic opener with my foot, holding the door open with my leg while I shimmied the stroller through the doorway sideways, all the while the other moms just stared at me like I was a traveling circus.
After finally entering the building, my twins promptly escaped from their stroller and ran in opposite directions. One twin ran toward the back emergency exit door and the other bolted for the stairs. So naturally I started running through the school and magically grew octopus arms so I could gather up all of my wandering children.
When I finally arrived at the classroom door, sweat ran down my face and tears filled my eyes. I looked at the preschool teacher and broke. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was exhausted and needed help. I told her that I loved the preschool and wanted my son to continue to attend; however, I was not sure how I was going to be able to get him into the building. Walking through a doorway and down a hallway was just too much at that moment in my life. What should be an easy step to the day was suddenly debilitating to me. I waved my white flag in the air and threw my “twins card” down on the table.
And then an amazing thing happened.
As soon as I admitted that I couldn’t it all by myself, the offers for help started pouring in.
It turns out the other moms I thought were staring at me in judgment were actually staring at me in awe. They saw me wrangle my kids into the building using only my legs and were intimidated. But they were also happy to help.
Soon after I had fellow preschool moms sit in my car with the twins while I ran inside, others would bring my 4 year old into school with their children and drop him off at his class. I had teachers who met my son at the door and also walked him out to my car after class. I no longer had to unload the troops. People would even ask me to “carpool” with them —with the intention of always driving. I understand that carpooling is not when only one-parent drives, but that was the only option that worked for me at the time, and that was ok.
Why is it so hard to ask for help? Only when I accepted the fact that I needed help from other people, did my days suddenly become easier. It allowed me to be ok with this phase of my life, because yes, it was simply a phase. What felt like “the rest of my life”, was only temporary. It allowed me to connect to other moms and not shut myself out. Having multiples can be isolating, but just sharing everyday experiences with other moms is really cathartic.
We are not in this alone, we are in this together.
All it took was for me to stop trying to do it all by myself all of the time and ask for help. It’s ok to get by with a little help from your friends…even if “friends” means anyone willing to help you out.