What is not 'help'

Warning: Bit of a rant coming up. Not my usual style but it is something I have been thinking about recently.

A post about what 'help' is not actually help, especially where babies/almost babies/young children are concerned.

It is not 'help' to look after child when child is clean, fed, happy so that mum can 'rest'. Mum probably wants to spend that time with her child herself. Help would be to prepare food for child, feed child, change child, take unsettled child for a walk (though a mother's instinct may prevent unsettled child from being removed from her care!)

It is not 'help' to remove happy, clean, fed, young child from mother so mother can do housework. Ok, so maybe it might be. But it would be more helpful to do the housework.

It is not 'help' to facilitate the removal child and husband at weekends so mum can 'rest'. Mum probably wants to spend that precious time with husband and child. It would be better to do this during the week when there is not any extra help at home.

It is not 'help' to invite mum, dad and child round and then largely ignore mum while taking child off and call it 'giving her a break' while mum sits and feels useless.

It is not 'help' to only help on your terms and when it is convenient and suits you. Of course, both sides need to be flexible, but there is no point in giving the help if getting to that point just increases the stress and hassle for mum. Kind of defeats the object somewhat.

It is not 'help' to do what you think needs doing. It is far more useful to ask! 'Yes, thank you for cleaning the tops of my cupboards/pruning trees/alpabetising my CD collection, but ironing my husbands shirts/cleaning the bathroom/making some meals for the freezer would have been far more useful to me'.

In fact, in most cases, it is not 'help' to remove child from mum. Sometimes it would be nice for both mum and child to have a break from each other, but only occasionally.

What would really help mum is the following:
1. The occasional meal being prepared and put in the freezer.
2. The occasional housework being done without comment.
3. Entertaining the child(ren) but also handing them back in the same clean, happy, fed state they were left in.
4. Being given some daylight time alone with her husband.
5. Realising that weekends are precious family times, and it is the week days that are the ones that the help is most appreciated on!

I realise that this post could come across as ungrateful and perhaps I am just being so. But I know that if I was wanting to help someone out, I'd rather do something they'd really appreciate and will make a difference if only for a short time, rather than do what I think is best for them. But at the end of the day, any help is better than none at all.


Liz said…
You should write a book... I realise you can't do that now, but please don't delete your blog before I get the chance to have children (which won't happen any time soon!) :-) x