In the weeks leading up to the birth of my twins, I got increasingly nervous. How in the world was I ever going to manage caring for two newborn twins while also recovering from a c-section. My husband could only take a few days off from work (could have taken more unpaid, but that wasn’t a great option for us), and I was freaking out about being on my own just 5 days after coming home with our babies. I knew that I’d need help, but all of my family lives hundreds of miles away. My in-laws live just 15 minutes away, but I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of having them around all the time either. They are in their 70’s and 80’s, not as able-bodied as they used to be, and have a very, very different philosophy about how newborns should be cared for.
But as soon as I got myself all worked up about not having enough help, I suddenly started hearing from baby-loving friends, neighbors, and colleagues who wanted to help out with whatever they could once the babies arrived. It was great to know that I now had people who wanted to help, but I was worried that they would all show up at the same time and knew that I needed to find a way to manage all the offers.
After researching a bit, we decided to use the Lotsa Helping Hands website to organize all the helpers we had, as well as all the things we wanted help with. It was fabulous. All I had to do was email the link for our site to those who’d volunteered to be of support, and they could sign themselves up as a helper. I listed dates and times for meal deliveries, baby care, rides needed for appointments and such, and our wonderful volunteers would sign up to help with whatever tasks they were able to to. Best of all, I didn’t feel like I needed to specifically ask any one person for help.
Our Lotsa Helping Hands community definitely played a huge part in saving my sanity during those first few weeks of parenthood. We used this site for roughly the first three months after Tiny and Buba were born, and then our need for it gradually faded away. But I wish I had this type of community set up all the time. Especially last week when I was really sick and struggling to manage caring for myself and caring for my now two-year-old twins. My mind drifted back to those Helping Hands days, and I thought How awesome would it be to be able to post Childcare Needed 9am-12pm and have someone magically appear just so I could take a nap.
So how did you manage those early days with your newborns? Did you have tons and tons of help or get by mostly on your own? And what, if any, supports do you still have in place for times when you need a helping hand with your older babies, toddlers, or preschoolers?