Quick link: Momming Alone or Momming in Community

Have I ever mentioned how cool my family is? Or at least how cool the people my family married are? I’ve got pretty amazing cousins-in-law and today I’m guest posting on the site of Heather Estey, married to my cousin Kurt. Kurt used to take particular delight in messing up my highly poofy and highly hair-sprayed bangs at family birthday parties. This was the 80’s and those bangs were everything to me. Kurt totally married up.

bang-crusher cousin

bang-crusher cousin

Heather’s blog, The Welcoming House, features all things homey and home-made and I can’t believe she asked me about a guest post because I feel like the least homey, least home-makey person on the planet. In order to keep my family alive I learned how to cook. Finally. But other than that, if there is anything creative about my house, blame it on my husband and my oldest daughter. I also totally married up. Can I say I birthed up, too? Well I did.

And so today you will find Djibouti Jones in small-town Southern Minnesota, pretending to fit in and writing about one of the biggest things I’ve learned about being a mom. Here’s an excerpt:

I used to think that being a stay-at-home mother meant I had to do it all and that I had to do it all alone. After five years in the Horn of Africa, I knew that as a stay-at-home mother, I had to do more than ‘it all’ and that I would never do it all alone again.

Minnesota, 2000: Give birth to twins, one naturally and one via cesarean section. Keep twenty-second floor apartment clean. Cook meals. Lose baby weight. Breastfeed exclusively and on-demand even through pain and engorgement. Host the infinite number of guests coming to see, disturb, and wake the sleeping newborns. Change twenty diapers a day. Sleep. Eat. Shower.

Oh, and do it all by yourself. Don’t ask for help; don’t accept help when it is offered. You are the mom. You brought these infants into the world, it is your job to make sure they survive and thrive. They are your responsibility.

This was the job description I subconsciously wrote for myself as a new mother. Accepting help was like admitting my weakness and proving to the world that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. If I couldn’t handle infants how was I going to handle teenagers? This was my chance, these were my babies. I was in control and I was on my own.

There were hints in those early weeks that my ideas about motherhood were a bit off.

Click here to read Momming Alone or Momming in Community.