I read to M’s class last week. M thoughtfully chose the books the night before, and she and I were both so excited when the day finally arrived. She asked me to bring “the baby,” and the two of us arrived ready to read.
It has been 5 years since I was in the classroom, and those precious children reminded me so quickly why I loved teaching. It was such a joy to be with them. To any other parent looking through the window, it might have looked like such a lovely little moment, and it was. Here is what they might not have seen though….
M’s wonderful teacher had already offered to hold Baby J while I read. He started out just fine, but then he spit up (yuck). Her teacher cleaned it up without missing a beat. Then he started to get fussy, so another teacher took him for a walk in the hall and loved on him while I finished the books. I was saying goodbye to the children via their “hug line” (which by the way we all need in our lives every single day) when I noticed W outside the door in his teacher’s arms. I had sent her a message that I might be a few minutes late for pick up, but apparently W was having a hard time so rather than wait for me, his teacher scooped him up along with his backpack and carried him down the hall. I could see them through the window: W tucked up onto her hip with his head on her shoulder.
I took the baby from M’s teacher and slipped out into the hall. W began to cry. Loudly. The teacher poked her head back out. “Would you like me to hold the baby again?” “That’s okay. I’ve got it.” I responded. “He will be okay.” Out came M, and we began to organize ourselves for the walk to the car. I was carrying: baby J, the diaper bag, W’s backpack, and 5 books. M’s teacher came out again and asked us if we needed help. My response? “That’s ok. I’ve got it.” After watching me try to convince M to carry the books while juggling a baby on my hip and a tired toddler, she thankfully just insisted on walking to the car with us. I finally agreed, but if I’m being completely honest, as we walked to the car I thought “Yikes. Does it look like I don’t have it together?”
Why? Why do we do that? Have you ever tried to help a mom with her hands full? I can almost guarantee you that her answer will be “I’ve got it.” Technically, “I had it.” No one was screaming (anymore), and we were moving (albeit slowly) in the general direction of the car, but why is it so hard for us to take the help? We offer it to other mamas without a second thought, but receiving it ourselves? “No thanks. I’ve got it.” A very wise friend once told me not to take away the joy other people feel when helping others. She taught me that it is okay to let yourself be helped, and that when you need it, it’s your job to let it in.
It might have looked like I had it all together for any parent peeking in the window watching that day, but in reality I had 3 teachers helping me. That’s one teacher per child in case you haven’t already done that math. And I am so very grateful, deeply grateful, for them. They are seasoned moms who are farther down the road than I am, and they offer grace, hope, and understanding. They would never judge me for needing help, but for a split second I sure did.
I’m grateful for a moment of being overwhelmed that reminded me of the peace that comes from being on the receiving end of help. I’m grateful for teachers who love my children enough to support their mama. Most of all, I am grateful for 3 great reasons to always have my hands full.
Find the joy~
**Jessica McCauley, M.Ed. is a parenting coach/consultant. She draws on her background as a Montessori educator and Child Life Specialist to help families navigate the challenges of the early childhood years. Contact Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule a consultation.