My name is Marie, and I'm a stay-at-home mom with three kids.
And hired help.
Months before the birth of our twins, my husband and I decided we would hire someone to help me care for the kids and manage our home. We knew everyone would be happier for it. I posted a question on a Facebook page set up for twin mothers, asking what hours of the day most moms of a toddler and twins found they would benefit from an extra pair of hands. The overwhelming response? You don't need help. You can do it all by yourself.
While I think most of the responders meant this as encouragement, I still find this reaction to be unfortunate. It reveals our society's general lack of acceptance of a stay-at-home mother's need for help. Stiff upper lip. You must shoulder the burden alone.
We didn't always treat mothers this way. The Daily Beast brings up how starting at birth, colonial Americans allowed mothers a "lying in" period, for new moms to rest and bond with their babies while other women kept up her household. That era has disappeared and not been replaced with anything, other than—if you're lucky—a stream of delicious casseroles from neighbors and friends (thanks for those, by the way). The article went on to say:
"A culturally accepted postpartum period sends a powerful message that's not being sent in this country," said Dr. Margaret Howard, the director of the Day Hospital for Postpartum Depression in Providence, Rhode Island. "American mothers internalize the prevailing attitude—'I should be able to handle this myself; women have babies every day'—and if they're not up and functioning, they feel like there's something wrong with ...1
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