Being a parent is the best job in the world, but it’s definitely one of the hardest as well. Taking care of children can be very time-consuming and stressful. Sleeping becomes a luxury, especially if you’re taking care of younger children.
Celeste Yvonne from Reno is marketing professional and has been a mom for a couple of years. She loves writing down her experiences and has become a popular parenting blogger, but it’s her heartfelt and sincere letter to her husband that clearly resonates with thousands of other moms across the world.
She starts her letter with the following strong words: “Dear Husband, I. Need. More. Help.”
“Last night was hard for you. I asked you to watch the baby so I could go to bed early. The baby was crying. Wailing, really. I could hear him from upstairs and my stomach knotted from the sound, wondering if I should come down there and relieve you or just shut the door so I could get some desperately needed sleep. I chose the latter.”
“You came into the room 20 minutes later, with the baby still frantically crying. You placed the baby in the bassinet and gently pushed the bassinet just a few inches closer to my side of the bed, a clear gesture that you were done watching him.”
When sleep becomes so scarce and precious, it’s not hard to understand why Celeste just wanted to have a few hours for herself. She lets her husband know that she feels it’s just unfair.
“I wanted to scream at you. I wanted to launch an epic fight that very moment. I had been watching the baby and the toddler all day long. I was going to be waking up with the baby to feed him all night long. The least you could do is hold him for a couple of hours in the evening so I could attempt to sleep.”
“Just a few hours of precious sleep. Is that too much to ask?”
Celeste then writes about how the general concept of parenting and mother and father roles has changed over the past years. It’s definitely different from the previous generation with very traditional mother-father roles, but that doesn’t work anymore.
“I know we both watched our parents fulfill the typical mother-father roles growing up. Both of our mothers were the primary caretakers and our fathers were relatively hands off. They were excellent dads, but they weren’t expected to spend a significant amount of time changing diapers, feeding, caring, and tending to the kids. Our mothers were the superwomen who maintained the family dynamics. Cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Any help from dad was welcome, but unexpected.”
However, then she started feeling guilty because she thought she couldn’t handle the household and taking care of the kids.
“I see us falling into these family dynamics more and more each day. My responsibility to feed the family, keep the house clean, and take care of the kids is assumed, even as I return to work. I blame myself for most of it too. I have set the precedent that I can do it. And in truth, I want to.”
“I also see my friends and other moms doing it all, and doing it well. I know you see it too. If they can manage it, and if our mothers did it so well for us, why can’t I? I don’t know.”
“Maybe our friends are playing the part in public and secretly struggling. Maybe our moms suffered in silence for years and now, 30 years later, they simply don’t remember how hard it really was. Or maybe, and this is something I berate myself over every single day, I’m just not as qualified for the job as everyone else. And as much as I cringe just thinking it, I’m going to say it: I need more help.”
Celeste’s cry for her husband’s help then becomes painstakingly clear. She praises her husband because he’s an amazing dad, but she is simply exhausted and doesn’t know what to do.
“Part of me feels like a failure for even asking. I mean, you do help. You are an amazing father, and you do a great job with the kids. And besides, this should come easy to me, right? Motherly instincts, no? But I’m human, and I’m running on 5 hours of sleep and extremely tired. I need you.”
“In the morning, I need you to get our toddler ready so I can care for the baby and make everyone’s lunches and drink a cup of coffee. And no, getting the toddler ready does not mean plopping him in front of the TV. It means making sure he went potty, giving him some breakfast, seeing if he wants water, and packing his bag for school. At night, I need an hour to decompress in bed knowing our toddler is asleep in his room and the baby is in your care.”
“I know it’s hard to listen to the baby cry. Believe me, I know,” she then says.
Celeste also admits that she needs breaks and time for herself every once in a while. Even taking a trip to the store can ease her mind a bit, but she still needs her husband every single day.
“On weekends, I need more breaks. Times where I can get out of the house by myself and feel like an individual. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or a trip to the grocery store. And some days when I’ve scheduled swim class and play dates, and it seems like I’ve got it all under control, I need you to offer to lend me a hand. Or suggest I go lay down during the kids’ naptime. Or start putting away the dishes without me suggesting it. I need you.”
She also strongly feels that the things she does aren’t appreciated enough. Whether it’s staying at home alone because her husband has a work thing, breastfeeding for hours or doing the laundry, Celeste wants to hear that her husband is grateful for her.
“Lastly, I need to hear you’re grateful for all I do. I want to know that you notice the laundry is done and a nice dinner has been prepared. I want to know you appreciate that I breastfeed at all hours and pump when I’m at work when it would be easier for me to formula feed. I hope you notice that I never ask you to stay home from your networking events and sports activities. As the mom, it’s assumed I’ll be home all the time and always available to care for the kids while you’re out and I feed that assumption by, well, being home all the time.”
The stressful and exhausting situation when you’re raising kids is normal, and Celeste still fills a sense of guilt and hopes that she could do better. Knowing that the mom taking full responsibility was expected in previous generations makes her feel guilty for even asking for help.
“I know it’s not how our parents did it, and I hate even asking. I wish I could do it all and make it look effortless. And I wish I didn’t need kudos for doing things most people expect from a mom. But I’m waving a white flag and admitting I’m only human.”
“I’m telling you how much I need you, and if I keep going at the pace I’ve been on, I will break.”
“And that would hurt you, the kids, and our family. Because, let’s face it: you need me, too.”
One thing is for sure: Celeste is not the only mother who feels this way, feeling guilty for the need to ask her husband to help out. Her post was shared on her own Facebook page and a couple of parenting pages, and it didn’t take long before the letter went absolutely viral.
With tens of thousands of likes and numerous comments supporting Celeste, it’s clear that this sensitive subject resonates with a lot of moms around the world. And even though not everyone agrees with her, this letter is definitely heartfelt and an eye-opener for many.
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