Help With Your Mother's Rule

Help With Your Mother's Rule is a forum for women who want trouble-shooting help with their Mother's Rules or about any aspect of the 5 Ps of the married vocation.

Ask Holly: This blog is composed of your questions. Contact me at the address listed on Holly's Helpers page and I will respond. Please share your unique ideas as well. The more ideas and experience we share, the more successful every mother will be in designing her own unique Mother's Rule.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

When One Must Attend to the Little Ones...

Dear Holly,
I have a question I imagine has been asked before, so forgive me if you're forced into redundancy! I'm wondering how to balance the 'P's', particularly person/partner in the midst of a difficult newborn. My husband and I have 7 kids under 13, and our 4 month old girl has been quite a handful! I feel that just taking care of her needs fills my entire day. She cries if not held (won't let the other kids hold her, much to their chagrin), and refuses to sleep without my nursing her. My basic needs really haven't been getting met (just getting a shower is fantastic, never mind brushing teeth!). So I'm at a loss when I think of how I could even begin to put myself or my husband first, never mind that the other kids have gotten brushed under the rug as well. I can see that I could ask my husband could pitch in more with the baby so I can take care of me a bit, but how on earth can I put him or the other kids before a demanding newborn?


  1. Your situation is certainly challenging, and because of this, I think you will need to take a long-term view of things in order to get perspective. You have a new little girl in your life that is very needy and demanding, especially when you have a number of other children to love and guide, as well as a house to clean , a hubby to spend time with and your own personal needs. This is going to require a period of time for you to dedicate to her needs as she expresses them and which appear fairly strong, until such time as she can relax a bit with being born and a part of this new family. It's not going to be about putting hubby or yourself first, so much as about attending to the many needs of the many hats you wear.

    You will have to take a look at all of your 5 Ps, and determine what is absolutely essential for the next 3-6 months. What is a must, and what can be relaxed or let off, for the time being? To find time for hubby or self, it may be part of your housework that needs to go. Or, cutting back on outings or some other such thing. But all the 5 Ps will need to be examined for what is essential, and then merge them into a relaxed schedule or progression of events throughout your day.

    For ex: I had a liver issue a few years ago - a rude little illness that interfered with my life seriously. I was forced to spend 3 months sitting in my chair in recovery which meant that my normal life, my normal routine and my normal level of clean house was impossible to maintain. I had to adjust according to what was essential. I homeschooled from my chair in the living room. I had to be content with the way the kids cleaned the kitchen (a great penance!!), and I had to offer up the inevitable clutter that accumulated because Mummy was not able to do her own work. This obviously affected every area of my life. But my attitude was one of knowing I'd get back to all my regular clean, my regular schooling, etc, once this phase had passed.

    So too, for you, this little one is going to affect everyone in the house and every aspect of your life for a little bit. You could rest assured she will not being doing this when she is 12 years old... so... this is a phase. Treat it as the request from God that it is. Reduce your expectations just as someone who is ill would have to. And then carry on. Give it 3 months like this, and then re-assess how to proceed. This type of calm, serene acceptance of what has come your way - with full knowledge that this is a phase, not forever - will assist you in shifting your normal routines and finding what is essential for you and your husband.

  2. Thank you for your sage advice, Holly! Your answer is very reassuring to me. I felt that I was expecting too much of myself, but thought I must be missing something or doing something wrong- so thank you for the perspective. It's easy to feel like you're the only one who 'can't keep it together,' and lose sight of what's truly important. I loved your line, 'Treat it as the request form God that it is.' Perfection!


    Thank you, Holly! God Bless you!