My mom is the best. Now that we are living just down the road, she offers to watch my boys every chance she gets. It is wonderful to see how excited they get to go play at grams', and it is wonderful for me to have a bit more time to myself. All of this at a time when my kids are getting easier--they play together more, and everyday they are more independent.
I was able to enroll in a beginner's pottery class on Tuesday evenings, at my mom's suggestion. I drop my kids off with her in the afternoon, go to town and do the running around that I can't seem to get done (or don't want to, with car seats and little helpers to deal with), and then take part in the evening class. The kids sleep over and have a wonderful time. I even get a bit of quiet the next morning before I go get them.
For now it is just a relief to accomplish things in town that are so hard to get done--but my goal is to also add an exercise class of some kind so that my day out is enriching mind, body and soul. If you have kids or responsibilities that seem to bump you to the bottom of the list, I hope that you are able to find a way to put yourself back on top--if only once a week. You are not doing it at the detriment of your family because it will make you happier, more fulfilled, better at your job. If there is a way to do it, do it. And further, if you know a mom or someone who puts others first but rarely gets a break for themselves, perhaps you could drop off a casserole, a gift certificate, offer to babysit or have a sleepover. It does not need to be monetary, in fact, it usually shouldn't be. Taking time to help a friend, to say "I see what you are doing and I would love to help you" might make all the difference for someone and their family. I intend to pay this forward as soon and as often as I can because I can already feel the difference it is making for me and my kids. And we will certainly thank gramma by helping her as much as we can.
Was there ever a time that someone offered to help you and you were blown away by their generosity? Please feel free to share your stories here!