What a difference family makes.

Family is a wonderful thing.

When I read this article today, it made me really think about that.  My in-laws run a small town newspaper, and this was in this week’s issue.  My FIL writes a little article each week, and this week he wrote about spending time with my niece, Little Joanie, during a very transitional time in her life!

I don’t know a lot of people who have as much support as Oatmeal and I do when it comes to kids.

His family is (for the most part) local.  His mom comes over a few times a week to watch Poppyseed so that I can take a shower or work out in the back yard, or sometimes she rides with me into town to run errands so that I don’t have to do the 2+ hour trip on my own.  Every time she does this, I feel really lucky because I grew up watching my own sister have her kids about a thousand miles away from any family, with a husband who deploys a lot.  So for me to have free and available childcare is a major blessing in my opinion!  My FIL is eager to hold her when we go over to their house, and is definitely not afraid of her when she screams or needs a diaper change.  Oatmeal’s brothers and sisters are all great with kids, too.  He is the last of his siblings to breed and so everyone is so great with babies already, since of course they have much more experience than we do.  His brother and SIL love to hold Poppyseed, and his SIL for one was not afraid to help me get Poppyseed to take a pacifier when she was only about a week old.  His sister just sent me about 100 baby girl outfits and is always great about giving me great ideas when I am at a loss.

My family is just as supportive.  My dad and his wife came into town the weekend after Poppyseed was born.  Oatmeal and I enjoyed their cooking and relaxation as Dad cooked and Lil held Poppyseed for us.  We were able to do things like take naps, Oatmeal left to get a haircut without worrying about leaving me with a brand new baby, and do little things around the house without having to listen to a screaming infant.  My mom can’t travel, but when we took Poppyseed home to meet her over Mother’s Day Weekend, she had made her home as accommodating as possible for a baby and spent a great deal of time snuggling and loving on Poppyseed, and also gave us a gift card so that we could buy groceries and diapers.  My brother, a big ole bulky guy, is shockingly great with kids and was eager to hold her when he met her.  My step sister and step brother were also really excited to meet her and shower her with affection when they had a chance to spend time with her as well.

And then there is our Japanese family – our big sisters in Japan.  They are each only a phone call or email away and have 7 kids worth of experience.  They are my go-to people when I have a question and need an answer asap.

I know I have great support, but really it was this newspaper article that made me really think about it today.  Anyone in my family would change my kid’s diaper or hold her while she was screaming.

It can be very overwhelming to be a new parent.  There are so many decisions to make, and you never get to know for sure if you are doing the right thing.  Am I holding her correctly?  Do I feed her enough or too much?  Am I burping her properly?  Should I let her sleep with us or in her crib?  Is she properly buckled into her car seat?  Is something I am eating bother her tummy, should I give up dairy?  Is this a normal cry or a pain cry?  Is this bath water an okay temperature?  Do I pick her up each time she cries or let her learn to self soothe every now and then?

Am I doing this right?

It would be really easy for someone in our family to criticize us.  I have the least amount of experience than anyone else in our entire huge family.  I’m glad they don’t, and that they do offer a helping hand and lots of love.



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