Sometime in my childhood it was impressed on me that accepting charity was wrong, but this got garbled over the years to include any assistance whatsoever. As an adult I pride myself that I can manage a household of now 8 people; keeping the house tidy, food served promptly, children clothed and clean, and everyone on time to Mass and activities without help from anyone. But this isn't a very good and Catholic way to live. One thing every mother of 6 needs is another pair of hands and yesterday was a good example of that.
Usually on Tuesday afternoons after I drop off the big kids at piano practice we swing by the library to restock our coffee table with picture books and my bedside table with more grown-up fare. It was our first time doing this with Julia Ellen in tow so I made sure to give her a good feed before we left the house. Nursing in public while simultaneously trying to corral 3 little ones is not something I am up for yet. I thought briefly about throwing the double stroller in the van, but decided against it. Bad move. Once I pulled into the parking lot I wondered how I was going to walk 50' carrying 2 tote bags and an infant carrier, while also holding two small hands. Somehow we made it inside with no one getting run over and filled our bag full before we emerged back outside. Timmy wanted to run right into the street and while I ran to grab him an older lady asked, "Do you need some help?"
After a pause, I said, "Yes, that would be lovely, my big helpers aren't with me today." As she held Timmy's hand she told me about her 4 year old twins. (I have always thought that moms with multiples have a much, much more difficult job than I ever could.) As I said thank you to her I realized that while I could have managed to get them all to the car by myself, it is sometimes a good thing to accept help. This week we have been the recipients of several meals from fellow homeschooling moms and it has been a real blessing. My children have learned to eat foods they wouldn't ordinarily have on their plates and I have been reminded to welcome charity when it is offered. Yes, the kids could have subsisted on ramen noodles and boxed mac and cheese, but I don't have to be supermommy all the time.