Sometimes getting the help we need is as simple as asking for it.
Nothing can truly prepare a parent for those early days at home with a newborn. The diaper changes, the loads and loads of tiny laundry, the sleepless nights and endless feedings keep parents in perpetual motion—and it’s all multiplied when you bring home multiples. You’re always busy.
“It’s a good busy,” new mom Hayley Arsenault tells Motherly. She recently welcomed triplets Finn, Hogan and Rylan, and has some advice for other new moms in similarly busy shoes: “Take all the help [you] can get”.
The 25-year-old mom is enjoying her beautiful boys (who eat every four hours) but was happy that her own mother was able to take time off from work when the babies were born. Bringing them home from the hospital at four days old was a lot easier for her knowing the boys’ grandmother would be around.
“When the time was coming up for her to return [to work] we started to realize I may need a few extra hands during the day,” she explains. That’s when Arsenault did something that many moms don’t, but should: She asked for help.
“I reached out on Facebook,” she explains, adding that in her small town of about 800 people, everybody is somehow connected. She expected at least some kind of response from her neighbours, but was blown away by the volume of replies.
Soon Arsenault was working out a schedule for volunteers. A trio of sisters—Jenny MacDougall, Alice Mokler and Anita Arsenault (no relation)—are among the crew. The three retired women have plenty of child care experience between them as they’re all grandmothers.
"Knowing what it's like to have one baby, it's a lot of work," MacDougall told the CBC. "When I heard that she had three, I could really understand how exhausting it must be.”
MacDougall says she and her sisters enjoy caring for Finn, Hogan and Rylan while Arsenault sleeps. "For me, it's a gift to come here."
Arsenault says she’s the one getting a gift, and she’s so grateful for the help she’s received from the sisters and others in her community. She says having this support system around her and not trying to do everything on her own has been a huge relief to her family.
She hopes other parents, regardless of how many kids they have, are also able to ask for help and take a break.
“I think that it’s important for moms to still have time for themselves,” she tells Motherly, offering some advice to those who are afraid to ask for help. “Connect with people. You’ll be surprised at how great people can be.”
And if you don’t live in close knit community like Arsenault does, try to build your own. Join moms’ groups, or take a baby class to expand your circle.
When you’re feeling like you need to grow a second set of arms, remember this piece of advice from one of Arsenault’s helpers: "It takes a village to raise a child.”
You don’t have to do it all alone, mama.