A mum has written a heartfelt plea to her husband requesting his help taking care of their two young children – rather than starting a fight and yelling instead.
Celeste Erlach is the primary caretaker of the couple’s infant and toddler – and although she wishes “she could do it all and make it look effortless,” she penned a letter to her husband where she explains why she cannot.
In a letter beginning: “Dear Husband, I. Need. More. Help,” and posted to the Breastfeeding Mama Talk’s Facebook, Erlach describes what she needs from her husband during this busy time of no sleep and crying babies.
Erlach wrote: “Last night was hard for you. I asked you to watch the baby so I could go to bed early. The baby was crying. Wailing, really. I could hear him from upstairs and my stomach knotted at the sound, wondering if I should come down there and relieve you or just shut the door so I could get some desperately needed sleep. I chose the latter.”
But despite choosing to prioritise her own self-interest in this moment where she knew her husband could take care of the baby, Erlach’s husband “came into the room 20 minutes later, with the baby still frantically crying” and “placed the baby in the bassinet and gently pushed the bassinet just a few inches closer to my side of the bed, a clear gesture that you were done watching him.”
According to Erlach, the action made her want to scream and “launch an epic fight that very moment.”
Instead, she decided to write out what she needs from her husband as a full-time mum so they don’t fall into the same typical mother-father roles of their own parents.
Erlach’s letter to her husband also acknowledges her fears that she is not an adequate mother.
She wrote: “Maybe our friends are playing the part in public and secretly struggling. Maybe our mums suffered in silence for years and now, thirty years later, they simply don’t remember how hard it really was.
“Or maybe, and this is something I berate myself over every single day, I’m just not as qualified for the job as everyone else is.
“And as much as I cringe just thinking about it, I’m going to say it: I need more help.”
The mum then describes what her husband could do to help her, from things like asking her if she would like a moment to lie down to putting away the dishes without her having to ask.
She said: “I’m human, and I’m running on five hours of sleep and tired as hell. I need you.
“In the morning I need you to get our toddler ready so I can care for the baby and make everyone’s’ lunches and drink a cup of coffee. And no, getting the toddler ready does not mean plopping him in front of the TV. It means making sure he went potty, giving him some breakfast, seeing if he wants water, and packing his bag for school.”
“On weekends, I need more breaks. Times where I can get out of the house by myself and feel like an individual. Even if it’s just a walk around the block or a trip to the grocery store,” she writes.
And “Lastly, I need to hear you are grateful for all I do. I want to know that you notice the laundry is done and a nice dinner has been prepared,” Erlach writes, before listing the other things she does around the house that she would appreciate were noticed.
She concludes the letter: “I’m waving a white flag and admitting I’m only human. I’m telling you how much I need you, and if I keep going at the pace I’ve been on, I will break. And that would hurt you, the kids, and our family.
“Because let’s face it: you need me too.”
Erlach’s letter has since been shared almost 3,000 times – and many mums are praising her for speaking out about how hard it can be to be a mum.
“I could have written this. My husband is an amazing father and partner, but yes, sometimes I do need that extra help. A pat on the back. A nap. A thank you. An hour of alone time,” wrote one mum in solidarity.