Back when I was pregnant with twins, I read a LaLeche League ( I know, I know, Juris Mater, take a deep breath) book called Mothering Multiples. One of the very helpful things that I learned from this book was that only you can breastfeed your child. Since breastfeeding takes time and energy, it can be helpful to look honestly at the tasks of each day and think about whether some of them can be done by someone else so that you will be able to breastfeed. To this end, I have charged my husband with making breakfast and engaged a cleaning lady twice a month. I worked hard in the months before the baby was born to train the children in some small, helpful chores. Recently, however, I realized that I needed more help and so I have invited some celebrities to come in and give me a hand with my read alouds.
This help is free and available to everyone in the form of Audio Books from the public library and we have been having so much fun. When I am tired, Stockard Channing reads Beverly Cleary and makes a pleasant dinner companion for me and the children, and I have become more sympathetic to my six year old as I have listened to Ramona’s antics. I love my kids, and I love to read to them, but I just need to slack on something for a while, and this is helping substantially. At the end of the day, when I can only fit in one or two picture books before collapsing into my own bed, I sleep more easily knowing that my children have had plenty of books read to them that day by others. I have often wished that I could clone myself, and having Neil Patrick Harris read James and the Giant Peach while I drive the car or knowing that my Ipod is playing Tikki Tikki Tembo while I teach math lessons in another room does the trick.