One of the dirty little secrets of new babies is that you almost never get as much help as you think you will. Grandparents don't pitch in the way they say they will, friends disappear, somehow parents often end up more on their own than they planned. The village does not show up.
A woman I know was told by her MIL that she would take care of the baby while they worked through her WHOLE PREGNANCY. And then the MIL bailed the last month before the baby was born. That story gave me the vapors so much that J had to talk me off the ledge.
Another friend has NO help at all from her family. And her husband's family will help, but they live across the country. If he travels for business then she is on her own the whole time.
And countless other friends were urged by their families to have children--only to have those families disappear once the babies arrived. Sure, they show up for special occasions but the day to day is all the parents.
I feel so lucky that this has not happened to me.
My parents come up every weekend to see the baby and have virtually every week since she was born. They have taken her overnight when we have needed a break or have plans to go out. If we ever need anything they are just a call away. My MIL takes care of her while we work. We have never had to freak out for a moment because we need help and no one is on the way.
There is a safety net. Even if we don't use it, we are never alone. My mother will come and help me, she is THRILLED to help me. Today she came because I needed to work and J was taking his mother to a concert and we weren't sure how those things would overlap. She gladly came up, early even because she just wanted to see the baby, and when I got home in plenty of the time decided to take us out to dinner.
I have great role models for being a grandmother. I had two wonderful ones myself and now my mother is fabulous. But I am still learning how to be a mother from her. Because sometimes I still need my mother and I am lucky enough to still have her.