Rachel had almost a competition going on with her sister Leah, and in Rachels mind Leah was winning because she was giving Jacob children and Rachel was barren. Instead of praying to God to bless her with children, she blamed Jacob and took her anger out on him. Then she repeated what Sarah had done, and gave Jacob one of her servants to take to sleep with so she could have a child.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacobs wives all struggled with conceiving, but they all handled it a different way. Abraham and Jacobs wives both acted in anger and jealous and gave other women to their husbands to conceive with which brought in anger and jealousy amongst the family. Isaac and his wife however prayed to God for children and they were blessed. We can take matters into our own hands like Sarah and Rachel did but it normally brings in chaos with it. If we rather just go to God, our lives would be much easier.
Leah had animosity towards her sister for stealing her husband, and Rachel had jealousy towards her sister because she could conceive. After Rachels servant laid with Jacob and gave her children she wasn’t fully satisfied, she finally prayed to God and went to him for help and he blessed her with her own child. Had she just done this in the first place she could have saved herself a lot of jealousy, heartache and bitterness. Leah, however followed Rachels unwiseness and when she thought she was no longer conceiving she also gave her servant to Jacob to sleep with. It was a competition to see who could have more children. Leah wasn't barren, by the sounds of it Jacob was also with Rachel so she wasn't given much opportunity to conceive, she would have to make trades or deals with Rachel to have her husband for a night. However, she did conceive again and she thought for sure this would make Jacob love her instead of Rachel, but it didn’t.
Competition can be a good thing, but it can also be bad. There is a healthy balance and when you become so competitive that it steals your peace of mind and pushes you to do things that God wouldn't be proud of, then its time to take a step back and re-evaluate. Jacob would have been wise to deny sleeping with both of his wives servants, even though it was custom in that day. Had he not fed into their rivalry it could have saved a lot of turmoil. Just because something is socially acceptable doesn't mean we should participate. For example, its socially acceptable to go out to bars and get drunk. But when we see all the bad things that can come from it (drunk in publics, dui’s, adultry, jealousy, heightened emotions, fights, accidents etc) its wise to not participate.
After Rachel had her own child, Joseph, Jacob went to her father, Laban, and asked for him to allow him to leave. He had been working this whole time to pay off his debt of his two brides and was ready now to leave and go home. He was within his rights to just leave but he wanted to keep the peace so he asked Laban to be ok with it, first. Laban saw how God had blessed him while Jacob was there, he had an increase with everything and didn't want that to leave so he begged Jacob to stay. But Jacob had spent years building up his father-in-laws home and wanted to be able to establish his own now.
So Jacob was allowed to take certain, specific animals of Labans flock to keep as his own in getting ready for finally being able to return home.