Why is it so hard to ask for help? Shouldn’t we, as parents and as human beings, acknowledge that we can’t do everything alone? Why is it that we are quick to offer up help when others need it, but find it so difficult to ask for it in return? If we were meant to struggle through this life alone, then we would not have evolved into a civilization where we live in communities. We would not bond as families, or seek out friendships. If we can’t reach out to others in our time of need then what is the point?
Is it the fear that the people that we care about will say no? Or is it the fear that relationships we thought were our foundation are actually very superficial? Is it that we need to appear to be strong, and perfect in all situations? I really struggle with this. And to be honest, I have struggled with this my whole life. I never wanted help with anything. Even when it was freely and willingly offered, I mentally needed to do it myself. But everyone has their breaking point where they have to ask for help, and I am trying to make myself realize that it is okay to need help!
I recently got sick, and I don’t mean the I’m a mom and can tough it out sick, I mean the I took my first sick day in 6 years for myself kind of sick. Of course it coincided with the day my husband had to leave for a 5 day work trip, to return the day before I was hosting my son’s third birthday with 30+ people at my house.
- Day 1: (Can’t swallow, fever of 101) No problem, I got this. I will have a chill day with the boys watching movies, and I will get stuff for dinner when we run to target to get what I need for the party. Everything else shifts over by a day, I just barely managed.
- Day 2: (Didn’t sleep, can’t swallow or breath, fever of 102) 6:00 am-Okay, I will get the kids off to school and I will take some Day Quil and nap on my desk at lunch – I gave no thought to calling in sick, I had no intention of asking for help. 7:00 am- driving to work, tears streaming down my face in extreme pain. 8:00 am- On the phone with the Dr. making an appointment for 9:00am. 9:30 am- diagnosed with strep for the first time in 20+ years. 10:00 am- Fill my prescription for an antibiotic, try not to panic about how I am going to get through the rest of the week—BUT STILL GO BACK TO WORK. 4:00 pm- I finally relent and realize that if I don’t ask for help I am not going to be able to make it through the day, let alone the week.
- Day 3: I stay in be all day…what is this magic?
Thankfully my in laws live nearby and were able to take my oldest overnight, and both kids the next day so that I could allow myself to recover. I asked a co-worker to handle a time-sensitive item that needed to be taken care of, and I asked my mom and grandma to come down the day before the party to help me get my house cleaned and decorated. But the truth is, I would not have asked if I wasn’t absolutely desperate! I needed help earlier, and truth-be-told many times before that, but was ashamed to ask. I feel like as the mom I am the one who is supposed to handling everything.
It is my job to take care of the house, fulfill the kids every need, throw great birthday parties, run all the errands, work full time, etc. I am so used to doing it all (with the help of my husband of course) that the thought of asking someone to pick up the slack didn’t even cross my mind. My brain was only plotting a solution that included ME doing everything that needed to get done, and this time I couldn’t logistically make it work. When I offer support to my friends when they need it I genuinely want to make their life easier, but very seldom do they take me up on it. Why are we all trying to tough it out through life when we don’t have to?
What I have taken away from this is that not only is help available when I need it, but that my loved ones are happy to provide it. I got so many offers of help anywhere from bringing me soup, and picking up my kids, to offering to clean my house and run errands for me. I will try to make more specific offers of help when others need me in the future so that they know that I want to help them, and I hope they will take me up on it when the time comes.
Asking for help doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human, and we all need it sometimes. I’ll admit, I am still a work in progress and am not likely to change anytime soon, but it is such a relief to know that my friends and family really step up when I actually ask for help.