I’m probably the last person who should be writing about asking for help. Ask any of my friends or family; they’ll tell you that getting me to ask for help is more difficult than giving a cat a bath. And it’s not because I was raised thinking that there was anything wrong with it. My mom taught us kids to work hard for everything in our lives, but she also expressed that there was no shame in needing help.
When my mom was a single mother to my sister, she used government aid. She’s not ashamed of that fact. Actually, it’s one of the things that she likes to tell people. She used that help to take care of her child on her own while putting herself through college so that she’d never need the government to help her again. That’s exactly why government social programs exist; to help people through rough times. My mom also took “family leave” after the births of my children so that she’d be available at a moment’s notice to come help me. Testament to my inability to take help, I actually made her cry by refusing to call her over to help me after I became a mom of 3. She thought I was upset with her, but it was just me being determined to do everything on my own.
Fast forward to now. I’ve lived in Virginia for almost 9 months. In that time, I’ve asked my mother in law to help me with the kids (by taking one to gymnastics while I waited for the fireplace repairman to show up before a blizzard) one time. Poor woman probably thinks I don’t like her, but it all goes back to my hardcore refusal to ask for help. With my kids, I justify it by telling myself that I decided to have them and so everything about them is my ultimate responsibility. That same mindset extends to everything. I decided to buy those clothes for my family, so I’m the only one who does laundry. I unpacked the stuff in this house, so I’m the one responsible for keeping it in order. I opened a diaper store, so it’s my job to do everything related to it with no help.
Writing it out, that looks insane. I swear, I’m not a control freak. I don’t do this because I think that I’m the only one who can. It’s because I feel like I’m the only one who should do it all.
You know what? Maybe I am crazy. Asking for help isn’t a bad thing. No one can do everything all the time. Spreading yourself too thin means that no area of your life is getting your full focus. While I’m trying to be everything for everyone, I run out of time to be anything for myself. And if I’m putting off taking care of myself, how I can I be giving my all to others?
Admitting that you can’t do it all is hard, but I’m slowly learning to ask for help. I’m still
really bad catastrophically terrible at it, but I’m trying. What I’m finding so far is that other people really like helping (unless they’re douche bags, in which case, why do you want their help?). I always like helping others because it made me feel like I was making a difference in their life. It’s actually pretty selfish of me to not help others to get that same feeling.
So, come on over! I’m sure I could use your help with something around this madhouse. 🙂