I was at the park with my daughter the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see a mom friend of mine with her kids. After getting settled in, my daughter started playing in the sand and my friend and I started catching up. It didn’t take long for my daughter to put her fingers in her mouth only to discover that sand belongs on the “more yucky things” page of the Yummy/Yucky book by Leslie Patricelli (if you don’t have this book, it’s a gem.). I went over to pick her up, dust her off, and give her some water when I realized the step up from the sand was just awkward enough that I couldn’t step up. I tried two times and there was no way it was going to happen. On the third attempt, I looked up, saw my friend, and exclaimed, “I need help”. She came over and helped me balance so I could step up without my daughter having a meltdown from being set down with a mouth full of sand.
That moment felt humbling and relieving at the same time. It was such a simple moment with great meaning. Mothers are natural problem solvers and improvisers. They can multitask with the best of them. But when it comes to asking for help, there is a lot of room for improvement. Whether it’s asking partners for more support in the day to day tasks or asking if a friend has time to talk at the end of the day because you need a warm, non judgmental voice telling you that you are doing a great job when the day felt like a trainwreck.
Easier said than done, right? So what stops our loving, nurturing selves from practicing the three important words, “I need help”? Here are a few thoughts.
The “I can do it all” myth. One of the things that is important about being a parent is being reflective about our experience. Our children teach us as much as we teach them if we are willing to pay attention. We would never expect our child to do it all without any help (this can be the case well into our children’s adult years) so why do we hold an unattainable standard for ourselves?
Shame. The fear that asking for help means not only that I’m not perfect, but that somehow I’m a bad mom. Where does this belief come from? How can we can start to reframe it? No one has all the answers. It’s okay to ask for support.
Isolation. Motherhood can feel very lonely at times. It would make sense to feel like there is no one you can reach out to, but if you dig deep I bet there is someone out there to reach out to.
Fear of Bothering. When it seems like everyone has stuff going on, it can be hard to get out of the mindset, “I don’t want to bother anyone”. Trust that if someone isn’t able to help, they will let you know and you can move on to the next person who might be available.
When was the last time you asked for help? Would you feel any different if you did? Allowing others to help us is a gift for both you and the person helping. It is also role-modeling for your children that everyone needs to ask for help sometimes. Getting help while teaching our children sounds like a win-win to me.
Are you a new mother who could use some extra support? Click here to find out about my next New Mother’s Support group starting soon.