Monday, November 12, 2018

One of the biggest challenges of motherhood is asking for help, and/or accepting help. Asking for help, for me, definitely signifies defeat. Cue the negative self-talk: I can't cut it. I am coming up short. I can't hack it. I'm a bad wife. I'm a bad mom. For a long time, this is what I heard in my own mind. Is asking for help a sign of weakness? Or, hold on, is it actually a sign of strength?

A sign of respect and even compassion, for your own self.

Let's say you finally muster the strength to ask for help. Are you comfortable accepting it? Or do you feel guilty or shameful? I can only speak from my own experiences (that's what this blog is). There is way too much guilt and shame associated with helping a mom. A new mom. An old mom. Any woman in our community that needs it. Why are we so ashamed to ask for help and to accept help? 

What is the message we are sending mothers? Is it that you're supposed to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion, tears, depression? Is this an acceptable and expected assumption about motherhood? How many mothers have cried, alone? How many mothers have felt they are so tired they can't survive another day? How many mothers have felt physically and emotionally exhausted with nothing left to give? How many mothers have asked- how am I going to do this?

Here is what I want to tell you. I mean it with every bone in my body. It is OK to ask for help. It is OK to recognize you are frayed, and tired, and spread too dang thin! Your kids see everything. They are more intuitive than we may think. They can tell, mom is on the edge. And sometimes, I think, they try to push you off. Take a second and ask yourself- do I need help? Maybe you need your significant other to grab dinner, or your mom to stop by and help do the dishes. Maybe you need a kind mama friend that is more willing to help you than you know. Maybe it is a therapist that can talk about real issues of depression. There are resources. There are options. And you should not feel ashamed or guilty about using them. 

There is triumph and victory in stopping and asking for help. I am a very independent person and asking for help is a real challenge for me. And, quite frankly, I have been rejected in the past when I asked. What's worse than asking for help, when it takes all your strength to do so, and being told no? Personally, I think it is worse not to ask. To ignore your inner voice and sacrifice so much of your soul to appear strong and brave.

Here is my task for you. Admit you need help, when you need it. I know so many moms in my community, my dear friends, doing an amazing job. They are awesome moms, friends, women, people. Whatever label you want to use. But they don't ask for help.Yes, I am working hard on my own weaknesses and learning how to ask for help. I am also trying to offer help- without being asked. A funny thing happened when I started doing that. The moms accepted it. And it helped them. Even if it was just a dinner on their front porch when things got chaotic for them. I believe kindness has a ripple effect. I believe all moms, at one point of another, need help and support. Even something small. If I can help just one person- AND help myself- mission accomplished. Spread the word my friends :)

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