As a mom, I often feel like I’m juggling too many things. From our family life to our church priorities to my job to my social obligations to holiday plans to neighborhood projects to meal planning to working out to….fill in the blank with whatever you are juggling too! You get the idea and I bet you can relate!
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and we fill it with the items that we choose to make the time for. When one of those daily tasks includes taking care of children, then all of those other tasks can become more difficult. And yes I know they are only little once so my house doesn’t have to be spotless BUT we do have to eat which means grocery shopping and cooking. I can’t ignore ALL chores. And oh yeah there’s a marriage relationship to maintain on top of all that kid stuff. Anyway it can all start to feel a little stressful. So I’m gonna let you in on a secret that you probably tell your kids on a daily basis but you don’t tell yourself….”It’s OK to ask for help.”
Whaaat?! Did I blow your mind? Cause it’s the last thing most of us want to do….including myself! It’s REALLY hard to ask for help sometimes, but it’s why we are on this planet with other human beings! When my two year old is frustrated at dressing herself what do I say? “Ask for help sweetie” When my seven year old is wrangling some tough homework what do I say? “Just ask for help honey.” When a friend has a work priority that conflicts with school what do I say? “Let me know if I can help.” When my week looks booked and I’m struggling to shower what do I say to myself? “I need more hours in the day, why can’t I just prioritize, I wish I could be as good as ____who always has it all together.”
I don’t talk to myself the way I would talk to anyone else who clearly needs help. I need to advocate for myself and speak up and ask for help. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak or incapable, it makes you stronger by realizing areas you can overcome with just a little encouragement from someone else.
Help to a mom can come in many different forms: babysitting, carpooling, cleaning services, dog walking, chore charts, spiritual advice, tutoring for kids, personal trainer, or even counseling. Some of these things are an additional strain on a budget, but many of them can be traded with a friend or coworker. Some of it may just be communicating as a family better. Keep in mind that “help” doesn’t have to be forever. Just because someone else is paid to clean your house during a difficult season of life doesn’t mean you won’t have more free time to do it yourself later. Just because you’ve hired a math tutor for your child doesn’t mean they won’t pick up on the skill and conquer that subject on their own.
Recently I felt the strain of trying to wean my toddler while getting our house ready for a big garage sale. I was tired of the clutter, but every time I started to work my sweet girl was asking me to play. (Her big eyes are hard to say no to!) But if I sat down and started playing she wanted to nurse, and I was ready to wean! I was feeling frustrated, I knew I couldn’t tackle it in a day of babysitting so I bit the bullet and asked my mom to come from out of town for a week. The worst she could say was no! But she didn’t. She found the time to help me out and I got soooo much accomplished! (Thanks mom if you’re reading this!)
Because we don’t have any immediate family in the city I feel I’ve had to ask for help from outside of my family more often than some of my friends. I’m still NOT a fan of it though, I always coach myself beforehand about what to say to not sound pitiful or needy. Then I usually realize I’m being too hard on myself and if a friend approached me with the same problem I’d be easily willing to help out so why feel ashamed when I need help?! It’s something a lot of people struggle with though, especially moms, so I think it’s important for us to remember we aren’t alone, we are here to help each other AND help ourselves by asking for help when needed!
Do you find it hard to ask for help? What areas of your life could you use help in?