Thursday, May 20, 2010
Asking for help is one of the most difficult things for me to do. I hate it. Why? Because I feel that if I have to ask somebody else for help, I've just thrown my problem on them. Then, I start to feel guilty that somebody else has to deal with my mess or my problem just because I was unable to handle it myself.
My mom is a mentor mom for a program called MOPS (mothers of preschoolers). A few months ago she was part of a panel where she created scenarios for the young mothers to get together and figure out. All of the scenarios were intended to help them think about how to handle various things. Well, one of the scenarios was: You have a friend who is a single mother. What are some ways that you could help her? A lot of the answers involved offering to babysit, coming over and spending time with her, inviting her over, etc. I think those are all great ideas. But then I asked my mom, "What if she is too afraid to accept that help? What if she doesn't want to put her children on somebody else?" Of course I asked this thinking that's probably something I'd struggle with if I was in that situation.
But, honestly, many of us are like this. I know it. I have known many people who have had trouble asking somebody to watch their kids because they want to try to handle it themselves.
As many people know, I have had to spend periods of time by myself managing things while my husband has been in training. I don't even know how I did it for awhile there without breaking down and crying. I was juggling a dog, a cat, kittens climbing everywhere, the dog eating out of the cat pan (nowhere to put it). I also dealt with a new job and having to learn tons of new things in the middle of the year. Every time I felt on top of things something else came out of left field. My grandmother's dementia had gotten so bad that she had to go into a home (and there have been many times when we thought she was going to die). My husband had recently left for Georgia and when I really wanted him here the most I knew he couldn't be here. But did I want to tell anybody about this? No. I wanted to handle it on my own because I didn't want other people dealing with my mess.
So, it came to a head. My husband came back from Georgia in April and he saw that I could not handle it. It worried him. We sat down and had a long talk. I admitted I had been to scared to ask people for help. I was so convinced in my mind that I could do it myself. The whole experience was very cathartic for me because I came to a point where I had no choice but to just start admitting there are times when I need help.
And, as soon as his leave ended (and I was back to handling things alone again), I began to let people know I'd be glad for their help. This weekend, my mother came down. I felt invigorated and refreshed by all that I accomplished with her here! It is so much more fun getting things done with another person than doing them by yourself. We boxed up items for moving, we sorted through clothes that need to be donated, we worked out, we went grocery shopping, she helped me clean, we went to Lowes and got a few things that I needed to make some repairs. And I KNOW that I would not have felt so amazing about it without her. My mother-in-law is also willing to help and I'm going to take her up on that too. :) I feel so much more energetic and able to accomplish things.
Strangely enough, I don't feel like I'm dumping my mess or problems on other people, I feel like I'm just getting enough help so that I truly can deal with the things that I need to do.