I’ve spent most of my adult life making things happen and getting things done. I’ve come up with and executed ideas from organizing to baking to crafting to wrapping and decorating. And I’ve done these with a smile. And I can top that with cooking fabulous meals, planning amazing wedding and baby showers, and pulling together what I believe was the wedding of the year in 2010.
And then I had babies.
I’ve slowly dropped things off my perfectly poised plate over the past five years, and I’ve had to get over some things that I really wasn’t prepared to let go of. But the hardest part of this life transition for a Type-A-card-carrying member has been learning the skill of asking for and accepting help.
I just brought my third baby home from the hospital, and I pledged to myself to try something different this time. I was going to say YES to all offers of help. Y’all. I’m fiercely independent and am so good at “thanks, but no thanks.” It is very unnatural for me to accept people stepping in when I don’t actually find it necessary. But I made the commitment to let my village help hold us up this time around. I’m proud to say I not only stuck with it, but I enjoyed it and learned a couple things along the way…
Your people LOVE to help you.
People that love you don’t feel inconvenienced by dropping off dinner to your house. Giving and helping fulfills a need inside us, and being able to do this for our best people is the icing on the cake. LET THEM LOVE YOU!
Take Charge of the Offers.
It’s easier to say “no thanks” because you feel overwhelmed and, quite honestly, logistics are just making you run for the hills. I knew this was going to be a hard spot for me, so I just took control from the start. When someone offered food, I told them what day I needed it and what time worked for me. Guess what, no one felt offended by this, and it cut out the back and forth. If someone asked, “How can I help?” I had requests ready. We need toilet paper. Here’s my grocery list. Please get me those salted caramel macaroons from Common Bond.
Even if it’s hard, it’s still okay.
When I had my second baby, our best laid plans were jumbled, and I ended up in the hospital by myself after a c-section, with a baby in the NICU. My cousin showed up unannounced at 11 pm, slept on that little couch, wheeled me to the NICU at midnight and 3 am to nurse, and then snuck out at 6 am to get home and get her own three kids ready for school. I still get teary-eyed when I think about the selflessness in this act of help. She doesn’t even remember the sacrifice.
This time around, my brother and sister-in-law showed up at my house with their three-year-old and took on the task of watching her and my two kids for four days while we were in the hospital. I can’t even imagine how hard this was, and I know in the moment I didn’t say thank you enough, or get everything ready enough, or even leave cash for them if they needed it. I know they were so worn down when they made the 6 hour drive back home after it was over, but you know what — they said, “It was fine; you’d do it for us.” And I would, and it was still okay to accept this help even though it was hard.
In the end saying YES wasn’t quite as hard as I thought it was going to be. I dare you to give it a try too!