Accepting Help

Let me know if you need anything.

As a mom, how many times do you hear that phrase?  Or even say it yourself to other moms?  For me, A LOT.  And how many times do you take a person up on their offer?  For me, not as much as I could – or should.  I’m independent, I’m organized, I have a plan of attack, and I can do this mom thing!  But I also have a lot on my plate.  I’m juggling all sorts of balls here.  And I need help.  A LOT.

When I wrote a post on my personal blog about our family trip to Colorado, I sang the praises of our friends who volunteered to help us along the way.  Then I got one anonymous comment that simply said, “Real moms don’t need help.”  But don’t we?  From kids activities to work to household chores…isn’t there some point where you just need a helping hand to get you through the day?

Once when a fellow mom was venting to me her feelings of being overwhelmed, I offered to run an errand for her.  She came back with, “No, I don’t ask for help.  I’ll do it myself.”  …so what’s the big deal about asking for help and accepting offers?  Is it pride?  We don’t want people to know we don’t have it together all the time? We don’t want to burden others with our mess?  We don’t have anyone to ask?  When we’re drowning in laundry, dirty dishes, paperwork, and to-do lists…what’s wrong with saying, “Hey, remember when you offered to help?  I could really use some right now.”

I am here to tell you there is no shame in asking for help!  Sometimes you just need to take a deep breath and ask.  The worst that could happen is a “no” and you’re back where you started.  One of the best things I ever did as a parent was call a neighbor {whom I had never met} and take up her offer to help with my kids and their laundry – talk about swallowing my pride.  But I have learned that when you let people help you, it is blessing them as much as you.  Did you ever think of it that way?  That the giver is getting as much out of the situation as the receiver?  I know I never thought of that until some of my regular volunteers starting thanking me for allowing them to help.  Yes, that’s what I wrote.  The volunteers thank ME for allowing them to help me and my kids.  Sometimes even I can’t believe it.

Now, I will say accepting help is not always easy.  Neither is letting go of some control of your situation.  But I’ve learned a couple of things about accepting help in the last 2 years…

Delegate and Be Specific

Don’t be afraid to say exactly what you’re asking for.  You want a certain kind of milk from the store?  You hate casseroles? You want the dishwasher loaded a particular way?  Well, say so!  I guarantee you if someone wants to do a task for you, they want to do it to your liking…because we all know you’d go fix whatever wasn’t done correctly.  But trust me, it’s better to just say what you want at the get go.  Back when I had baby helpers coming in and out all day long, I even put up reminder signs in case I forgot to tell anyone the house rules.  And you know what?  It worked!

signs

Hold Your Tongue

I’m going to contradict myself here.  Yes, I just told you to speak up about what you want.  But if the person doesn’t do things perfectly – let it go!  They’re helping.  They tried.  You can get the right milk next time or give that casserole to another family.  Just give a reminder when you need to.  It’s okay.

And there you have it.  If you are overwhelmed and having one of those days {or weeks, or months} – ask for help!  If someone offers – say YES!  You never know, you might be helping someone else as much as they’re helping you.  And before you know it, all they want for their birthday is a picture with your kids…

 Vaniesa birthday group

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2 Responses to Accepting Help

  1. Avatar
    Mom of four January 15, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    I have a hard time accepting help. But i also think people say “let me know if u need help” just as a phrase i dont think people mean it all the time. People have said it to me about helping with my kids when i know in my head they would last 5 minutes in my crazy house. How do u know when its a true offer or just a phrase?

  2. Avatar
    Michelle January 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    Mom of Four, if they don’t mean it, then when you ask for help they’ll make an excuse, and then you’ll know. (If they offer again, give it another chance – it might not have been an excuse.)

    My teenaged daughter really struggles with this. She feels that she SHOULD be able to do things herself, or that asking me for help is inconveniencing me. I tell her that I don’t want her to have to do things on her own, because I don’t want to have to do things on MY own! I want us to be a team, here for each other! When you refuse to let people help, you shut them out, and make things harder and more isolating for everyone.

    Obviously it’s different if you don’t need help. Independence and self-reliance are good. But so are community and support.

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