Saturday, June 23, 2007

Three little words

The more I read, and the more I talk with other mothers, the more I understand that we truly aren't alone in most of the problems we feel are unique to just us.

When I was pregnant, people couldn't do enough, say enough about how they would be happy to help if I needed it. What they didn't say is that I would have to ask for that help.

In other words, when the house is in chaos and I'm at my wits end, or just so tired, I need to pick up the phone and call someone who hasn't called me, who hasn't seen my kids, who hasn't even so much as expressed an interest in communicating in any other way than by e-mail?

I don't think so.

When I asked for help, it backfired. Now, I know I'm not alone -- just read this post by Stephanie at Baby on Bored. But, I also know that some of you are probably very good at asking for help.

So, I'm now opening up this blog to you: When you need help, who do you ask and how do you ask? Or, do you suffer from the same pride gene many of us have and think that people should volunteer help?

And, most of all, when is it too late as a mother to ask for help? Clearly, the first month of a baby's life is a popular time to receive help.

But, what about the rest of the 18 years of mothering?


Shannon said...

Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to ask for help, either. The only person I would take help from without feeling like a burden is my mother...who is six hours away. Even when me and the babies had the stomach flu at the same time and my husband was begging me to call someone to help me, I just couldn't do it. Who would I call? A friend, a neighbor? Everyone's busy with their own lives & I would just feel like there was one more person in the house that I have to entertain. So, me & hubby go it alone. I have to say, though, I couldn't do it without him! He's a very hands on daddy guy. :-)

Eva said...

After our twins were born, I learned about how to give help from the friends of ours who were good at it. It's not about "let me know if you need help." It's, "we're going to the grocery store and driving right by your house, what should we bring?" "We're at Target, what can we pick up for you?" "I'm bringing sandwiches over, what kind would you like?" Then the question leaves no room for turning down help, and the helpee doesn't need to ask.

A friend with 2 kids told me this week her husband will be out of town for 5 days, her way of asking for help. I hope that my friends and I continue to rely on each other in such ways.

Have you noticed, though, that when a woman goes out of town, everyone is jumping over themselves to help the father left alone, but when a mother goes out of town... crickets.

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I think everyone should go through recovery! Going to 12 Step sure helps you learn how to ask for help. I'm much, much better at it now than I used to be. And much better at accepting my inability to when I can't ask.

I also try to offer (specific) help without being asked. But of course, I'm nice (and sometimes codependent) like that. ;)

Stefanie said...

Thanks for linking to my post. It was a tough one to even write. I ask my husband for help and I've even asked the occasional neighbor during a crisis but I was definitely disappointed by the neighbor so now I stick with the tried and true. But I really liked the suggestion about giving help in a way that can't be turned down. I'm going to start doing that.

Anonymous said...

Asking for help was so hard for me with my daughter. I felt like if I asked for help I was admitting that I couldn't handle motherhood on my own. Truth is sometimes we just cannot do it all and it's okay to ask for help. The best kind of friend jumps right in and helps out even before you have to ask...