When I got pregnant, I realized I was going to need help. I asked people who have children what their advice was (carefully, because I didn’t want so much advice that I would be overwhelmed by it!
The thing I heard most often was, “take time for yourself” and “sleep when the baby sleeps” – I have been following that one pretty well, but today I hit a wall. I had been unable to sleep for over 24 hours and my husband was out of town for the day, so while we had been trading off and tag teaming care.. he was not able to help last night or the night before so today when he got home, I made up my mind, I was going to hand him our little girl and go do something alone and just for me. But when he got home, I started to feel ashamed that I needed help. Jeremy asked me, are you okay, I didn’t answer and instead started to think about the next cycle of feeding, for her, for me.. and then all of sudden it hit me. I would tell anyone else if they needed help to simply ask.. so why oh why couldn’t I take my own advice? I called a friend and asked if she was free, she was and so I handed the baby to my husband, took a shower and then went to hang out with my friend for some blissful time away. It was just a few hours, but such a tonic for me. Or as another friend once said about me, “yoga for my brain”… and it was.
It begged the question.. why was it so hard to ask my husband (who is a wonderful and supportive man) for help? he was offering it, and I still had trouble accepting it. I guess I didn’t want to admit the hard and ugly truth. That this is hard. She isn’t even teething or potty training or in her terrible twos.. but the constant NEED is hard to fill. I don’t hear people talk about that very often so I am doing it now. I want to say this because it’s hard to admit it, it’s way easier to focus on how much I love her and how cute she is and take pictures of the good. There isn’t really a picture of a 2am feeding when she just won’t go to sleep, because who wants to focus on that.. but it’s reality and I think it’s good to talk about both sides. It’s not only okay to ask for help, it’s essential.
Thinking back on on other times I needed help, when I started acting, I hate to admit it.. but I needed help with that too, so I took lessons. Singing? you guessed it, I looked around and found a great vocal coach who I trust and who got me ready for my audition for “The Voice”. It doesn’t stop there. When I started walking I got accountability partners, we also worked weekly on goals and did check ins with each other (also known as HELP). When I decided I wanted to give a Ted Talk, what did I do? I asked for help, I went to Toastmasters and started opening myself up to any and all opportunities to do public speaking.. I needed and asked for HELP.
Before I asked for help in any of those situations, I remember the feeling of not wanting to ask for help and doing everything for myself! (I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR!) turns out that it’s essential to ask for help in order to be a good mom too. I am sharing this in hopes that it helps another highly independent woman take a break and ask for help or space when she needs it.
I know that I will be building in breaks for myself as we move forward in this marathon of parenting.
What do you need help with today? How will that make your life easier?
Think about it…