Ever Declined Help? This Story’s for You.

Who, me? Need help? Nah. Never. I can totally prep a 5-course meal, hand craft my daughter’s birthday gift, bust out 50 push ups and volunteer at the animal shelter all before I leave in 10 minutes to pick up the kids. Pshht. No big deal.*

*Head explodes.

Here’s the REAL deal. None of us can do it all. It’s just that simple. And we shouldn’t EXPECT ourselves to do it all.  It seems so simple, but it’s a very recent realization for me. Let me tell you about my a-ha moment.

After our wedding some years back, my husband and I packed all of our belongings in a car and hit the road to start a new adventure in a different state. As we drove away, we waved goodbye to all that was familiar. Totally out on our own, I became fiercely independent. So independent that I didn’t think I needed anybody’s help. No way, no how. That was, until I was diagnosed with a terribly painful connective tissue disease.

In the last year, I’ve gone from someone who hit the gym daily and not needed a doctor for years, to consulting a specialist weekly for chronic pain. At the beginning of the year, I felt like I was in my twenties. Now I feel like I’ve time warped to my eighties.

Overnight, my new busy became doctor appointments, specialist appointments, therapy appointments, running to get medications, and still striving to maintain my normal before the diagnosis.

Did I ask for help from anyone during this busy period?

No.

I still managed to volunteer at school weekly, I still tried to cook every night for my family, I worked on making it to almost every extracurricular activity, and I continued to do what I could to keep our lives on track. No one knew that as soon as I got home, I collapsed on my couch for hours.

The few people who did know my situation offered (read that as REALLY WANTED) to help me and I declined. I could do it myself just as I always have done, right? RIGHT? Wrong. One day, I went to a friend’s house, during one of my most painful times, and couldn’t keep my shiny facade together anymore. Thank goodness she saw it, she was determined to help, and she wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

It was then that life began to change for the better. I experienced random acts of kindness from friends for weeks. They even left something to cheer me up on my doorstep every day. It was during this time that I realized I didn’t have to do this alone anymore.

Now not everyone has a crippling disease, I know. But maybe you’re just too busy to keep it together. Maybe you feel like you’re on the brink. Here’s the thing. You are not alone. Not alone feeling that way, and not alone to do it all yourself.

Whether you’re a new mom who is feeling overwhelmed by night feedings and never ending dirty diapers, or you have a special needs child that takes extra care and energy, or you’re a working mom who feels behind at work and home, or you’ve just said yes so many times that your calendar is an obligation overload, just stop. Stop and ask for help. I have been there and been all of those women. You don’t have to be.

Instead, be open to the possibilities. Maybe you ask a friend to help with your kids for a few hours so you can get away. Maybe you get a helping hand to clean your house (friends don’t care about touching your dirty bath tub and it goes so much faster with two people!). Maybe you just say yes when someone offers to cook you dinner or run an errand. Soon you’ll feel so much better about your world. You’ll play more happily with your kids by day. You’ll sleep deeper at night. And someday, when things calm down, you may even find some extra strength to lighten another mom’s load.

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