Hey Parents: It's OK to Ask for Help
I don’t know about you, but asking for help is something I really struggle with. ESPECIALLY when it comes to parenting. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to being an independent woman in male-dominated circles, and asking for help is like admitting defeat. Maybe it’s because of my damn ego. Maybe it’s because society focuses so much on the perfect moments and the moms who can do it all, and not enough on the struggle to get there. But asking for help is hard.
I am slowly learning it is okay to ask for help. You would think I would know this already - after all, I’m a postpartum doula. It’s literally my job to help new parents, and I never feel like it’s weird that they need help. I know that it’s actually normal.
So why then, am I so hard on myself when I am a normal human being and need some help? I am my own worst critic, and maybe I need to start talking to myself the way that I talk to my clients.
“It’s okay to ask for help.” “Your health and well-being are important too.” “If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” “Find a good support/care team and use them.”
This lesson recently became very real for me. I started doing physical therapy for some chronic back issues, and to find the best care I have to drive to a different city, about 45 minutes away from my house. Then I have my appointment, and drive the 45 minutes back home. By the time that is all done, it’s most of an afternoon gone. The first time I went, I took my baby with me and set her up with some toys on the floor.
IT WAS A FREAKING DISASTER.
She cried. And cried. The sweet office ladies came and took her and played with her since I was literally getting needles stuck into my back. I could still hear her crying through the closed door. I was stressed, I couldn’t focus on what the therapist was telling me, and when it was all finally over I got into my car and cried.
Since then I’ve tried to ask for help and take someone with me to appointments. Sometimes my mom, sometimes a friend. I feel awkward asking someone to come with me. Wow, I can’t even handle going to an appointment with my baby by myself. I’m a terrible mom, I think to myself. But you know what? It is what it is. I need help. End of story. It doesn’t make me a terrible anything. It makes me a HUMAN.
And guess what? When I actually ask for help, we all have a pretty good time. My daughter gets to spend time with her grandma or play with her friend. We go out for lunch afterwards. I get to focus on my therapy without listening to my baby cry. My anxiety levels stay much lower, no one has to cry in the car, and it’s pretty much painless.
Asking for help may be hard, but here’s some tough love from me to you: GET OVER YOURSELF. It’s okay to ask for help. No one was intended to live on an island alone. Parenting has to be a team effort, and there’s no limit to how many people you can invite to be on your team.
Picture of my daughter and her friend playing at one of my appointments recently. See how much fun she had because I asked for help?