Monday, July 18, 2011

Yes, Please!


Earlier this week, Matt went outside in the morning to do some work around the yard and he didn't come in until it was almost time for dinner. He did a bunch of projects around the farm that really needed to be done. When he finally came in, he was sweaty and tired. I'm sure it wasn't his idea of a relaxing summer day. Still, I was frustrated that he was outside going about his own business all day long. I was irritated at his ability to go outside and work as long as necessary without interruptions. When I have something to do, it only gets done if I can do it during a nap, or with one hand, or with a child hanging on my leg. I knew that voicing my frustration would only cause a fight because he wouldn’t understand how I could possibly be jealous of his yard work.
Decorating a cake... one-handed.

Well, I really did try to hold my tongue, but he sensed that something was wrong so I tried to explain my frustration. I was right - he didn’t understand why I was mad. But he did understand that I needed to get out for awhile, so when I asked if I could take the whole next day to go somewhere with my laptop and get some of my stuff done, he simply said, “Sure. No problem.” I couldn’t believe it was that simple. (And looking back, I was only half-serious about leaving for an entire day. I think maybe I expected some sort of rebuttal).

So the next day I sat at Panera in front of my laptop for over 6 hours. The whole time I wondered why I don't do this more often. Reese is almost 14 months old and I still hardly ever leave the house without her. You would think that my husband is some kind of tyrant who never lets me go anywhere. You would think that my mother-in-law (who lives right next door) doesn't make frequent babysitting offers. Maybe you would even think that I'm just such a devoted mother that I can’t be away even for a minute. Well, none of these things is true. The reason I don't ever do anything without Reese is quite simply that I never ask for help. 

When I say I never ask for help, I mean I never ask for help. I do things on my own even when it's much harder and takes much longer. I move heavy furniture by myself when I know Matt will be home soon. I take Reese with me to really inconvenient places when I know his mom or sister would love to watch her. I even struggle to carry in all the groceries when I know Matt is in the other room. Sometimes, he'll even call to me, offering to come and help. "No, I got it," I usually shout back, even though I don't have it. 

Daddy taking care of bath time.
I often forget how easy it is to get a little relief when I just ask for some help. It makes me wonder why I can't be more honest about what I need. It might be because I see it as a sign of weakness. I feel like I'm saying, "I'm not capable of doing this by myself," which makes me feel inadequate as a wife and mother. I see other moms who seem to be juggling so much more than I am, and I wonder what's wrong with me. But deep down I know it's not just me. It doesn't matter if you work or stay home; if you have one kid or seven kids. Every mom has a difficult job and every mom can use a break now and then. That's why asking for help is a necessary and healthy part of being a good mom. Instead of saying, "I can't do this on my own," I should say, "I shouldn't do this on my own." Instead of saying, "I don't need help," I should say, "I deserve to have some help." And when someone offers to help me, I need to stop saying, "No, I got it," and start saying, "Yes, please."

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