Asking for help is one of the greatest things I struggle with even as a mom of 3. I was raised by a single mother so inherently I grew up with the notion that I, as a woman, was capable and expected to do everything for myself. I remember being really overwhelmed one day soon after we brought our daughter home from the hospital. My mom commented that it was her fault that I felt the way I did because she had raised such an independent daughter.
Being an independent person has many great qualities; It makes you resourceful, decisive, and resilient. However, it also presents a few problems when you become a mother. All of a sudden, you’ve been thrust into an authority position that makes you feel like you have to do everything!
This past weekend, I finally hit my limit. 4 years of motherhood and 3 kids later and I just couldn’t deal for one second longer. My husband was away the previous day for the entire day at a basketball tournament, which he needed to maintain his daddy sanity. I was hoping that the next morning I could either sleep in or take a few hours to myself but instead he had a practice with an important team the next day and that was about it for me. I sobbed for a good 30 minutes just repeating how finished I was and how much I needed a break. My husband called his mom to come watch the kids and I ran away to my moms house. She cooked me breakfast, took me for a pedicure, made me lunch, and let me lounge and watch TV. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Around noon I felt refreshed enough to go grab the kiddies and bring them back to my moms for some pool time.
The real secret to motherhood is the notion that it takes a village. Yes, you can absolutely soldier through motherhood alone BUT, having a support system will make all the difference in your sanity. The tricky part is actually using that support system. All too often we let everyone wait in the wings when they are more than willing to help out.
Give your spouse a chance
In a perfect world, your spouse knows exactly when you need a break and will automatically take the children off your hands when you need a break. Sometimes you just have to ask. We as moms start to think we’re the only ones who can parent a child but dads are awesome too. They won’t do it exactly like you, but they love baby just as much as you do.
Let other people watch the kids
It took me 3 kids before I really started to utilize babysitters. I never felt comfortable letting other people watch my kids (even my amazing family). Know that even though you know your child(ren) best, there are people who are perfectly capable of watching your kids. When someone else watches the kids you and your spouse are free for date night!
Stop feeling bad
If someone comes over and starts tidying up a bit, just say thank you! Don’t feel bad that they’ve come to visit and are doing a little bit of manual labour. People love to help on their own accord. Letting someone help gives them a sense of purpose and can lighten your load a little bit!
Emotional support is important too!
Find someone who you can talk to when things are hard. Asking for help isn’t always about physical help. Sometimes asking for emotional support is everything you need to feel better. For me, connecting with other moms helped normalize my motherhood journey. Join a mom and baby program that allows you to connect with other moms and make friends. I found my group this way and the 5 of us keep each other sane.
This, to me, is one of the most important facets of motherhood. It’s essential because not everyone has a close network of friends and family so sometimes you have to go out and create your own. Make connections so you do build relationships that will support your motherhood journey.
Asking for help doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t make you a lazy mom or a mom who doesn’t have it together. Asking for help is crucial to your sanity! Don’t be ashamed to ask for help when you need it.
You deserve it!