Why is it so hard to accept help as a mom? Or as a woman? What is the internal gain from saying no when a person asks us if they can help?
I know that it isn’t just me who does this.
I have solicited the answer from many of my friends and no one seems to know, but all of them admitted to having the same problem. That they say no, even when they want to say yes.
This ongoing dialogue popped into my head again today as I took my three kiddos (6, 3 and 1) to SkyZone this morning. The other mom I was meeting with continued to offer to help me as I dangled my one year old from one arm while trying to coral the big two. Over and over I found myself saying “no, it’s okay, I’ve got it,” when clearly I didn’t.
Later when we braved McDonald’s with our combined five kids in tow, I was getting that lovely pumped ketchup from the soda area. I was doing this with the one year old dangling from my arm again. With my free right hand I was able to fill 4 ketchup cups and use a soda lid as a tray all while the cowboy getting his Coke next to me looked at me curiously. It looked as if he was going to offer help but saw that I had it under control.
Accepting help has been a theme in my life. Something about wanting others to know that I can handle it all, when not very far beneath the surface I am a mess. There are plenty of times when I have accepted help, and it is something that I am working on. Like when the stranger in the parking lot at Costco sees me struggling to load the car and the kids, sometimes I say yes.
More recently, I backed my brand new car into a pole after Restorative Yoga (yes I was that relaxed!). My amazing neighbor offered to trade me cars and take mine to a contact of his to get repaired at half the price I had been quoted. I had to call him back. I had to really sit with it. It felt wrong for me to accept his help and I couldn’t quite figure out why. When I finally did call him back, I made sure to say that only if it wasn’t too much work for him. He assured me he wouldn’t offer if he didn’t want to help.
If you haven’t already, go watch “The Call to Courage” with Brene Brown on Netflix. This “talk” is about the bravery in vulnerability. I recommend this to nearly all of my clients. It reminds me too that part of my reluctance to accept help is fear of being vulnerable. It is a gentle reminder that accepting help is not a sign of weakness, but of courage. That we can show friends and family (and even strangers) that we are imperfect, and that there is beauty in our imperfections.
I encourage you all to go forth and accept the help that is offered to you when you need it. Consider it a challenge or an intention that you have set for yourself.