The thought horrified me. But I was too weary and overwhelmed to argue.
Our son had just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. We had only a few hours to pack and leave to go to a pediatric hospital more than an hour away.
We had no idea how long we’d be there.
My house was a train wreck. The weeks leading up to Micah’s diagnosis were a whirlwind of doctor and therapy appointments. Trips to the pharmacy. While also taking care of his four-year-old sister.
I’m not a home organizing wizard in the best of circumstances.
And here comes my sweet friend. My sweet, very organized friend with the floors you can eat off of. Who alphabetizes her cleaning products.
And she wants to come into my house and clean it. Gulp.
I thought about my messy bedroom. About Micah’s nursery which was still functioning as my office. Picture a junk room with a crib in the middle of it.
And I felt shame.
What would she think of me? Even though we were very close, I didn’t want her to see “Melinda uncensored.” She knew I struggled with organization, but I would be laid bare. No time to clean anything up and put a good face on it. All areas would be exposed.
When I came home from the hospital nearly I week later, my house looked beautiful. I called to thank her. And I got … not even a hint of judgment. Nope. I was just overwhelmed by the tender heart of a dear friend who was extremely grateful to be able to help during a time of extreme need.
Shame. Embarrassment. It’s one of the major reasons we don’t ask for help, Mom. We’re terrified to expose the dark places, areas of weakness or struggle.
We remain alone and isolated. Unable to experience the beauty of authentic relationship — where we are known and loved just as we are.
We rob others of the opportunity to experience the joy of serving and the chance to use their gifts.
Pride is another barrier. We don’t want to admit we need help. There’s a competitive spirit that exists among women — especially moms. And we miss out what we can learn from each other.
I attended a Leadership Conference last week, and one of the speakers, Brene Brown, addressed the issue of vulnerability. She said something that really got my attention: “When you self-judge when you ask for help, you are also judging others when you’re offering help.” In other words, when we look down on ourselves for needing help, we look down on others who need help, too. This makes us less likely to ask for help — and to offer it.
When we feel overwhelmed, it can be hard to even know where to begin. At times, I’ve wanted to just say to someone, “Will you help me figure out how to fix my incredibly messy life?”
That can be a wee bit intimidating to the person at the other end of that question.
So, I challenge you to start with one. One area that you feel like you need help with. And ask someone you know who has a strength in that area. It can be as simple as, “You are so talented at time management. Would you share with me how you do it?”
Who doesn’t like a little sincere flattery? You’d be surprised how willing most people are to share their tips and gifts.
I’m a lot better at asking for help than I used to be. God helped me to finally break free from the idea that I had to do it all alone. That if I was a good mom I wouldn’t need to ask for help. Just today, I asked for help with my household management. It still makes me wince a little. But as I accepted that help, I literally felt my stress level decreasing.
Overwhelmed Mom, don’t despair. Help is available. I promise. We just have to ask.
Tomorrow, Kathy will be giving specific ways moms can reach out for help in common areas of struggle.