Since becoming a mother and finding myself entrenched in the responsibilities that follow from that role, I have come to face the hard truth that I literally cannot do anything on my own anymore.
Long gone are the days of enjoying simple pleasures like going to the bathroom by myself or eating a meal without someone’s little hands reaching for a bite here and there. But I guess I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also simultaneously find those moments of unexpected and sometimes unwanted company exceedingly joyful.
Throughout the various stages of our lives, we’ve been told at one time or another how we needed to savor the moment. That we would miss the free time and flexibility that we once had back in the days of high school and college. And back then we just sort of laughed it off because we already felt like our stress threshold was being pushed to the brink by the weight of deadlines and grades and the “dreaded presentation.”
I think we all can now agree that we were very, very wrong.
I have always valued my ability to be pretty independent and resourceful. I could do anything that anybody asked me because even if I didn’t know how to accomplish said task, I could always find the answer to the question of how I could learn to do it.
As a mom who has only had one child thus far, I admit I don’t really know how to do motherhood.
And as a confession, I don’t really know where to find the answer to that problem.
So here’s what I’ve had to learn, and it’s been a hard lesson to swallow, and one that I’m pretty much still gagging on constantly. THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP.
God-willing, those of you reading this, and myself included, have been blessed to be surrounded by a number of people who are truly invested in seeing us healthy and happy. Do you know that part of that happiness and healthfulness is your own ability to accomplish your daily responsibilities and feel productive and fulfilled? Did you know that angrily doing the dishes while your child is screaming at you and not asking your husband to help you entertain her is completely counterproductive to the success of your happiness and healthfulness? Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??!!
God gave us all the gift of community. And the awesome thing about that community is that it is made up of parts that each have a specific role and a specific talent for that role, and when all the pieces work together, it reduces the workload that would otherwise be placed on an individual part trying to perform the entire function. And in most cases, one part actually just can’t do that.
The same goes for us moms.
As much as we would all love to be that super mom who has everything totally together, with her carefully crafted bullet journal and perfectly cleaned car and completely empty sink, dishwasher, and dry rack, most of us are just asking too much of ourselves. And that is OKAY.
Because we don’t have to do this alone. There is another option. There is the choice to look to the people around you, the people who love you, and ask for help, and for guidance.
No one single person possesses the all-encompassing wisdom that it takes to be the best parent that any of us could wish to be. No. Instead, it takes a village. And we owe it to our children to tap into that valuable resource so that we can provide for their needs as best as humanly possible.
Being a parent, is, in some ways, very much about making sacrifices. But perhaps not in the way that most of us expect. It’s about sacrificing our pride and inflexibility. It’s about sacrificing the idea that we can or should do anything alone.
Because, It is not about sacrificing ourselves.
Providing for our children is a non-negotiable, yes. But so is making sure that we are taken care of too - our emotional health being every bit as important as our physical health. If we need to ask someone to watch our children while we relax - take a bath, go for a run, stretch, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa - then, I’m telling you guys, so be it. It does not make us less of a mother and it does not make us less of a person. It makes us human. And it makes us smart.
Because what is not smart is running ourselves into the ground trying to do everything and be everything for our babies, when we just don’t have the full skill set to do that. That’s just the beauty of how God made us. But it does require us to get over ourselves a little bit, and that’s a hard thing, for me too.
Over the past year and four months, I have learned that I absolutely have to ask for help, and ask for it more often than I would ever like. But I can tell you that the willingness of my family and friends to give me the help that I need has been overwhelming. And I know that my daughter is actually better for it. She gets to spend time with a variety of wildly beautiful individuals, and they get to influence her to be the best version of herself possible, and that excites me to no end.
And meanwhile, I am able to do the things that I need to in order to be the best version of myself, the best wife, the best mother, the best sister, the best friend, etc.
I cannot do that without HELP.