Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody!

19 Apr

Do you ever feel like youre drowning, but youre too proud to ask for help?

This song has been playing over and over in my brain as I’ve been taking care of 3 kids (ages 15, 8 and 3) who have all been sick for the last two weeks.  I thought we were out of the woods last night, until my 8-year old daughter came running down the stairs to tell me that my 3-year daughter had just barfed all over herself.  My reaction?  I laughed.  After two weeks, projectile bodily fluids are now comedy instead of tragedy. 

What I’d really like is someone to put on a hazmat suit and take care of my infected offspring so I can have a cup of coffee and read a book in a place where no one is coughing, sneezing or barfing for 30 minutes or someone to just entertain them so I can get to the pile of dishes and never-ending loads of laundry.  What I’d like is some H-E-L-P.

Yesterday, in two different places, I came across the question: what’s your biggest challenge as a mom?  My challenge as a single mom was the same as my challenge as a married mom:  asking for help.   There are a few reasons why it’s so incredibly hard for me.  See if any of these ring true for you:

  1.  My first husband was always very critical anytime I’d ask for help with the kids while we were married and is even more so now that we’re divorced.  He made me feel like I wasn’t doing my duty as a mom if I needed an hour break to go run to Starbucks, grab a latte and recharge or if I asked him for help getting two kids to two different places at the same time (I know, physically impossible right? But somehow he expected me to be able to get them both there on time).
  2. Because of the guilt trip that my ex puts on me, I don’t like to ask DH for help with my two oldest because I feel that they’re my responsibility because they’re not biologically his.  He doesn’t feel that way at all, but I always feel guilty asking him to do things like watch the kids so I can meet a girlfriend for dinner or to pickup my son at practice so I can stay home and hang out with my two youngest (one of which is our BC).
  3. I am stubborn.  I want to be Super Mom/Wonder Woman and get it all done myself, but the truth is, I can’t.  Once I admit that I need help, I feel like a failure and that the Mom Police are going to arrest me for not giving it my all even though I’ve got absolutely nothing left give.  Ever feel like that?

If I had family close by, it probably wouldn’t be such an issue for me, but everyone lives a few states away.  What I learned quickly as a single mom was that I needed to swallow my pride and ask for help from the friends that kept offering.  I had two issues:  often times I needed help getting my kids to their activities when they were scheduled at the same time and sometimes, I just needed a break.  The first time I asked for help was hard, so hard in fact that I would have rather asked someone to pay my mortgage than admit that I needed help with transportation or just a break from my kids.  Early on, I didn’t ask for help often, but when I did, my kids and I both came back home recharged. 

Fast-forward five years and now I’m much better at asking for help.  DH and I have been lucky to have a trio of babysitters (whom we consider family) that will watch the kids at a moment’s notice or even do drop-offs and pick-ups, and I’m a bit more comfortable asking my in-laws for help.  DH has helped me get over the “my kids, my responsibility” hang-up by showing me time and time again that he’s completely committed to my children.   And most importantly, I’ve gotten my ex-husband’s voice out of my head and I know that I’m not any less of a mom for needing or taking a break. 

Whether you’re a single mom or married mom, how do you feel about asking for help?  Do you feel guilty about needing a break from your kids or asking for help with transportation or childcare? Do you rely on family or do you have a good support system of friends that are able to help you?

4 Responses to “Help! I need somebody! Help! Not just anybody!”

  1. Lee April 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I hate asking for help, but once a single mom, it was easier. Sometimes you have to do it. But, I feel guilty when I leave my kids with a sitter or can’t pick them up, because I don’t have them all the time.

  2. the Hope Coach April 19, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Wow what a fantastic post – and I can so relate, especially to that breaking point moment where the tragedy turns hilarious and I’d laugh til I cried! Thank you for going ahead and saying it, shining a light on the struggles of being a (single) mom and feeling overwhelmed. Kudos for progress you’ve made too!

    ~RJ, the Hope Coach

    • BioStep April 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm #

      Thank you. It’s the first thing I tell newly single moms…”take the help!!” They always thank me later.

  3. Talia April 21, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Thank you! I always feel terrible guilt if I have to ask my husband for help with my girls. (they are not his, but his steps) I really feel as though they are MY responsibility not his.

    I was a single mom for years and although terribly difficult, I will admit it was easier than being a stepmom.

    Great post!

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