As moms, we tend to give give give give. We give hugs and snacks and meals and backpacks and shoes and socks and wipes and toys. Giving gets to be a habit, and a lot of times we tend to get out of practice with receiving. For me, I’ll ask for help when I really need it, but I tend to be a self-sufficient do-it-on-my-own type of mom. I hate to inconvenience others, so I’d rather just get it done myself than ask for help.
But there was recently an excellent post over on Fit Bottomed Zen about the art of receiving. It reminded me of the fact that you can’t help others with their oxygen masks if you’re passed out cold from oxygen deprivation, so we should work on truly receiving from others — hugs, compliments, thank yous — so that we’re not depleted and drained.
For me, I’ve started accepting offers of help more, without guilt. The other day I took my two youngest kids to our wholesale club, BJ’s. My youngest has gotten into a pattern of standing in the cart and being ALL DONE with the cart at the most inopportune times. I thought, shoot, why not let the 4-year-old push her stroller while I push the cart? It worked fine … at first. Quickly Owen became too fatigued and/or bored to steer properly, so I was stuck helping him push the stroller while also pushing a fully loaded cart. We miraculously made it through the store without injuring anyone, but when we got to the outside doors I thought, “How am I going to get to our car like this?”
Like a miracle, I hear a voice: “Do you need help?” I could have said no. But that was a joke. Clearly, I needed help. My cart weighed 5,000 pounds, and my 4-year-old was unable to keep up with the stroller. Instead of toughing it out and doing it myself, I said, “You know, yes, I could use a hand. If you could just help him get the stroller to the car, you’d be my hero.” The woman was a saint. As we chatted briefly heading to the car, I found out she had 5-year-old twins, so my struggle hit close to home. It set her back maybe a minute of time, but saved me an immense amount of difficulty and frustration. It was inconsequential to her day, but made all the difference in my day. The kindness gave me hope and made it seem like all was right in the world, until the next spill of a full cup of milk.
Now I’m getting in the habit of getting help. My neighbor’s kids started elementary school this year, and we’ve quickly learned that drop-off and pick-ups are processes that can easily be tag teamed and save at least one of us 20 minutes here and there. We are both learning that it’s totally fine not to do it all when there’s someone else who can help carry the load.
Do you accept help when it’s offered or do you try to do it all? Take a load off, we say. —Erin