Asking for Help
When I was a single mother with two young children I often felt I was drowning in a sea of daily chores. Mow the lawn, cook three meals a day, do house repairs, laundry, chauffeur kids around, help with homework and somehow manage to work and take care of the kids by myself. And oh yes, sleep, the luxury that sometimes had to be sacrificed.
Meanwhile, I had a friend in an almost identical situation except she always seemed to have people falling all over themselves to mow her lawn, ferry her kids around and cook meals for her. It probably didn’t hurt that she was a beautiful blonde with a great personality but I can’t attribute the assistance she received to those qualities. Beyond the superficial, a more substantial difference between us existed. She wasn’t afraid to ask for help whereas I took the role of martyr. Acting like I was fine yet suffering in silence so of course, everyone assumed I was handling things well. My smart friend made it clear to her friends, church members and co-workers that she could use some help. People were all too willing to take her kids for an afternoon, repair her car and spend a few hours doing yardwork for her.
Although I admired her for her ability to reach out and ask for help, I admit I never seemed to be able to do it. Was it stubbornness, pride or fear of rejection? Whatever it was, I know it was a flaw in my attitude. I suspect my life and my children’s would have been a tad easier if I’d admitted it was all sometimes too much for me.
If you’re a single parent I strongly encourage you to NOT be like me and instead, admit you could use a little help. Ask your family to watch your kids occasionally, ask a neighbor kid if they can mow your lawn for a reasonable price, check in with other parents to inquire if they want to carpool. If you have a cooperative ex-spouse in the picture, request his/her assistance with some of the child care responsibilities. Maybe they would like to spend an extra evening helping with homework or driving to soccer practice.
I know that for some of us, asking for help is extremely difficult but it is not a weakness on your part to need help. Even in two parent homes, the adults are often overwhelmed and you are doing the job that is supposed to be done by two people! You need and deserve an occasional break. Not only will you be better off but your children will benefit as well!