I pride myself on being relatively self-sufficient. I lived on my own for a long time until I got married, so I learned how to manage finances, keep my pets alive and get my oil changed regularly. I was never one to need a whole lot of help navigating life, except from my parents who are and have always been on speed dial.
But then we had kids. Talk about a tailspin! Before, I always felt guilty asking for help. I figured everyone was at least as busy as I was, and that I should be able to juggle all the things in my life on my own. That guilt has since flown out the window at tornadic wind speeds now that we have two kids.
We simply would not be able to function successfully in our personal and professional lives without asking for help. I am finally to the point where I do not feel major anxiety when asking family and friends to cover us from time to time. So what does that look like? I have a laundry list of examples, but here are a few.
- I am 99.9% sure my daughters would prefer to live with my parents over us. They get at least once a month sleepovers at Mimi and Pop Pop’s and the girls cannot get us out the door fast enough when we drop them off. If we are planning to travel without kids, we book them at Hotel Mimi and Pop Pop’s. If they are just driving us crazy and we need a break? Another reservation, please! And, oh yeah, they’ve also helped finish our basement, put a playset together and a ton of other things that no one else would ever want to do, let alone volunteer to do. They are also there to dole out requested advice during our daily phone conversations and to just generally help me not lose itfrom time to time. We literally would not make it without them.
- My in-laws are also close and we are so fortunate to be able to make a phone call and have them cover our rear ends frequently as well. Double coverage!
- My dear friend (who is also my daycare provider) covers for me way more than I care to admit when it comes to after-hours work meetings, events and presentations. Her daughters also regularly step in to help babysit and just generally be awesome role models ALL. THE. TIME. Did I mention she potty-trained my kids? I didn’t even want to potty-train my kids. That’s worth all the things.
- My neighbor takes my daughter to school every third Thursday because I have a work event that starts promptly at 8 a.m. No one loves car loop line, but she picks up my extra kid baggage as easily as if I’ve asked her to pass the salt and pepper.
- We have a full lineup of babysitters who don’t judge us on how well our pantry is stocked or how clean our house might be at the moment.
- I have pretty awesome bosses who are flexible when it comes to overlapping work events and family events. My co-workers are equally as great and do not seem to mind too much when one or both of my daughters make a surprise/disruptive appearance at a meeting!
- We landed on a street full of fabulous neighbors who always have anything we could need. A single text drums up an extra egg for a recipe, a much-needed drink or an equally as in-demand carpet cleaner.
- This isn’t even scratching the surface of all the friends and family who are so patient, kind and giving when it comes to our kids and us. The countless snacks handed out, advice/venting sessions and just straight up love is almost overwhelming (in a good way) when I think about it.
I am certainly not qualified to roll out parenting advice, but I would urge anyone to simply stop being nervous about asking for help. Once I did, certain things got significantly easier. People are there for you, whether you have family close or not. More people than you realize understand this demanding stage in our lives, when many of us are trying to be amazing at every single thing we do. Help is out there! Just ask for it!
We are fortunate to have so much love and help in our lives. We have built a support system that holds us up when we are thriving and then picks us up when we fail. I am very cognizant of how lucky we are and I always try to return that love and help in any way I can. As they say, it takes a village, and this is my formal, giant THANK YOU to our village!