People sometimes ask me, What is the single biggest thing you’ve done to get your health on track and manage stress?
My answer is pretty simple. Believe it or not, what’s made the biggest difference in my life has been asking for help. That’s it. Doing so has made me a better mom, wife, and friend.
I learned when and how to ask for help, and I do it A LOT.
Now getting to this place wasn’t easy. Not by a longshot. I grew up with a strong Caribbean mother who carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and did it all alone. I have no clue how, but she did. But as an intuitive child, I knew at a young age that her ability to do it all came with serious consequences. As noble as her intentions were, I knew she would pay a price.
And she did. She’s been paying the price for years and is still paying it today. As a stroke survivor, cancer survivor and a woman who survived two suicide attempts, it’s clear that all those years of doing things without help came with a hefty price tag. One that no woman should ever have to pay.
But I thank God that her hardships have not been in vain. I have learned so much about how to live life differently because I can see, in very clear terms, what my future holds if I don’t.
I make self-care a priority, not because I am selfish, but because I love my kids and my husband more than anything.
I say NO to things often, not because I am mean, but because sometimes I just can’t (or I don’t want to).
I rest. I eat. I exercise. I laugh. I enjoy time with friends and family. And I do it all because I know that living life any other way will ultimately be painful. I know that depression is real. I know that burnout is a reality that far too many woman face.
I know that I want more for myself.
If you are a busy mom like I am and you are doing this thing called life on your own, I want you to know that you don’t have to. I feel your pain. I know your heart aches as much as your body does. I know that your spirit is damaged. I know that you feel stressed out, overwhelmed, and discouraged.
But I also know that there is help and it comes in many forms. I know that if you develop the ability to ask for that help, it will change your life in the most remarkable ways.
When to Ask For Help
Kids are needy. And that’s okay because they should be. They’re kids. But that also means that you have to give them a lot of yourself in a number of ways. It’s draining, really. But just because they are your kids, doesn’t mean to have to do everything for them on your own. Asking for help doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you wise.
The moment that you start to feel like you are struggling, reach out to someone. There shouldn’t be any shame in doing so. Even if your kids are the best kids ever, trying to manage motherhood, work, self-care, family obligations, and a million other things is not easy. It’s hard as hell. Please don’t attempt to do this alone.
You can juggle those balls all you want, but when you start dropping them left and right, you need to be able to take a step back and ask for help. You also need to believe that help will come.
How to Ask for Help
Asking for help isn’t easy. For someone like me, it’s one of the hardest things I had to learn how to do. Once the self-proclaimed queen of “I got it!” I had to learn the hard way that sometimes I just don’t have it. Not at all. Sometimes, I need help.
So how did I start asking for help?
First, I learned how to give myself props for all the things that were getting DONE. Juggling it all was no easy feat and I needed to pat myself on the back for that. Then I had to really sit with myself and imagine what life would look like in five or ten years if I kept doing things on my own. Honestly, it was an ugly sight. I looked run down and stressed out. Hell, I looked like a HOT MESS. Not cool.
And in that moment, I realized that asking for help was no longer optional. It was something I needed to do to survive. So I started to talk to my husband more about what I needed help with instead of getting annoyed because of his inability to read my mind. I also started to call on friends more when I needed support and help. These decisions have been game-changers.
Building my tribe and learning how to lean on them in times of need has allowed me to create such a happier lifestyle. It’s allowed me to stay sane and I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for that.
So wherever you are on this journey called motherhood, please don’t try to do this thing alone. Doing so will break you–no matter how strong you are.
Build a tribe. Ask for help. Receive help.
I promise if you do, it will change your life more than you can imagine.
So who can you turn to today to ask for some help?