"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Most Uncomfortable Question

Can you...Could you...Will you... Would you help me?

Asking others for help and letting others help us can be very difficult for many women.  Add to that the responsibilities of motherhood, and it can be one giant guilt-fest.  After all, thanks to one Gloria Steinem, many of us really do try to "have it all." Oh, I'm not implying that we shouldn't or cannot enjoy limitless education, a fulfilling career, spirituality and family life.  We certainly can!  There is just one stipulation... we might need to have a little help along the way.

I am really uncomfortable asking for help.  I literally avoid it at all costs, just as my lovely coworkers and close friends.  If there is something to be done, my general attitude has been, "If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself."  My husband found a lovely way to utilize this, in fact.  When cloth diapering our babies, he says,  he would purposely make mistakes.  He knew I would jump in and take over, thus relieving him of the responsibility.  (He still laughs about this!)  Did he still manage to get a diaper on the baby?  Yes.  Did he interact with and share loving bonding time with baby?  Yes!  Was it always up to my standards?  No.  But the point was he did it!  He shared in the responsibility (at least until I kicked him out of the nursery) and gave me some time to myself, however fleeting.  I just couldn't let go.

Fast forward six years... I am now the president of a company.  I have incredible women working with me that I trust and adore.  Thanks to one in particular, I am learning day by day to delegate and allow others to help me with tasks.  She said to me one day, in so many words,"Letting someone help you is not an imposition to that person, it is granting them the joy of serving you!"  That made such an impact on my heart!

You will find, when you welcome your little one into your life, that there may be a plethora of packages for your little one.  Folks may pop over often in those first few weeks to get a peek at your tiny miracle.  It can seem overwhelming.  Here's a little tip we give our parents, have a time limit on visits and let visitors help you while they are there!  We provide our clients with a handy sign to display during the postpartum period thanking visitors for coming and recommending some tasks they may want to assist the new parents with.  We, as your doulas, also provide postpartum assistance with household chores, meal preparation, cleaning and childcare.  It's okay to ask for help and, more importantly, it is good for your health!  Write a postpartum care plan and delegate tasks to your partner, your doula and whatever family and friends are willing.

I'm still not always comfortable asking for assistance, but I have learned to accept it.  I love my work and I love my family.  Sometimes, it can be very hard to balance.  As I watch my children grow, I see how quickly time passes and I don't want to miss a moment. I won't be at every ballgame or every recital, but when I can rely on a colleague to plan an event or trust a friend to pick up the kids from school, I'll do my best to let them.  



  1. While I appreciate the sentiment of your post, "blaming" Gloria Steinem for anyone's life stresses is ridiculous!! She never tried to have it "all"; she never married until after middle age, and never had children. But she DID want women's decisions to work or not work, marry or not marry, reproduce or not reproduce, to be honored by the law as well as the culture.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Keri. I was definitely not "blaming" anyone for life stresses. Certainly no one can make anyone do anything they do not want to do. I've made my choices in life and I am proud of all that I do. My reference to Gloria was simply a nod to one of the prominent figures and movements that has influenced us all, positively even!


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