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Headless Mom

I've found that, for me, it's easier to ask for help by prefacing the question with a statement like "[situation x] is really overwhelming me lately. I know that you're great at X. Would you have time to help me with that?" Then the person is acknowledged for their expertese first!

Mert

Asking for help and offering help at the same time works for me. We set up carpools for all activities. I couldn't drive to practice because I was at work, but I did all of the pick ups after practice. IME it works best with other WOH parents. The families with SAHPs (except the ones with large families) sometimes prefer to drive themselves.

amanda

I'm always happy to help someone in need. Isn't that what true Christians do? I think that you've asked some of the wrong people before, or people that were in a bad place, but don't let that scare you off from asking others for help in the future. Just try some different folks!

Shelly

I don't usually ask for help because there was a time when I didn't need the help. I did help others as much as I could because that is how I was taught.

When the time did come when I REALLY needed the help, a few people did come help for awhile. I had a 10 year old who just had his world turned upside down when I had to be put on bedrest in the hospital for two months and then it got worse when his new baby brother was born early and loaded with dozens of birth defects. Despite family in the area and church members, no one really helped. A few meals here and there, but nothing else. Over the years we have had to be in/out of the hospital with said baby...who is almost 15, and no one helps. My family refuses to come to CA to help and my in-laws are bent o destroying instead of helping. So I have learned to do things differently and I don't ask for help because I know I cannot rely on anyone for help.

Megan

I'm shocked at some of the comments you've said you got when you asked others to help. I feel like you either know some real jerks, or you're like me, and the one nasty comment stands out over the 20 nice comments you got that week. Yes?

But I feel like the first two statements contradict themselves, in a way. We aren't supposed to do it all; we're supposed to ask others for help. What if you got asked to help during an extremely busy week? Would you feel comfortable saying no, or would you break your neck to help? And if you said yes, would you be secretly resentful and grumpy? Shouldn't it make a difference if it's a family member in crisis v.s. a friend who needs her kid picked up?

I'm struggling with many of the same things lately. I don't ask for help because I tell myself the people I'd ask are even busier than I am, they'll see me as only ever talking to them when I need help because I'm not good at that small talk thing, or that it'll take more time for me to explain what I need help with than to just do it myself. I gotta work on it.

And I've gotta start saying no.

suburbancorrespondent.blogspot.com

I don't hesitate to ask for help, but I try to put it so a person can choose not to help without feeling bad. In other words, let your needs be known, without putting anyone on the spot. Most people mean well, but don't know what to do. There are also those who just don't get it and will make mean comments such as the ones you talked about a few days ago.

Also, sometimes you just have to find the right sort of people. If you are hanging out with people who have one or two kids and pride themselves on the fact that they are not a burden to anyone, well...that type is laboring under the delusion that self-sufficiency is not only possible, but also next to Godliness.

NOT ALL PEOPLE WITH ONLY ONE OR TWO KIDS ARE LIKE THIS (disclaimer)

People with big families tend to be more interactively helpful, because none of us can survive without it. There is frequent trading of kids to facilitate everyone's being where they need to be at any particular time. But I have also known some people with only 2 children to be helpful in this way. Once, when I expressed dismay to a neighbor that she was doing all the driving to some church activity our kids shared, she said, "But you have little kids now. When your youngest are older, you'll be paying it forward, don't worry."

So I have always kept that "paying it forward" mentality in mind. But I also need to agree with "Less is more." It might be unreasonable for you to expect to be able to do everything you would have been able to do with just 2 kids. That doesn't mean your kids are deprived - they were lucky to have siblings who will be grown-ups with them and who will have kids to be cousins to their kids. The payoff is just later in life, is all (I mean, if we're lucky!).

So, less activities can mean a more peaceful home life or more not-crazy dinners or just a more calm mother. Less activities might mean more quality of life, in general.

For some people, that isn't true. They are happier having a frenzy of activities and a packed calendar. It is a very individual thing. But you have to look at your own life and decide which is better for you - neither way is a foregone conclusion, is all.

And, no matter what, as you know, the teen years just get crazy. Even with my restricting activities, etc, there are just not enough hours in the day sometimes, and we are eating junk food several nights in a row some weeks. So here's my advice:

Find like-minded acquaintances.
Examine your basic assumptions and expectations.
Embrace whatever chaos remains.

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  • Carmen Staicer is a whirlwind of energy and execution, who never sleeps and drinks way too much coffee. She works from home as Social Media Programs Manager for SheKnows, and is the mom to six kids, most of whom play instruments, sing or dance and all of whom are much smarter than she will ever be. In other words, her house is never ever quiet or still. A concentration of asthma, food allergies, spectrum disorders and learning disabilities means that she spends an awful lot of time second guessing herself and Dr. Googling, as well as learning to cook everything the family might like to eat. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, boxing (she has her Black Belt in Muay Thai), sleeping, exploring coffee shops, photography, ballet class and cooking. She excels in being a smart mouth and has her major in sarcasm, with a dual minor in BS studies and avoiding laundry.