Having someone help you doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you’re not in it alone.Anonymous
Asking isn’t easy…
Asking for help is not easy. It takes admitting that we can’t do it all. We can’t be parents, caretakers, home keepers, therapists (x10), and teachers. We can’t continue on as if everything is still the same as it was 8 weeks ago. The burden of dealing with the practical realities in addition to the emotional burden of adjusting to a global pandemic is too much to take on alone. There, I said it. When the thoughts in my mind start turning to “I can’t!” my body is trying to alert me to the fact that I need help not that I should give up.
It takes humility and proactivity to ask for help. Complaining to someone or withdrawing can be our default. Even when it is just a small thing that I need, I often avoid asking. For example, right now my kids need pajamas. We never have enough clean before the laundry is done again. I know that there are easily friends that have hand me downs, but I have resisted asking for help.
How can it be easier?
Looking at our attitudes can make asking for help easier. If I really examine why I haven’t asked a friend for kids’ pajamas, it’s because I don’t want to admit that I don’t have everything under control. I don’t want to confront that buying pajamas is outside of our budget. The idea of figuring out where to buy reasonably priced pairs paralyzes me, and so I just never get around to it. Getting all that out of my head and on paper helps me see that my fear is holding me back.
Reminding yourself that people are eager to help can make asking for help easier. Many are looking for a way to contribute during this bizarre season. Asking for and receiving help also allows members in our community to build a network of support that will strengthen our society in the long run. I know that ESP wants to serve our families in any way that we can. We can also connect you to other resources. Please, if there’s anything that you need, reach out, and let us know.
Identifying specific needs can make asking for help easier. Often, people will offer to help, but without a specific direction for what exactly they can do, their offer never turns to action. When someone offers to help, take them up on it by asking for something specific. Several weeks ago as I attempted to start homeschooling my kids, I figured out quickly that one device between the 5 of us and all of our various zoom calls, therapies, school assignments, and my job would not be workable. Several friends of mine had continuously asked how they could help us. I knew I needed to ask, but I didn’t want to. Still, I got over myself and I sent them all a message asking if they might have a spare device that we could borrow. After I reached out, a woman I don’t even know from the church of one of those friends bought us a new Chromebook! The level of frustration this has saved us is huge, and I never could have expected this stranger’s generosity. But I had to step out and ask!
You may have needs in several different areas: physical, relational, practical, emotional. Set aside some quiet time to identify any needs that you have, think of a trustworthy and reliable person or organization that may be able to help, and coach yourself through actually asking for that specific thing. I think you will be pleasantly surprised as I have been.
Encourage your kids to ask for help as well. It is a learned skill to be comfortable recognizing needs and knowing when we need help to fulfill them. As I realize how uncomfortable I am asking for help, I want to impart to my children that asking for help is safe and that help is there for them!