There seems to be this in built mechanism in women that make us particularly adverse to asking for help. I don’t know whether it is because we feel like we have to be like some kind of super woman, able to work, be an amazing parent, a loving partner, a great friend and do it all with a clean house and perfect hair and make-up? Or is it because we just don’t know where to go to ask for help?
Hubby and I often have this argument. I end up having a melt down because there is so much to do and so little time to do it. And his response is almost always, “why didn’t you ask for help?”.
He asks if he can cook dinner and I say no “because I enjoy it.” He did the washing a few times and washed the wrong colours together, so was forever banned from using the washing machine. He offers to sort through bills and paperwork and I decline knowing that my filing system only works in my head and no-one elses.
Eventually he stops asking because the answer is always, no I’ll do it.
So I’m my own worst enemy. I like things done my way and am sending myself mad trying to do everything and I end up sacrificing so much for it.
But that was only up until recently. A few months ago we hired a cleaner (not a very good one but a cleaner all the same). She comes fortnightly and vacuums, dusts, wipes the benches and cleans the toilets. It has made a huge difference to my time as that is one task off my list. And not a task I enjoy particularly either.
I also hired a virtual assistant to help me with my business. I HATE admin. I’ve always been terrible at it. Detail isn’t my thing, just ask anyone I’ve ever worked with. So rather than procrastinating on admin tasks I just send them straight to her and she does a fabulous job. It frees up my time to do what I’m good at and what I enjoy. I’ve also been able to send other tasks to her that aren’t my forte and I’m jumping ahead in leaps and bounds!
The last thing I have done is also get better at asking hubby for help. I still like to have control over the washing machine but the time consuming task of hanging out the washing, I have handed to him. I wash the clothes at night and he hangs them on the line before work. He takes care of Olivia’s dinner and bath time so I can focus on other things around the house.
I have a saying that I love and I had forgotten it for awhile. “Every hour you spend doing something that someone else can do, is an hour you aren’t spending doing something only you can do.” Only I can blog about my life or breastfeed Olivia or cook edible meals for our family (sorry sweet!). But I am not the only person in our family qualified to hang out washing or feed a baby her dinner.
Not everyone can afford a cleaner or has a husband that can help around the house or a virtual assistant to help them out (or an amazing mum to help with babysitting). I’m lucky to be in such a position. But we can all take a look at what we do in our lives and ask if there is someone that can help. Sometimes that someone is ourselves and taking the pressure off being perfect.
I know you might think this is a stretch for my Monday wellbeing blogs but actually, being kind to ourselves as mums and asking for help when we need it is a huge part of wellbeing. I was sending myself crazy trying to do it all and I wasn’t doing anything well. If you are in the same position, here are a few tips on how to ask for help.
Be clear on what it is that you need help with
Usually I go to hubby in tears blurting out “I need help”. His response is always “ok, tell me what I can do to help”. Without articulating where I need help we just end up going around in circles. Work out what tasks you are most struggling with. Often it might be the things you are putting off or the things that you absolutely hate doing. Sometimes you are the right person to do them but often you can get someone else to help.
Ask yourself the question – am I the only person qualified to do this task?
If the answer is yes, then sorry. If it isn’t then look around to see who might be able to help you.
Be prepared to hand over control
Control might be the thing holding you back in the first place. I know it is my weakness. Be prepared to step back and let someone else do it because ultimately it is freeing you up to do something else you love or need to do. So go do it!
Review if it isn’t working
It won’t always work out. End the arrangement if you need to. Sack your cleaner and look around for a new one or review the split of household chores with your partner. Don’t end up in a worse situation because you are too afraid to speak up.
Do some help “swaps”
Could a neighbour take your kids to school if you pick all the kids up? Talk to your girlfriends about what they need help with and see if you can help each other out. A great example of this is MamaBake where groups of mums get together, batch cook meals to share so dinner is taken off for each of the families. Genius!
So tell me, what is your advice for asking for help?
Hi there gorgeous mama! Sign up to the Kid Magazine weekly newsletter to receive beauty, style, recipes and parenting tips plus special offers and more!