Isn't it funny how the advice you dish out is sometimes the advice that you need the most?
While I was cooking dinner, HeyMama was outside, attempting to put the bikes away in the basement. Due to a heavy bike and some concrete steps, I doubted her ability to actually complete the task. But I gave her the go-ahead to try, and checked in on her after a few minutes. I peered off the upstairs deck to find her walking in circles on the patio, crying. When I asked what was wrong, she said she couldn't open the basement door. She'd been walking in circles and crying for a few minutes by the time I found her, poor kid. I asked my standard question: "What would have been a faster way to get help?" She knew the answer: "Ask for it."
This is my third pregnancy. It's been 4 years since my last one, but I still remember a few things. And I've definitely learned a few things. Like the necessity of asking for and accepting help.
I've learned that there are no medals for martyrs when it comes to motherhood. There are things that you just need to do. You don't get bonus points for doing them the hard way. Oh, you can do things the hard way if it makes you happy. Like natural birth. Or breastfeeding despite thrush, bleeding nipples, and a ravenous baby that eats for 45 minutes every 2 hours. Or using cloth diapers despite having infants that poop prolifically 4 times a day. Hey, if you feel strongly about the benefits of doing things the hard way (as I did in the past), then go for it. Stick to your guns, let morals be your guide, and go for it. But don't expect a medal for doing it.
In the past, I worked up until the day I gave birth or became too physically limited to work anymore. In the past, I declined offers of assistance, insisting that I was strong enough to do it all myself. "Use it or lose it!" was my mantra. I tried to do things the hard way. I didn't want to be weak.
Not any more. I ask the employees at the pet store to get the 30 lb bags of dog food off the shelf for me. I let the baggers at the grocery store load groceries into my car. I asked my brother-in-law to haul watermelons up the stairs for me. I let my sister-in-law help with the laundry and cooking while they were visiting. I take the elevator up ONE FLOOR at work if I don't feel like taking the stairs. I ask BestestHusband to lift and move things for me around the house. Because, well, it's harder than it used to be, I really don't want to do it, and I'm 8+ months pregnant. I can accept a little help here and there.
Trust me, this is a big deal that I'm willing to accept help. It's always been a challenge for me. It's been something that's been an active DETRIMENT to my personal and professional development. But I'm proud to say that I'm working on it. I'll let my friend take the girls to the zoo on Friday. Despite the fact that she has a preschooler and infant of her own. This imposition truly makes me cringe. But I want her to accept help from ME in the future. (HINT HINT, ANNE!) And people must give and take help to make the system work. I'll let my neighbor watch the girls next Wednesday while I go to an OB appt. I'll let her family host us for dinner that evening. Despite that fact that they have 3 kids already. (Stifling a cringe...) We're doing a potluck meal, so that automatically makes me feel better. But still, it's a stretch for me, and I'm going to stretch. Heck, if my last week of work is too painful, I'll start my leave early. And "cook" sandwiches for dinner. Or let Subway "cook" them for me. And if Little Miss decides to take a leisurely trip into the world, I would even consider pain relief for this delivery. Ok, maybe. This might still be a bit of a stretch for me. But I'm willing to stretch and CONSIDER it...
I keep reminding myself that there are no medals for martyrs. No medals. I am blessed by others when I accept their help, and I allow them to be a blessing when I do. So I need to do it. Wish me luck.
In what aspects of your life should you accept more help?