The Ask For Help

It was one of those days where you had to lean into the wind. Bend yourself into a C so you didn't get blown away. Coming out of the store, the wind blew so hard the cart swung left and gave my toddler two skinned knees. It picked up babygirl's blanket and blew it 30 feet away where it wrapped like a burrito around the metal poles of a stop sign. My hands were as full as my cart because there is never enough room, and as I squinted through my hair whipping around my face, I wasn't sure where to turn, what move to make next.

Every thing is worse when you can't see because of your stupid hair.

I saw someone approaching. A friendly face watched my struggle as she walked toward the doors.

All sorts of words lumped in my throat like a hunk of dried out playdough. I needed her. But it was so hard to admit it.

I swallowed the playdough, it went down with a burn, and in a moment of courage and insanity I asked, "I - I'm sorry, but would you mind helping me?"

She held the cart while I picked up my crying boy and ran to unwrap the cover. She was about to go inside but I was reckless with the ask and made it again, "Would you mind helping me to my car? I'm not sure I can make it with this crazy wind."

She told me, "Of course, I'd be happy to. I remember how it was." And we walked to the car with me awkwardly making small talk, the wind taking away every other word. 

We parted and I was left windblown, but grateful.

***

My mother always tells me that I have to ask for the help I need. People want to give it to you, but if you don't ask, how can they know what to give?

But why is it so hard to make the ask? 

I can't tell you the amount of times I've muttered frustrations under my breath as I've taken my children to appointments made for adults and they've screamed and cried and given everyone within 300 feet a headache. Or how how stressed and strung out I've been preparing the appetizer, main course and dessert for guests because I won't let others bring something. And it never fails that I try to carry all the grocery bags into the house in just one load, praying the bags don't break as the handles leave burn lines in my arms.

I am too proud, too stubborn, too scared to ask for the help I need. 

We are our own worst obstacle. 

We are our own best advocate. 

It is humbling and brave to ask for help. It goes against the grain to admit our weakness, our inability to succeed on our own, the reality that you in fact cannot. do. it. all. You never could before, but children have a way of making your struggle loud and glaring and exposed.

If there is anything we can learn from Gwyneth Paltrow and her "mother's special," it's that it takes trainers and nannies and stylists and managers and assistants, with a side of a whole lotta money, to get it all done.

We were not made to do it on our own. 

It takes a village.

So have courage and make the ask. 

Carry on, mommas.

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