Standing Alone and Asking For Help
Mom Crush Monday #MCM
Why is it that we, as mothers, so often feel the need to conquer the world on our own? Although for some, it may be an issue of control (who doesn’t like to be in control?), I think many women feel pressure from some archaic, socially driven perception of what a mother should be. This pressure or stress can be good at times, like motivating you to get that pile of laundry done! It can also be the thing that drives you crazy and leaves you in a state of feeling “not enough” when you leave the laundry on the guest bed for three days. (Or is that just a thing that I do?) I hope my story about asking for help can be used as a friendly reminder to say NO to doing it all on your own and to instead embrace your support system of family, friends, and other mothers.
My experience as a mother is lifelong and so is my journey with asking for help. I had my first child at 17, right after finishing high school. I knew from the moment that I found out I was pregnant that there was a long road of asking for help ahead of me. This was not because I was wise beyond my years, it was because I was terrified and largely clueless about the Motherhood Transition. I was the youngest child in my family and did not grow up babysitting or spending any time with young children. I was also not the girl who had dreams of starting a family right away, so I had to build the idea of motherhood entirely from scratch. I was surprised at the amount of intuition I had as a young mom but I also knew I was in a position that I was not prepared for. It was from this self-awareness that I allowed myself to drop any pride or expectations I had of what a mother “should” be, and reach out to others, even if it might make me look like I didn’t know what I was doing. Let’s be real, I didn’t know what I was doing and most of the time I still don’t!
As a young single mom in the military, I didn’t know that there are women who also attempt to “do it all.” I was so busy that I was oblivious to the way the other moms were doing things. I also didn’t have many friends my age that were experiencing motherhood, so I had no frame of reference. I think because I felt the sting of a less than desirable reputation as a young mother, I stopped worrying about what other people thought (thankfully) very early on. I never realized that I was one of the lucky few who was entirely willing to ask for help until I had my second child about a decade later. With my second child, I had BIRTHFIT, I was confident and knowledgeable, and I had mom friends! It was great! It was around this time that I also noticed how many women walk around trying to make the world see them as perfect, while internally, desperately in need of help.
With my second child I was married and in my late twenties with a huge support system. I still asked for help, ALL of the help. I hired an amazing nanny, I told my friends when I was struggling with postpartum depression, or that my child was NOT a great sleeper and that “no, my house isn’t clean, yes, you can still come over.” I struggled through the hard times with my tribe and I celebrated the good times with my tribe. Hank is three now and I still ask for help all the time and truly try to be transparent with the reality of our perfectly imperfect life.
If asking for help goes against your nature and terrifies you, start small! You don’t have to let down all of your walls at once, you can ask for advice, share a struggle, or talk to someone close to you about a fear. Help doesn’t have to come in the form of physical actions, help can be a quick conversation or vent session. Help is whatever you need from someone else and that looks different for all of us.
I encourage you, as women and mothers; please keep it real, let your guard down, and ask for help. In doing so you will probably encourage someone else to take that step too. It really does take a village!
Audrey A. ArnoldBIRTHFIT Lacey @birthfit_lacey