Why do so many people - especially Warrior Moms, wait until they are incredibly overwhelmed and at or approaching burn-out before they ask for help?
Asking for help before we reach the point of burn-out is one of the best ways we can practice self-care and help our families.
I recently had the opportunity to interview a Warrior Grandma. She's helped raise her two grandsons since they were diagnosed with autism at a young age. She's been intricately involved – and watched her daughter and local friends as they've struggled to manage special needs care. One piece of advice she has for fellow Warrior Moms is to ASK for Help! She emphasized the importance of figuring out a small list of items your friends and family can do to assist you.
One idea she suggested is to ask people if they can help with in-home respite. This allows the Warrior Mom to get some needed time to rest and recharge, in her own home, while a trusted friend or family member watches over her child or children. Many Warrior Moms are responsible for their children twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. With in-home respite, the mom is present in case there is an emergency, but they have that necessary down time.
This sage Warrior Grandma is confounded by the number of Warrior Moms that struggle with this issue.
As I card-carrying member of the "I can do it club", I totally resonate with having a hard time asking others for help. It's easier for me to offer assistance than it is to accept it.
I wanted to look further into the reasons why allowing others to take care of us is so difficult for Warrior Moms.
I asked a few questions and some of the moms went deeper. A couple choked up and would go silent before their words came rushing out. Some of the comments that resonated with me were the following:
"It was hard for me to ask for help until probably middle school, because there was a certain amount of embarrassment over my kids melt-downs and the judgement that I would see in other people's eyes."
"By the time my child got to middle-school - I'd met a wonderful group of women and I wasn't alone anymore. And quite frankly I didn’t care what people thought at that point."
Several women voiced the fear that if they asked for help, they would be seen as not capable of taking care of their child.
Other concerns voiced were - if they asked for assistance it would make their child's diagnosis real and permanent.
Some moms seemed to think if they just kept going, putting one foot in front of the other things would get better – and one said, “I didn’t realize it. I guess I had a form of magical thinking, that if I just kept going, things would get better, and meanwhile I was too busy to really think about what we were going through.”
Too often we get upset with people and as the Warrior Grandma said, "THEY CAN'T READ YOUR MIND!!"
So, when someone says, "Tell me if you need anything." Be ready with a short list of items you could use some assistance with. (for ideas, see the June 12 blog https://www.juliecadman.com/monthly-motivation/part-two-a-friend-that-gets-you).
Trust me, I get it when you say - "I have no idea how they can help me." At times life can feel so incredibly overwhelming that we believe we can't take even a second to write down a list of what we're doing. We feel like we just have to keep going forward.
If you ask for help and the response is no, or you get crickets, don't let it deter you. The person you asked is either overwhelmed themselves, incapable of offering assistance or news flash, they are NOT one of your people. The person may not be worthy of being inside your inner circle. This can be particularly difficult if it's a close family member that you've asked, only to be told "No."
So, for me and other Warrior Moms that need to hear this - "Don't be afraid to ask for help!"
I'd love to hear from you. I hope this blog encourages you to practice self-care and to go forward unafraid to Ask for Help!
One of my BIG self-care items this year was to write and publish my novel.
"UnMasked" was released on June 13, 2023 and is available for order on Amazon at: https://a.co/d/fCkRf8z as well as Barnes & Noble and available in some Indie bookstores. "UnMasked" features a Warrior Mom, Jen - the mom sandwiched between exhaustion, work, her family and home responsibilities and the increasing needs of her aging parents.
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