When I say I am an independent, private person, what I mean is I don’t like others seeing my seen-better-days Target knickers and wondering why I have 10 cans of corn in the pantry. And, when I say I was recently ill, what I mean is I found myself in hospital recovering from surgery, and the indignity of being placed on my bed pan by the good looking male nurse.
For this ‘in control’ mum one of the toughest pills I’ve had to swallow has been asking for help. That tiny capsule of dependence was a razor blade sliding down my throat, but it also brought with it one big injection of humility!
For many women today blazing the trail of independence and accomplishment, there’s an underlying sense of self-doubt and guilt in saying “I need help”, and a misguided fear in being seen as a burden. Indeed, many mothers like myself are loathed to outsource even a single task.
It was a stroke of genius then that I took to hospital the book Women Don’t Ask (ok there were some sneaky mags packed too). Authors Linda Babcock & Sara Laschever revealed women need to re-think how to ask for what they want in ways that feel comfortable and possible. It got me thinking…..just how can we mums request help in ways that suit us best, and without feeling as if we are imposing?
Shout outs online. A close friend spent the last year managing her husband’s illness and their support needs through an online scheduling program. It was a challenging time for them, and this process minimised phone calls as their friends matched their own availability with each request. Subsequently, as a couple they were able to focus on the things that mattered most.
Check in with support systems. The local directory features many. For example in our community a low-cost chauffeuring service transports cancer patients to their scheduled treatments with caring volunteer drivers.
Be lifted up by your school. My child’s lovely school has a ‘Food for Thought’ program which ensures a delivery of frozen, home-made meals made by other parents.
And, here’s some extra tips to help YOU ask for help:
- Make a Weekly Help Chart
- Ensure your child’s school knows your situation.
- E-mail or text requests with dates, times, locations
- Delegate the school run
- Hand the shopping list over
- Sign up to doddle.com, or equivalent on-line scheduling calendar capturing critical dates for friends
- Check with your hospital’s home-care assistance program
- Seek support services of Anglicare, Salvation Army or your local church
During my illness, I felt humbled by the generosity of others, mostly busy mums themselves who generally wanted to help and feel useful
One day I’ll pay it forward. But now that I’m better I’m off to retrieve 20 pairs of clean knickers shoved behind the wall of canned goods in my pantry.
Written By – Andrea Rowe
About the author:
Andrea Rowe is a mum of two primary schoolers, who can vaguely remember a pre-kid life of white cushion covers and drinking from cups that didn’t have Tinkerbell or Thomas the Tank on them. When not researching 20 top meals to cook with creamed corn, Andrea has a small copywriting and communications business which keeps her on her toes between the school runs!
Contact: Andrea Rowe, email [email protected]
Based on the pointy end of Victoria’s beautiful Mornington Peninsula.