The truth is, lately, I found myself needing an extra set of hands. But not those in the picture. Those are just entirely creepy and remind me of the Weeping Angels on Doctor Who. If I was going to put something whimsical in crown molding, I’d prefer a mermaid. Or George Clooney’s face. But, I digress.

I’ve always been mostly on my own when it came to juggling insanity. Bills. Jane when she’s sick. My own sick leave to take care of Jane when she’s sick. Work. Bills. Did I mention bills? I’ve gotten really good, or desensitized depending on what day it is, at figuring these things out on my own in the past three + years of parenthood.  But this month I had to cry uncle.

My mom came to stay and help take care of Jane last week. The kiddo had a stomach bug that put her in a mood that could only be rivaled by Mike Tyson, circa his irrational ear biting stage. I’d exhausted my spare days of sick leave already, and the apartment was trashed, and deadlines loomed at work, and Jane looked at me at one point and said “My stomach hurts. I don’t like you. I want ice cream” and I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. So Mom came and cooked and cleaned. I went back to work and came home to a happy kid who had all the ice cream she wanted. I had help. Reinforcements. Someone to grab the other side of life’s rocking chair and put it upright again.

There’s some sort of built-in code for women that makes us feel like we’re failing if we ask for help. And we definitely feel like we’re failing if we find ourselves locked in our own bathrooms, sitting on the floor crying, looking at the hair on the floor and thinking, “I should be bald right now. I’m practically molting.” Those are some serious low points. But they sure as hell don’t make us failures.

I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like feeling needy. And I don’t like it, and try to avoid it, because I’ve been let down so many times in my adult life. When you reach out for help, or encouragement, or even companionship, and find yourself still alone, rejected, and ignored, over and over, something inside of you shrivels up and dies. You seek to become a self-contained unit that needs no one. You decide you would rather do this life thing all by yourself than reach out your hand and draw back a nub. Because then you’re still in need of help, and hand-less. It’s no bueno and it warps. It scars. And you put on your mask and smile and insist everything is okay. But it’s not. And neither are you.

In all of this turmoil and upheaval in the past six months, I’ve rediscovered that I can ask for help and receive it after all. I am surrounded by people who love me. People who will help when I ask. My parents. My friends. My always patient long distance boyfriend who spends hours every week Face Timing me and making me laugh and sending me texts where he spells things like a British person (he’s Canadian, and he lived in London for a long time, so he’s just all kinds of adorable).

And I’ve found that the part of me that shriveled and died years ago is growing back, the part of me that is willing to take the risk and admit I’m not okay, and ask for help or a shoulder to cry on, and get it. The part of me that’s vulnerable and not Super Woman and needs to be, well, not alone, is back. And it feels good. It feels human. It’s not failure.

My mom gave me a big hug before she left last week (after she’d cleaned the kitchen and stocked it with groceries). She smiled and said, “You’re going to live through this. You may never look the same, but you’ll live through it.” It made me laugh. And I teared up because I was grateful. Am grateful.

Help and understanding and relief are just right there, within arms reach.

We just have to ask for it.






  1. butterflyinme says:

    I have a hard time asking for help, too (so my sweet husband, but you’re right. This one spoke to me. 🙂 Thank you! And, hugs…


  2. Laura says:

    I am not one to ask for help, but after having surgery last week, I’ve had to turn over all responsibilities to my husband. It’s hard to see the house not as clean or neat as I usually have it & to worry that my kids are eating healthy, but I have no choice. And honestly, each day it gets easier. I think that this experience is a wake up call for me to ask for help more often & also to relax the demands I put on myself.


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