Like tons of other working, busy moms, I keep in touch with a lot of my mom friends in other states through Facebook. But the other day, as I read still more posts directly and indirectly expressing the desire for help, an annoying feeling kept nagging at me.
I felt frustrated.
Maybe even a little disappointed.
It wasn't that I was annoyed that others weren't stepping up to help (although I certainly did feel that, too). And it wasn't that I didn't want all those incredible ladies to ask for a hand, or that I spitefully wanted them to have a rough time. I genuinely believe there is zero shame in asking for someone to support you when you logistically can't make something work, or when you don't have the knowledge or skills to move forward. But these women were meeting every obligation with absolute brilliance. And what irritated me was that, rather than recognize and revel in their accomplishments, they seemed blind to their own fierceness, to be selling themselves short and focusing instead on how difficult things were.
When I had my kids, they were 13 months apart, and both were cesareans. I hadn't been in Minnesota that long, so I was pretty much on my own as my husband went to work. I didn't know how I was going to do it by myself, especially since I was trying to work from home, too. I struggled. I cried. I wished there were others to take some of the weight off.
But guess what. I worked. I healed. I learned out how to carry two kids and groceries. I managed to find a schedule that didn't make my head explode. And I can look back at the experience and see that, however much I might have wanted someone to step in, no one really needed to. I figured it out. I discovered and honed my skills. I was the bad-arse. Me.
And that's what I wanted for those women. It's what I want for you. For you to know that simply feeling overwhelmed doesn't make you incapable or less intelligent. For you to see the amazing things you're doing right now and to understand that, even though it might be hard to go it alone, you're only just scratching the surface of what you can do and overcome, of what you will make happen when you know you have to make it work. You might want help, but that doesn't always mean you need it.
To be clear, there's a legitimate time for crutches. And for the love of Pete, use them when that time is in front of you. My intent isn't at all to say you simply have to grin and bear it. You don't, and I get that just because you can do something doesn't mean you'll want to. But don't misunderstand the natural human desire for relief and ease as your license not to walk on your own when in fact you can. Recognize your strength as you fight your way out of corners. Challenge yourself. Push. Find the limit. Because I can almost bet that it's much further out than you believe it is.