I am not sure when the word help made it on the four-letter word list. For most of us of mommas, we would feel more comfortable letting another word slip than to utter that we need help.
In a culture that tells women that we should do it all and do it all well, admitting we have or often need assistance brings shame or guilt. We mumble that we have a house cleaner, we hurry through our child’s list of caretakers, we hide behind tinted windows in the grocery pick up. But why?
The power CEO you follow on Instagram . . . guess what? She has help and a lot of it. We don’t criticize her for having an assistant, a housekeeper, a nanny, a dog walker, a personal shopper. No, instead of accepting the reality—there is a small village of people who make her life doable—we criticize ourselves when we do not measure up to an unrealistic standard.
We think we can be the maid, escort service, personal chef, full-time employee, caregiver, all while looking good, and doing it by ourselves.
We don’t win any special awards because other people have help while we have decided to do it on our own.
Asking for help does not make you a bad mom, a weak person, lazy, or incompetent. In the 21st century, when we talk about our “tribes,” we are giving the nod to years of tribal, communal living. Why did people live together? Because it made life easier. They shared the weight of the responsibilities—cooking, cleaning, taking care of children, outside work—they did not rest on the shoulders of one.
So as women who wear many hats, can we lay down the negative stigma associated with asking for assistance?
Can we all raise our hand confidently and say, “Yes! I would love some help!”
Can we acknowledge that both mothers who work in and outside the home could benefit from an extra pair of hands?
Can we agree that if one woman chooses to elicit help and the other does not, that does not make one lazy and the other a snob?
Can we stop holding ourselves to the standards of filtered, edited, cropped images of perfection?
Can we accept that our worth is not based on whether we completed a task independently or with the aid of others?
So ask for your help when you need it, or don’t. But let go of the negative feelings the word might evoke in your life or on your opinion of others. Life wasn’t meant to be lived alone; don’t make it harder than it already is.