I’ve noticed a pattern with many of the women I talk to. A lot of us have a hard time asking for help, and sometimes, we desperately need it. As busy, driven women, we wear many hats: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, co-worker, boss, etc. We like to think that we can do it all by ourselves. This puts a lot of pressure on us. It can be difficult for one person to juggle all of these hats, and to try to balance them all without any help can be plain exhausting.
I’ve come to accept the fact that just because I CAN do it all, does not mean that I HAVE to. Life is so much easier when we feel supported. The people around us love us and want to help us. Many times, all we need to do is ask.
Here is my 3 step process on how to ask for help (and actually get it!):
1) Figure out where your struggles are
Many times, we can feel completely overwhelmed without pinpointing exactly where the source of overwhelm is coming from. It can be helpful to take a look at your daily routine from morning to night, and figure out where the trouble spots are.
Let’s say you are a stay at home mom with a colicky baby. Your mornings start out pretty well, you have a morning routine down, make sure to get out of the house for a little each day, and everything runs smoothly until lunch time. You start to notice that by the afternoon, you are starting to feel exhausted, and during the evening time, “the witching hours” where your baby is extremely fussy, you start to feel extremely stressed out and on edge. During this time, you are trying to get dinner on the table, soothe your crying baby, and spend time with your partner who is just getting home from work.
By looking at your routine, you’ve noticed that the evening hours are the time where you need help. Now that you know this, you can move on to the next step…
2) Find at least 3 possible solutions to your challenge
It can be helpful to come up with more than one solution to our challenges; this way we know that our circumstances are not just happening to us; they are a choice that we are actively making. It can be empowering to think about our challenges in this way.
So, in the above scenario, you might decide that you need some time to yourself each evening, so you will ask your husband to watch your child for an hour each night while you unwind by taking a hot shower, or going for a walk. Or, you might decide that what you really need is to order a meal delivery service so that you can stop stressing out about cooking dinner during this challenging time of day. Or, you may consider joining a moms group so that you can get support from other moms whose babies have colic. After coming up with these 3 options, you may find that one in particular stands out as the first obvious choice, or you may even decide to use all of them. These 3 options can now become your plan of action, or your solution to the challenges you are facing.
Now that you have some options for the type of help you desire, it’s time to move on to the last step…
3) Ask for help and be specific
The secret to asking for help and getting it, is to be specific about what your needs are.
Let’s go back to the same situation we’ve been working with. If your husband comes home from work, and you’re feeling like you’ve had it after a long day, you might be tempted to scream at him and say something like “I can’t do this anymore! I need help!” And while it’s great that you are asking for help, the way that you are asking is not particularly conducive to getting the help you so desperately need, because by simply saying “I need help”, you are leaving it up for interpretation. Your husband’s idea of what type of help you truly need might be completely different from yours. Or, he may not know what he can do to help you without being given direction. This is why it’s so important to get clear on what you need and how you can get it (which you’ve already done if you’ve followed the steps above).
Now that you are prepared, you can have a conversation with your husband and say something like, “The evening hours have been really tough for me. Do you think you could help me by taking the baby for an hour every night so that I can have some time to regroup?” This request for help is simple and clear, and chances are, he will be happy to help you.
And that’s my 3 step process for asking for, and receiving help. I know that it can be difficult to ask for help, but life is so much better when we feel supported. It can be empowering to stand up for yourself, recognize what your challenges are, and take steps to improve your situation.
I hope that you find these steps helpful, and that you are able to get help in whatever way you see fit. What do you need help with? Let me know in the comments below! I’ve learned that sometimes just saying it out loud starts to send a message out to the world that we are ready to receive the help we need. 🙂
Wishing you an easeful week full of help + support.
P.S. If you are a mom looking for some extra support, I have a few spots open for my private coaching packages. Whether you are struggling with relationship challenges, feeling emotional due to lack of sleep, or having trouble adjusting to motherhood or any other major life change, life coaching can help you. Learn more about my coaching packages by clicking HERE or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be my honor to help you. 🙂