I’m Not Okay! Taking the Shame Out of Asking for Help

Photo by Marc Falardeau

My oldest son started taking group tennis lessons a few weeks ago.  It’s exciting to watch him discover the wonderful world of tennis, as it is the sport that I played growing up. What’s not exciting is that tennis lessons are at 9am every Saturday morning! Last Saturday, my husband had to play for an event, so I got my 2-year-old and 4-year-old up and ready to go to the courts. After a crazy first week of virtual teaching, I was exhausted, and we were, of course, running late. My 2 main concerns? Clothes on & tennis racket in hand. We show up at 9:15 and after their first break, Robbie runs over to me and says, “Mom, do we have water?”

My baby is tennis ready!

Four letters words were sounding off in my head, as I remember that I didn’t grab any water on the way out of the house. Now, he’s asking over and over again, louder and louder, “Mom, where’s the water?!” So I’m whispering to him that we’ll get him some later while nervously looking around hoping that no one hears him, and my incompetence as a mother is not discovered.

I looked over and a kind mom of two boys takes out a water bottle from her bag, looks at me with a look of understanding and says, “I’ve got an extra.” I started to say what I always say, “Oh, no we’re okay,” but I didn’t. Because we weren’t okay, and my baby needed water. Was I going to let my pride stand in the way? I couldn’t. I accepted the water, and I told the woman thank you.

You’ve been here, I know. It may not have been a water bottle at a tennis court on a hot day, but you’ve rejected help when you really needed it. You want people to think that you have it together, but you don’t. And the good news? None of us does. And what’s even better? There’s more power is asking for and accepting help than in pretending that you don’t need it.

Help at Home

There is no shame in asking for help at home. In other countries, many families have what is called a helper. This is a person who lives in your house and takes care of household tasks: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. As a result, you are freed up to focus on work, family and other endeavors. However, many of us in America who are not wealthy (yet!) must manage full-time work, meal prep, cleaning, caring for children, and other responsibilities at the same time.

My kitchen sink more often than not!

I don’t care how easy Susan or Tonya or Jim makes it look, taking care of a home is not easy. And this is why it is okay to get help. Whether it is hiring a part-time nanny, having a cleaning company clean your house once a month, calling on a person in your support system to keep your kids for a couple of hours, there is no shame in admitting, “I don’t have it all together.” Because newsflash: none of us do.

Help in Relationships

Relationships are hard. They just are. Especially marriages. Everyone puts their best #relationshipgoals pics on social media. Yes, sometimes it is a façade. But sometimes it’s not: some couples are genuinely in love, going on adventures and experiencing great romance. But it’s not happening every moment of every day. There are soooo many challenges that couples face that you and I will never see. Think about your own relationship or past relationships. Did you broadcast your issues on the Internet? No. So don’t think that just because you see a couple in their best light that they are not working through some of the same issues you are. You are not alone, and you are not the only one.

As a married woman, I have a 2-3 married friends that I can confide in. With these women, I have been very transparent during rocky times in my marriage. I confide in these women because I know that (1) they will not judge me or my marriage, (2) they will help me to see more than just my perspective, and (3) they will give me Godly wisdom and advice. And sometimes, you may need professional or pastoral help: a person or couple who can see things objectively. Whatever avenue you take, seeking out help from wise individuals can transform your relationship for the better.

Help at Work

At work, there are 3 types of people to get help from: a mentor, a friend, and a peer. The mentor is the person who has been where you are and is now where you want to be. You ask this person the questions you may be too afraid to ask in a staff meeting or group setting. The peer is the person that has a similar position as you and is doing some excellent work in his/her lane. Talk to this person, learn from this person but also add value to this person. The friend is the one you can talk to in times of stress. Because he/she work in the same environment, they are familiar with the unique challenges of your work place. They understand, more than anyone, how you’re feeling.

Ask God to lead you to people you can trust at your job. The last thing you want is to go to someone for help, and they spread your business or try to make you look bad. However, don’t try to do everything at work on your own and have a meltdown in the process. Pray about who you can trust, and move forward in collaboration.

I am a witness that asking for help has made my life better. How has asking for and accepting help changed your life?

4 Comments

  1. Sonya Smalls
    September 9, 2020 / 4:04 pm

    Beautifully said Healed Girl!

  2. Mary C.
    September 15, 2020 / 12:58 am

    Dear Monica, thank you for this post/blog; this post really hits home for me as I’m guilty of declining help when I know I really NEED IT!! Thank you for sharing your amazing stories and you will be amazed at how many of them I identify with. God bless you my Sister and your family!

    • September 16, 2020 / 2:48 pm

      Wow. I’m so blessed by this. Thank YOU for sharing. I’m encouraged!

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