I work with a lot of new parents; first time parents, second time parents and parents of 3, 4 and 5 children. And the one thing that I hear over and over again is a belief that they have to do it all by themselves.
What I have come to understand from working with hundreds of parents is that this belief that everyone is doing it alone and doing it well is an illusion.
Many new parents are sitting at home, longing for connection and yet unable to connect due to a fear of appearing unable to go it alone. They are so fearful of being vulnerable that they find themselve unable to ask for help or even accept it because they are so fearful of being judged as not good enough.
How did this happen?
When did we become a society where asking for help and accepting it was a sign of weakness?
And, of course, this phenomenon isn't just seen in new parents. Many of my chronic illness and pain clients are feeling the same way.
So, what can be done?
We need to stop saying no.
Read that again.
Stop saying no.
When someone asks if they can help you...
If someone asks you if they can drop off a coffee...
If someone asks you if you want to take a shower, a nap or to go to playgroup...
I know what you're thinking...I don't want to be a burden.
They're only offering because they feel they have to but they don't really want to help.
They have their own problems/need for help. Who am I to ask?
Believe me, the help you are receiving is bidirectional.
By saying yes, you are building connection, helping another person feel useful and needed.
By saying yes you are creating stronger relationships and a community of love and acceptance.
By saying yes, you begin to pave the way for others coming behind you to be able to ask for and accept help.
Human beings are inherently helpful and long for connection and purpose. That friend of yours who asks if they can drop off a coffee really wants to do so.
I'll leave you with an example of this that I came across years ago when I worked with women who had come to Canada with their partners to pursue a job opportunity. I would go to their homes and help them teach their children English through play. It was a very rewarding and eye opening experience for me as a beginning counsellor and new mom.
What I learned from these incredible families was the power of a strong community. These women took care of each other. Each day of the week they would get together at each others homes. They would clean together, cook together, laugh together and support one another. They would help each other raise their families.
It was a beautiful thing. It was community-based living that I believe we all need more of in our lives.
So, the next time someone asks if they can help.