help wanted

No shame in needing help

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

As you start this week, if you’re staring down the days ahead and it all feels overwhelming… don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek out other people—a one-afternoon-a-week babysitter, an assistant to help in your work, someone to give your house a thorough once-over cleaning, or even a friend to give you a “you can do this” high five as you try something new.

This is so true for me right now, because last week the regular babysitter we’ve had for three years moved clear across the country. Our kids miss her terribly, and Kyle and I miss her too… and her help. We sorely felt her absence last week. And we were reminded how clearly we can’t go without some sort of help in our home. We both work from home and we both homeschool—we’d go crazy without it.

If you’re battling guilt or doubt that you’re doing something wrong if you can’t do it all by yourself, please imagine me taking you out for coffee at a quiet coffee shop right now, looking at you across the table with empathetic eyes, and adamantly telling you this: there is absolutely no shame in needing extra help. No shame. It only means you’re normal.

Whatever it is—house cleaning, kid wrangling, work processing, homework tutoring, basket weaving… whatever, do what you can to make your load lighter. Give yourself that gift. No one should expect you to do it all solo.

A hundred years ago, we all lived closer to family and closer in community, and it was a natural given to support each other both practically and in spirit. We now have to be much more intentional about this in our modern-day spread-out sprawl—but we still need it. Our need for community and help hasn’t changed.

If you’re feeling the need for extra support right now, take a few minutes today to journal some ideas. Where do you feel most overwhelmed? How can you finagle time and money to get that help? Regardless of your budget, there are ways to make it happen—swap services and trade help with someone else who could use it, or cut out something superfluous (even if it’s temporary).

There is absolutely no shame  in needing extra help.  No shame.   It only means you’re normal.

I’m talking to myself as much as anybody today. This afternoon, I’m going to scratch out a plan for more kid and house help. My sanity will thank me, as will my family. I need that service-oriented community that happened naturally just a few generations ago.

Would your sanity thank you, too?

Psst… Don’t forget to join our Blue Bike book club over on Facebook—it starts today!

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Comments

  1. Once you make the choice to ask for help and actually start accepting it, you’ll wonder why it took you so long. Also, it lets your kids know it is perfectly okay to ask for help.

    I am super excited about the book club! Already read it but I will read along with everyone again, because it’s my favorite book of the year!

  2. Thanks for this! I just made the decision last week to hire someone to clean the house two Fridays out of the month. Housekeeping is just not my forte’. I’d rather be with the kids or in the garden or working with our animals any day of the week.

  3. So sorry your babysitter moved! That’s tough. Thanks for the important reminder. I am really bad at asking for help sometimes, especially with the kids because I feel like I should always be spending more time with them. But getting those needed breaks are so important! Good luck with your planning!

  4. Last year we budgeted ahead to be able to hire some babysitting, and it’s been so freeing. Even a couple of hours of help can change my outlook for the entire week. I hope you have success this afternoon forming a game plan..

  5. That’s so true about how support systems have changed with culture! I often find myself wishing times were a bit different. I guess the upside to families being sprawled out all over is getting to re-make those support systems with dear friends.

    So sorry your babysitter moved! Ours did last year and we’re still missing her.

  6. So agree! Our two most beloved sitters had to leave at the same time; one got married and moved across the country too and the other went off to law school in a different state.

    Right after that, we had unusual challenges come up. So we had to let go of pride and needing to do it all… We have now opened our heart to our village and I am SO glad we did. It is such a wonderful feeling to know our children are surrounded by friends and neighbors that love them.

  7. Yes, yes, yes! We thoughtfully choose items to hire out so we are able to have more time with our kids and to have greater harmony in our marriage. :-) One of the best decisions we made for our marriage was hiring a house cleaner. We got into arguments every weekend when we would clean house because we approached it differently and were tired. Hiring someone to clean our house meant no more arguing amongst us about what the “right” way was or who had done more. When our children were younger, we also hired out our lawn care because it took half of every Saturday in summer for my husband to do it which meant he was losing prime time with the kids. Anyway, good stuff!

  8. This is so in line with what has been weighing heavily on my heart. We go through various times of trials, hard circumstances, etc. People may offer to help, but when we need it most we don’t want to ask & we might not know what is truly helpful. Currently I am trying to collect ideas from others as to what has been helpful to them. Perhaps, after a situation occurs we can look back and say, “Oh yes, THAT would have been helpful.” as we put our finger on an idea.

    I would love to see people’s ideas. I’d love to hear about different situations.

    For myself, I posted awhile back about 10 ways to help foster parents. We needed help but I had no one to ask for some time. Then when help was offered, I didn’t know what to ask for.

    Now I do.

    Thank you for sharing this post! I hope to hear stories from others & will check back here!

    BLESSINGS!

  9. Forgot to sign up for follow up comments. Sorry for the double comment.

  10. Yes and amen! I tried to homeschool all three of my kids, with zero help-and it nearly killed me. (Well, not literally-but you know…it was hard!)

    I wish I would have spoken up much sooner about my need, I think we do have to be really intentional about diving into a community of sorts to share the load. Whether it’s a group of friends, church family, blood family, or the neighbor down the street-we all need community.

    Saying a prayer for you that you find just the right help you need during this season!

  11. This is so true! We all need help, no matter how old or how many commitments we have. Even in my sixties I have to be reminded I need help and, God willing, as I approach my seventies, I hope I will appreciate and be able to accept the help of my family and friends.

    Thank you for sharing.

  12. I agree.

    And just because your family lives nearby doesn’t mean they are willing or able to help out. Their health may be the best, or they may have the attitude that they raised kids without any help, so no one else needs any either.

    I have asked for helped before when people have offered (after a baby was born or when a child was in the hospital) and people have backed out on their offer. I think sometimes people want to be thought of as helpful (making offers on your facebook page, then privately backing out) more than actually being helpful.

    I hope to get to the point in the near future when I can hire some help. It’s in the plan :)

  13. Oh, I so needed this today. . . . . in the midst of a pity party over a broken foot, upcoming tropical family vacation and spring fever. Having a reminder that its ok to ask for help, pay for help or let things go to focus on healing and the basics is sooooooooo welcome.

  14. Excellent post!

    How will you go about finding a new babysitter? Would love to hear about that process – application, # of days/hours per week, what exactly the sitter does, how much you pay your sitter, etc.

  15. Hi there, Nice write-up. It comes with an problem and your website around web browser, could check this? For instance however would be the industry chief along with a large component of other individuals will leave out of the excellent composing because of this dilemma.

  16. Thanks for this. I think it’s what I needed to hear this week in relation to my blog. Like many other blogs on the internet it’s sinking in a sea of indifference and noise despite my earnest and sincere attempts at wanting to help people. It’s most likely a result of feeble marketing though I wonder deep down if it has a polarizing effect on people.

    I know just the friend to call on.

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