I am naturally quite an independent person and pride myself on being organised and having things under control. However, Ive learned that those things are a privilege of circumstance and health rather than a measure of my value or success as a person. And I have had a lot of conversations with other Mums who have struggled on alone, convinced that everyone else was coping better than they were and not asked for help or been honest about how hard life can be. People have said to me "You seem like you are always on top of things" but others have commented "You are so good at asking for help". On a bad day both comments seem problematic. When people say I seem to have it all together I want to scream and ask what they expect me to do? Kids still need to be fed and clothed and taken places. Most of the time you can't just collapse in a heap cause everything else will collapse too. But there have been time when I have collapsed and I have desperately needed help and I have asked for it. Telling me I am good at asking can feel like I am not independent or capable or that I am somehow weaker than those who just "soldier on".
Instead I believe that most of us are stronger than we often realise. At times carrying on putting one step in front of the other, getting out of bed, keeping on parenting through what feels like thick mud and a pack full of rocks is what we do. But in other situations the strongest thing we can do is ask for help. There are no medals for going it alone. Our kids do not benefit from white knuckling it until it all falls apart. Instead help can mean we recover, it can remind us that we are all connected and that none of us is truly in control of our lives. It can show our children that helping others is a privilege and receiving from others is an important skill to learn.
I'm feeling better now. The school holidays are over. Everything is on a more even keel. I hope that when things are going well I will be in a position to help others. But I don't owe anyone and I don't have to prove anything. I am stronger than I think and in each season, day, minute and breath I remember that none of us can do this alone so why should I? And why should you?