"I Hate Asking for Help"
Excuse #4 “It Won’t Get Done Right if I Don’t Do It Myself” continued...
When her son, now 14, started seventh grade, Reidel heard about a new
carpool down the street, and she took a deep breath and joined. The result has
been win-win: Logan has become pals with the other kids and Reidel has gained
more time — and more trust in the other parents.
Relinquishing lesser tasks may be easier, but it also requires an honest
evaluation of costs and benefits. Is it better to let your 9-year-old make his
bed badly or to take the time to do it yourself? After a party, does it make
more sense to let guests help you clean up or to stay up by yourself washing
dishes? Finally, Reynolds says, ask yourself this, “Is it the end of the world
if my son’s bed looks sloppy or my margarita glasses aren’t perfectly lined
up?” Focus on what you stand to gain — a lighter workload; more time for your
kids; a chance to bond with your friends.
Excuse #5 “I Was Raised to Be Self-Sufficient”
When her husband went away on a five-day business trip last September,
Isadora Fox, 39, of Austin, couldn’t bring herself to call on a neighbor — even
just to watch her 4-year-old daughter, Sasha, for 90 minutes while she prepared
for two big exams. Fox, who works part-time as a writer while she studies to
become a nurse-practitioner, also had three major deadlines and sole
responsibility for driving Sasha to preschool, swimming, gymnastics, and a
birthday party. To get everything done, she stayed up until 2 every night, even
though she was five months pregnant. “I chose to be a mother, go back
to school, and work part time,” Fox says, “so I thought I should suck it up and
handle everything myself, because this is what I signed up for.” Instead, she
collapsed with a nasty sinus infection.
Subduing an independent-to-a-fault streak takes soul-searching. Try to shift
your focus from self-reliance to self-care, understanding that doing what’s
best for you will give you strength to care for others. Edit your mental
self-talk about independence by telling yourself it’s nothing but a
self-imposed, self-limiting mantra.
That strategy worked for Fox. “I started thinking about how I do favors for
other people,” she says. “I don’t think worse of them for needing some
assistance, and I’m sure that none of my friends and neighbors would mind
helping me.” A few months later, when her husband was away during her final
exams, Fox asked a friend to babysit for three hours one night while she
studied. “I still won’t call someone for help because I’m just tired,” Fox
says. “But I will in an emergency — and being eight months pregnant and in the
throes of finals counts!”