It’s happened to me many times. I’d be overwhelmed and exhausted to the point of breakdown. I’d be daydreaming about a kind soul coming around and taking some of the load off me. Then that person would show up and I’d hear myself say, ‘No, thank you, I can do it myself’.
We, mums, are particularly good at rejecting help when we most need it. We’re used to being the pillars of strength for our families and we’re unable and unwilling to let go of that projection even when we’re inwardly falling apart.
Why we have a hard time asking for help
- We feel that we should be able to do it on our own. After all, we wouldn’t have been given the job otherwise. Yet, whether it’s something in our personal or professional life, we know we can achieve a lot more through collaboration.
- We feel that we have to be in control of everything. If we trust someone else with part of the job, it may not get done up to our high standard. Or we’ll spend so much time explaining what needs to be done to that we might as well do it ourselves.
- We’re afraid we’ll look weak or undeserving. This is particularly true for mums. If other people know we’re not coping, they might think we’re not enjoying motherhood… or even that we don’t love our children enough.
- We’re afraid that people will say ‘no’ and it will mean something about us – that we’re not worthy, not lovable or that no one cares. We forget that people may say ‘no’ for other reasons. Maybe, they’re really too busy. Maybe, they’re in the middle of their own crisis. Or maybe, they’ll say ‘yes’.
- We’re afraid that people will say ‘yes’ when they don’t want to and we’ll be a burden to them. This is usually the case for those of us who have a hard time saying ‘no’ and as a result over-commit. We dread that someone will ask us for help and we’ll end up adding yet another thing to our already impossible load and we assume that other people must feel the same way.
We may be able to continue on our own for a while, but sooner or later it’ll get too much. We’re social creatures, we’re not designed to function alone. Think about it, from the beginning of human history people have lived together in communities, helping each other.
Not sure how to transition from outwardly self-sufficient being to someone who can do with some help?
Asking for help: How to get started
To begin with, just start accepting help when it’s offered instead of rejecting it. Is someone offering you an umbrella when it’s raining and you’ve forgotten yours? Smile and say ‘thank you’ instead of the usual, ‘Oh, no, I’ll be ok’. A friend is taking her kids to a party and wants to takes yours, too? Enjoy your unexpected free time and try not to think how many lollies the kids will eat without your supervision, it’s ok once in a while.
The next step is asking for something small. If people say ‘no’, it would be easy not to take it personally and you may even find that hearing ‘no’ can be empowering. You’ll realise that people don’t just automatically say ‘yes’ to anything and it can give you the strength to do it yourself next time you’re faced with something you don’t want to do.
Image by babawawa via pixabay.com
Nine per cent of American adults suffer from depression. Most of us will – or already do – know someone with depression, but despite the prevalence of this problem, we often don’t know how to handle it, or show support for a depressed friend, relative or acquaintance. Here are a few things you should steer clear of when talking to someone with depression:
Depression is an illness and it should be remembered that those who suffer cannot simply, “cheer up.” In fact, telling them to do so is likely to make them feel worse when they are unable to, only furthering their depressive cycle. Phrases like “suck it up” or “cheer up” only minimize the issue.
“It’s all in your head”
This also happens to be something depressives already know. But this notion that it’s all in your head can make you feel more weird and isolated than you already felt. To a person with depression, this only furthers thoughts and feelings of being “not right” and out of control.
“There are others worse off than you”
It is very difficult for a person with depression to put things in perspective. This kind of advice can feel like you are being dismissive, as opposed to supportive. Remember, offering comfort is more important than finding a “solution”.
When you’ have a loved one with depression the best thing you can do is reassure them that they are not alone, and that you are there for them if they need to talk (or, sometimes, just hug). It is important to keep in mind that things will change, but you shouldn’t expert a quick fix. Patience, comfort and support are your most valuable offerings.
Need help? In the US, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Don’t play the victim and stay in an abusive relationship, as it will only prolong the abuse. If you want things to change; you are the only one who can make it happen. Remember; don’t stay because of their promises; leave because of their actions.
Well, this is as good as it is ever going to get. There’s not going to be a magical wand to tap your partner on the head and change them over night. Yes, they maybe amazing, loving, kind and passionate when things are good, but don’t you want that all the time, not just some of the time? Do you feel that bad about yourself that you need to stay and cop that? Even if you do, you need to know that there have been countless people in your position. Some of them didn’t make it out of their relationship and suffered until the bitter end. Others took a giant leap forward and are thriving! Seriously, these are your options and you need to make a choice.
If you are searching the web for yourself or someone else, you need to know or tell your loved one… If you are ok with what’s happening; then stay. If you are not ok with that, then please take the advise of the millions of survivors out there and plan your escape. Up until now you have stayed with your abuser for a variety of reasons.
- If you are staying because you have no money; don’t
- If you are staying for the kids; don’t
- If you are staying out of fear of loosing your kids, family, home or even your life; don’t
- If you are staying because you have nowhere to go; don’t
- If you are staying because you love your partner; don’t
Regardless of what people say, love plays a big role is why people stay. You need to understand that this type of love is very unhealthy and destructive. If you stay, your partner will continue to abuse you. If you leave, they have a slim chance of changing their behaviour and seeking help themselves. Don’t stay because of their promises; leave because of their actions. Getting yourself, and children if you have them, out of this environment is the only way the abuse will stop.
There are some excellent welfare and government agencies out there that can get you on your feet. They have shelters available is you have no-where to go. Your kids will be better off out of that environment. Children will have a much greater chance of becoming abusers or being abused if they witness it and it becomes normal as they grow up. Domestic violence agencies have the law on their side and will do everything in their power to protect you and your children. Even dealing with the pain of breakup can be helped by counsellors and survivors of domestic violence. There are resources available to you, if and when you choose to use them. Join the millions of survivors and it will be the most significant step forward you have ever made!
Each state has their own domestic violence supports in place. To find a comprehensive list of state and national services head to:
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Translating & Interpreting Service 13 14 50
National Relay Service 133 677 –
Provides service access for deaf and hearing impaired people 106 (Emergency)
For non-emergency TTY calls – 133 677
By Kim Chartres
Kate, 28, Richmond, VicThe first step to tackling “too much” is to work out what is most important to you.
What do you really want and need to do. Prioritise these tasks and areas and work through them, one at a time. A great way to do this is split your daily tasks into A and B tasks. The A are to be done in next 24 hours, the B can be done in 72 hours. Create a process for yourself and structure a time frame in which you need to get things done.
Work out what areas you may need help or assistance with. Don’t be shy to ask for help – you’ll most likely find someone willing to help you get the task
Louisa, 35, Beecfroft, NSW
Being a parent and working full-time is a challenge. In fact a lot of people believe it’s an impossible juggling act. You need to work out what you can realistically expect of yourself and honour your personal limits. We are not all Superwoman (well some of us are in disguise).
What you need to do is sit down for half an hour and ponder these thoughts – Are my commitments realistic?
What are my priorities? Once you are aware of what comes first and the areas you are willing to be flexible in, then your decisions about what to do first and what can be handled tomorrow become less stressful.
A lot of working parents focus on having practical support structures in place for childcare etc. Obviously these are crucial to handling a career and caring for children. Another vital area is understanding and fulfilling your emotional needs. Ask yourself whether you have supportive people in your life, who are willing to listen to your concerns?
If not, then take a look at some of the chat groups on the internet or think about starting a group for women in the same position – make a flyer and drop it off in your local neighbourhood asking if there are other mothers who seek support.
The message here is look after yourself – work out what comes first, and what can wait, and make sure you honour your own well being.
I need an outlet in my life that’s just for me, where do I start?
Time for yourself is a gift, we all deserve this and we believe everyone needs to make a priority in their life to make time to just be.
Well, the first question is “what makes my heart sing?” Really it’s time to check in and find out what you want to do, or at least what you are interested in exploring.
If you are stuck on ‘I don’t know what I want to do,’ start with ‘how do I want to feel?’ Maybe you want to feel carefree or energetic. Then think about the last time you felt this way? List what activities interest you.
The next step is create a vision – write a 2 paragraph summary of you in your new activity – how do you feel, who have you met etc…
Then investigate your options, ask friends for suggestions, look on the net, read magazines and scan the local papers for ideas.
By simply making a commitment to start something new you will create the opportunity in your life.
What’s your dilemma?
Just email your question to email@example.com. Sarah and Kyrstie will answer questions in each edition. Unfortunately all questions can not be responded to.
More About Sarah and Kyrstie
Sarah Jane McIntyre
Prior to her career as a coach Sarah worked in Sydney and London as an Executive Recruiter and holds a Law/Commerce double degree. Sarah currently mentors a variety of managers in the recruitment market and has successfully redirected her career from the corporate arena to build a coaching/consulting business. Sarah is an Accredited Life Coach with Results Life Coaching.
Kyrstie Jane Dunn
Kyrstie works as a Coach and Careers Advisor. Kyrstie has a Bachelor of Commerce and is a Chartered Accountant. She has previously worked in Executive Recruitment, Management Consulting and Accountancy. Kyrstie currently coaches and facilitates corporate training workshops and provides one to one career outplacement guidance. Kyrstie is a certified NLP Practitioner.
What people say about them
“When I came to you, there was so much going on in my life, and while I wasn’t unhappy I was stressed and knew I needed better balance to really live life each day.”
“Sarah taught me invaluable techniques on structuring my time and goals. She has helped me develop a pattern of achievement.”
“Life coaching is an achievable and measurable process that brings to surface all you need to change in order to achieve your goals. A wonderful process that impacted in positive change in my life.”
How to book a first session?
Contact the Coaches and book a FREE trial session to experience what it is like to have a coach.
Business phone – (02) 9362 5182
Sarah McIntyre – firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyrstie Dunn – email@example.com