Friday, October 23, 2009

Asking for Help

This is what I've been thinking on lately. How are you at asking and accepting help? I pretty much stink at it. I just feel that I should be able to do it on my own. People offer "Let me know if there is anything you need" or even "What can I do to help" and I usually tell them I am fine.

I remember that when Gabriel died we were in the hospital for 3 days waiting for him to be born. And (this is really stupid) but I remember worrying because I knew that my lawn needed cut. It was really long to start with and my HOA gets really annoyingly picky about stuff like that. But I think this is a pretty good example, really. I'm sure one of my neighbors would have done it for us in a heartbeat. It is a concrete something that they could have done, if only I had asked.

Now we are going through this situation with our house. It has been 6 weeks and insurance will no longer pay for a hotel since they feel work should be done. But it isn't. Our house is not ready for us to move into. So we are at my mom's house. This is not ideal.

People are asking "What can we do to help?" and it is just so hard. The real answer is come help me clean up after all the construction. Bring me a meal or two. Watch my kids so I can work uninterrupted.

Instead I say "Oh, we're fine! Thanks!"

Why do I do this? Do you do it, too? Why is it so hard to accept help?

edited to add: I'm sorry if this is kind of a pity party. I don't really mean it that way. I do feel fortunate and know that things could be a lot worse. I'm glad it is just STUFF and not health issues or anything like that.



Sweet said...

Hi Emily, I'm so sorry to hear that things are not going well, I am never surprised when it comes to insurance companies though...*I'm sorry*.

We are taught not to ask, not to burden others with our probelms etc... culturally I can see how I have shifted around these feelings, because I come from a culture where you don't even have to ask, and I married into a culture where people will not let you say no, they will go out of their way to do for anything needed.

After my baby died, i had strangers showing up at my door to clean and help me arrange things in the house, and there were endless meals being prepared for my family (from my hubby's culture). I felt like an idiot most times, and even though I was in pain, I kept saying that everything was o.k. These sisters did not take no for answer though and showed up everyday.

When I think about this I realize that even I would not do this if the person kept insisting that they were fine, and doing well. I am saying this with the knowledge that be it a very very serious matter (such as yours) or smalll inconveniences, I would hold back or I would feel I was getting in someone's face by asking if they needed help more than 2 or 3 times. It's awkward.

I think we are taught to pull up our boot straps and take care of business...

I hope that things work out for your family, and that from the many requests to help, you will be comfortable in saying "yes".

Rachel said...

We are supposed to be Super Mom's and wives. When Ryan was in the hospital I kept getting the same requests and I always said "We are fine". When he passed people just came out of the woodwork. The Relief Society ladies on my street made food, my friends brought groceries and the Relief Society ladies provided lunch for my entire family at the service. It was very hard for me to let them do this. I know I was not a failure but deep inside I kind of felt like I was because I could not stop the situation and make it right. I finally had to let go and let God and it all worked. But I still have a hard time asking for help.

Anjeny said...

Hi Em, so sorry to hear about what happen to your house and that things are not going well right now.

I think it's just the human in us or maybe a little of our pride that keeps us not wanting to accept or ask help from others. We sometimes or maybe most of the time worry that if we do admit and ask for help from others that they might start judging us or looking at us differently.

I used to be the same way. Church members/VT would ask me if there is anything I need help with, my thoughts are most definitely "yes, I need help with this and that" but what comes out of my mouth was "oh no, I'm fine, everything is fine."

Then I hear someone gave a talk about service and blessings that come through service and I realized that every time I turned someone down on their offer of help I was actually robbing them of a blessing that they might be needing, know what I mean? So now, I accept help with the thought that the person giving the help is also getting something from me.

I know it's hard but in the long run, it would be good for you to ask for help once in a while esp. right now. You wouldn't want to go at it alone and ended up too burned out that you might ended up getting sick and not much useful to your kids, would you? No one would think less of you if you ask for help...I wouldn't.

Angela said...

I agree its taught to us as children we see/hear our parents do it. For me personally I feel weak and like Im suppose to be strong and take on everything.

Im just now with the help of a greif counselor 19 months later learning to say I need help etc.

Mom to 4 boys one an Angel in Heaven

I wanted to also give out my blog info

Once A Mother said...

I am so sorry that things are tough right now, and that insurance is making them tougher. I think it is totally okay to ask for help from anyone that you would return the favor for if the situations were reversed. They are your friends/family, they love you and will want to do what they can.

Annie said...

Hi Emily -

Interesting post. I too stink at asking for help. Like you, I lost a baby at 21 weeks. Then I get pregnant again and lost that baby at 18 weeks. We waited a little while to try again - only to find I'm now infertile and often in pain. The last 3 years have been pure torture and I am not OK. But I keep telling people I'm fine. I feel like my life is just constant problems and I don't want to bother other people with it.

Interestingly, it seems we have more in common. The same religion and the same university (BYU-H)?

Wishing you the best -

Annie at

corilee said...

I'm awful at asking for help. The few times when I have asked for help with other situations, it never came. I had to learn to endure on my own. My attitude now is that why should I ask, nobody cares, I'll end up dealing with things myself anyway.

Heather said...

Oh, do I hear you! I have a hard time asking for help (actually, I don't ask for help, ever, and rarely take it when it's offered). Not after my son was born and my husband went back to his 70-hr work week one week later and I was alone and exhausted. Not after I had spinal surgery and had a hard time getting around the house. Looking back, I wish I had taken the little help that was offered to me. You'd think I would have learned.
It's been 6 months now, next week, since both my girls were taken from me. Now, no-one asks how I am, or whether we need anything. I figure they assumed we've greived long enough. I really do appreciate the 4 people who sent us food, and an easter basket for my son, who otherwise wouldn't have had one. I think when we keep saying no, ppl eventually stop asking. My advice to you is TAKE THE HELP. Tell people who ask a meal or a playdate for a few hours would really come in handy. Don't be shy! (Or stubborn, or Type-A, or whatever makes us do this.) You know you'd do the same for someone else, take the help, and return the favor later on, when things are more settled for you. Push yourself to say OK, before people stop asking.

Unknown said...

It is to ask for help! We want to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on others. But there are times when we do need a helping hand. I think there may be people who are just asking to ask but I also think there are those who truly do want to help.