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I never say no to help.

As a single mom juggling the motherlode of three kids at two schools, my day job, side job and launching a new online business, one of my mantras is “I never say no to help”.    Doesn’t matter what it is…”Can I take that plate for you?”  Sure!  Thank you.

Sending out a mass email to the team, “Hey guys, I have to work later tomorrow night.  Can anyone give (insert kid’s name) a ride home from practice?

“I’m heading to Costco.  Need anything?” I would love it, can I text you my list?

This might sound crazy to all of you competent, amazing but insanely busy moms out there.  In fact, when other women hear my say, “I never say no to help” the most common response I get is, “that’s really great.  I have the hardest time asking for help.  I just can’t do it.”

I’ve been there.  Striving. Doing. Trying harder.  One thing I learned from being with dying is that I just can’t do it all.  And I’m okay with that.  Sometimes you just have to ask for help.

Recently, I was on my way to an out-of-town soccer tournament with my daughter.  The car was full with two mom and several kids.  About an hour into the drive, I hear a gasp from the backseat… “Oh no!”  A dramatic shuffle ensued and then I get the news.

“I forgot my cleats.”

There were tears.  Everyone else in the car looked at me nervously.   I think they were expecting some sort of blow-up.  Instead, I took a deep breath (good job mom!) and asked the question, “What do you think we should do?” 

The next few minutes surprised me and I learned a lot about the importance of asking for help.  Here are just a few of the many benefits:

1.     FEELNG SUPPORTED:  When you admit you have a need, you’d be surprised at how many people jump in to support you.  Within seconds of finding out about the forgotten cleats, her teammate had sent a message to the rest of the team. Not one, but two girls replied, “I have some indoor shoes”.  When we got to the field, another mom had a second pair of cleats in the truck.  Problem solved.

2.     ACCESS TO MULTIPLE PROBLEM SOLVERS:  There’s a reason why “two heads are better than one” is a common phrase and that’s because it’s true!  When you ask for help, you gain instant access to new ideas, networks and tools to solve your problem. 

3.     IMMEDIATE RELIEF:  As soon as you see all the people who are working to help you, tears of worry become sighs of gratitude.  Thank you!

4.     QUIET THE MEAN GIRL VOICE:  You know the one.  The inner voice saying, “What I loser!”  “I can’t believe you did that!”,  “How could you?”  That mean girl voice is a Bi-y*@ch.  She wants you to think that you’re all alone.  Convince you to give up.  Funny thing is, she gets really quiet when you ‘re focused on feeling supported and relieved by your gang of problem solvers.

5.     WITNESS A MIRACLE:  I mean, come on.  Who carries two pairs of cleats?  In this situation, the mom explained her daughter had gone to a party the previous weekend.  She took her old cleats to play in because she didn’t want to get her new cleats dirty.  The family had been too busy to clean out the car so they “just happened” to have an extra pair.  There are no coincidences.  I’m calling it a miracle.

6.     EXPERIENCE GRACE:  Grace is one of the most thrilling terms in scripture.  It is unmerited favor.  Reasonless blessing.  Oh, if only we could soak up and receive grace more often!

7.     INSPIRATION:  Throughout the day, I found myself smiling more.  Offering to help other parents carry their gear to the field.  Saving tables for the team at lunch.  Picking up trash after the game.  When you’ve been blessed, it seems easier to look for ways to bless others.

8.     CREATE COMMUNITY:  An “I can do it myself” attitude leads to isolation.  Yes, you can do it yourself, but do you want to?  To be honest, one of my first reactions in this situation was to go to the nearest Sports Authority and buy a new pair of cleats.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), there were two big problems.  One: I was riding in someone else’s car.  Two: The store wasn’t going to open until an hour AFTER the game.

Asking for and accepting help shatters the illusion that you can do it all.  It allows others in and creates the bonds that are the building blocks of community.

"Genius is the ability to receive from the Universe" ~  I-Ching

 Do you have a difficult time asking for help?  I’d love to hear why in the comments below:

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