Monday, 16 May 2011

The Gold Medal Gleams So Hang It Around My Neck 'Cause I Am Deserving It The Champion Of Idiots

Whenever anyone asks me how I'm doing, my standard reply is "fine, thanks. How are you?" It doesn't matter if I'm particularly happy or sad, I say that I'm fine. Fine has been my answer for years. I don't see myself changing any time soon.

It's the same whenever anyone offers to help me. I always say "thanks, but I've got it" or "thanks, but there's really nothing you can do" or "thanks + insert variation of rejection of help." I don't know why my initial reaction is to turn down offers of help but it is. And just like "fine," I don't see "thanks, but no" disappearing from my vocabulary in the foreseeable future.

You guys, I am not fine. And I really could use some help. I know that you can't come pack up the condo, or make the monsterpups behave, or change Shawn's schedule so that he's in town for more than 5 of the remaining 11 days before we move, but I would really appreciate it if you could please remind me that I'm not going to get a gold star for doing all the things all by myself and that working myself up into a froth will result only in a headache and not a damn medal hanging around my neck.

Numerous lovely people have offered to help me pack the condo or just keep me company while Shawn is out of town. Shawn's dad is here for the summer and he actually offered to pack the condo. Not help pack, no. He offered to do it all. And yet this weekend I found myself alone, lying awkwardly on the kitchen floor, trying to shimmy blindly on my back (because my belly was getting in the way) arm outstretched, trying to reach the various baking pans and other rarely-used items that had migrated to the very back of the lowest shelf of the horrid cupboard that stretches the length of the oven (seriously - worst cupboard ever. It was difficult to navigate before I got pregnant, I don't know why I thought I could do it now.) And there was this horrible moment, just for a second or two, where my arm cramped up and I couldn't move and I couldn't shimmy because I needed my arm to help me push off and I thought I was going to be stuck there on the kitchen floor until Shawn returned Tuesday night. Obviously my panic was a little premature because my arm stopped cramping and I managed to get myself up off the floor, but it was eye opening for me. I can't do it all. I cannot tell you how much it pains me to acknowledge those words.


  1. So, I totally know where you're coming from, but I just wanted to say: something really interesting happens when you "break down" and allow people to help you. Work turns into fun.

    Yeah, I know! It's totally revolutionary. Work is supposed to suck, so we feel that we are cheating if we let someone help us. But dude, I'm telling you. It doesn't have to be that way!

    So, have a symbolic burning-of-the-bra moment and call someone over to help you. Or two someones. Buy them pizza and beer to silence your conscience. Consciences are overrated, anyway.

  2. The sooner you learn that the better.Reluctance to reach out is al too common in our culture, where self-reliance is a revered, ingrained habit. Asking for help often feels like a personal failure. We think we look stupid if it appears we don't have all the answers. Asking for assistance— such as for help managing your household or workload, a deadline extension, or even feedback— doesn't signal incompetence. On the contrary, though you may feel vulnerable, what you're really saying is “I want to do this right, and I understand the value of support and cooperation.”

    I hope you know that?!

  3. Things will get better.
    Pretty soon you'll have a new set of challenges (but hopefully not more difficult) and these will be a world away.


    Deep breaths!!!

  4. I have trouble letting people help me but I gotta say, you can get used to it. Once you let one person help, you might be all OKAY EVERYONE HELP which is a-ok too.

  5. Maybe you should try to think of it like you're crafty and tricking them into helping you. :)

    Or maybe think of it has helping the baby.

    I think you should just send out an email to your good friends that says, I've got a three layer chocolate cake and eleventy million empty boxes. I want the cake gone and the boxes filled. Sort it out. It's not help. It's friendly duty, with CAKE. Cake!

  6. I have the same type of personality (which is probably one of the many reasons that we are friends) but, dude. Take the help, especially now. You have enough going on (Willie!) and you really need to take care of yourself.

    If you weren't four hours away I'd be there in a heartbeat.

    Hugs, lady.

  7. I'm the same way. I struggle so much to ask for - and accept - help.

    None of us can do it all; that's why we have friends and loved ones, to help us when we need it. Even if it's hard to admit that we do need it.

  8. It is not easy to ask for help, but when you do, you can focus on other parts of your life.

  9. If people are offering, say yes! It'll be hard the first few times, but try it. And then they'll help and you'll feel better and it'll get easier to yes.

  10. My instinct is the same - I say I'm fine, and I say that I don't need help. I even say "no thankyou" if someone offers me say a drink, or a cookie, even if I *do* want one!

    I have found though, that its easier for me to ask for help than it is to accept offers from other people. Is that weird?

    I hope that you figure out a balance that works for you, hey. Gettin stuck in the kitchen is easier to deal with if you know someone is able to drop by if you need it :)

  11. Dude, if there was ever a time to ask for help, I think that time would be when you are pregnant and packing up your place to move. Seriously.

    Accepting help doesn't make you less of a person. In fact, given what you have said, it likely makes you more of a person because it probably takes way more for you to ask for or accept the help than decline it.

  12. Christ, woman, say YES. Say yes to every offer of help unless it's from someone you hate and will thus feel obligated to do a good turn down the road.

    I tend to say I'm fine, I can handle it, but I certainly wish I'd reached out and asked for more help the year J was born. The move sucked, the new house sucked, the C-section sucked, the everything sucked. And I didn't reach out and scream I NEED HELP. In retrospect, I'd have done that. I wish I had.

  13. Okay, so I actually CAN help. And if you need anything - someone to take the monsterpups for a walk, someone who isn't in the process of growing a child to get down and scrub the floors, I'm your girl.

    And I mean it! We just moved and I know the hell. We said "No, no no" until the last day. We had to be out of our place on Thursday and it wasn't until Wednesday night that we picked up the phone and cashed in on offers. DO NOT DO THIS. Everyone will be overly helpful and you'll be all, why did I put myself through hell by not doing this a few weeks ago, exactly?

    So for real. I'm here. You have my number. Don't be afraid to use it :)

  14. Aw sweetie! You don't need to be able to do it all. I would just think about it in a different way, you get to have more fun, have company, and get it done faster when you have help :)

  15. Holy crap, I thought holding the Pregnancy Card gave you license to make everyone else do everything for you while you sat with your feet up and drank iced tea. Play that card and give yourself a break! (And a little credit; after all, you're pregnant and moving. Moving *without* a big ol' belly and crazy hormones is hard.)

  16. Pregnancy and the early days of motherhood taught me how important it is to lean on my support network for both emotional support and for help with physical tasks. It doesn't not mean you're weak - in fact, I think it takes a lot of strength to call on your network.