A dear friend of mine, one with whom I get to spend little time because she is mom to ten (yes, t-e-n), called tonight and asked if I could give her a hand with something this week.
Sure, I sad, glad to talk to her for a few moments and glad as well to lend a hand. We chatted, catching up and multi-tasking while on the phone (I with laundry and monitoring a mini project by Huck at the kitchen table; she with, well, a house full of kids), and then we said goodbye.
Just before we hung up, she repeated, "Thank you," again, and continued, "I hate to ask for help."
"I know," I replied. "I feel the same way, too."
Later, while whirling from one holiday weekend mess to another - boots and snowpants in the front hall, toys akimbo on the family room floor, the now forgotten but necessary laundry - I thought about that simple statement of my friend, one that I echoed in return.
Why is it that we hate to ask for help, we modern moms?
I thought back to when I was pregnant with my first and how worried I was that I wouldn't do something right, how I equated asking for help for admitting I was somehow failing in one category or another as a new mom.
That passed, but still the worry of the possiblity of failing remained.
Along came the next baby and then the third.
In so many ways, I was more confident and secure in my ability to mother but in other ways, I was brought low again and again. Screaming toddlers in grocery stores with all eyes staring at me. Temper tantrums, the likes that I've never once read described in any baby book or parenting magazine as to how they truly make you as a parent feel (horrible, awful, desperate) that shook me to my core. Potty training nightmares. Sick children, so sick, in need of the care of first rate doctors.
After three kids, I know now that fear walks hand-in-hand with you as a parent - fear of failure, fear of stranger danger, fear of illness, accident, or death. Fear never misses a step; while it may play hide-and-seek in the shadows, it never takes a day off.
And while I should know that asking for help is not admitting that I am fill-in-the-blank (weak, inadequate, not enough), I still found myself agreeing with my friend.
Asking for help is hard to do when you're a mom.
And all I can think as I sit here and type this post is what a shame that simple statement is.