Monday, February 6, 2012

Single Parents And Asking For Help

I’ve been a single mom for five years and one of the hardest things for me to do is ask for help. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or little thing. Unless it’s desperately something I need done, I’d rather try doing it myself or letting it go.

I dislike feeling needy. I hate asking someone to give up their time when I know we’re all so busy with our own lives. Really, doesn’t everyone feel crunched for time? And I’m gonna ask someone to come help me out when they’d be able to do something else for themselves or their family in their downtime?

I. Don’t. Think. So.

I have people offer to help me out all the time:

  • Can we come help you rake your insanely large yard with all the Fall leaves?
  • Want me to plow your driveway of snow since your snow thrower is broken?
  • Do you have anything in the house that needs repairs?
  • Would the boys like to go fishing/ice skating/swimming?

When someone does offer I tell them, “yah, that’d be nice,” knowing it probably won’t happen or “no, that’s ok,” because I just don’t want them feeling obligated.catch of the day

The boys fishing this summer

People always have such good intentions. Most come to me with the offers, but we never connect. If someone offers to help me out, I’m not going to be the one to call and say, “Hey you remember your offer?” because then it puts them in a position of having to make room in their lives to do whatever they offered.

I’m not going to be that person who makes someone else feel uncomfortable with their offer to help. I figure, if they really want to help out, they’ll get in touch with me.

Well, I had a friend offer a couple weeks ago to take my boys ice fishing. Of course, I said, “absolutely,” because I certainly wasn’t going to be taking the boys out. Now, when I said that, I really didn’t think it was going to happen. Good intentions and all you know?

I got a text Thursday from this friend asking if I had a couple of boys that would like to go ice fishing Saturday! I knew my boys were going to be so excited! I left the planning up to him letting him know the boys were available all day.

The boys were super excited to go ice fishing since they hadn’t been yet this year. I took the boys out there early Saturday morning and off they went. I figured a couple of hours later I’d be picking them up. I mean, you can only ice fish for so long, right?

As the afternoon rolled around I sent out a text to see if he was ready to bail cuz my boys were driving him batty. The opposite was true. They hadn’t caught any fish, but they were getting ready to head back to the house and get some lunch.lifting weights

Alrighty then! More free time for me!

Finally a few hours later, after massive amounts of guy time, I got a text saying the boys were ready to head home.

How do you thank someone for spending an entire day pouring themselves into your boys, for no reason but to be kind? I thanked him, but I don’t think he understands how badly my boys need to be in the presence of godly men, to have guy time, to just be around some good old fashion testosterone.

If you know a single parent, know that if they’re anything like me, they aren’t going to ask for help. It’s too hard. We can only swallow our pride so many times. If you can, make the first call. If you see a need, fill it if you can.

Not only will they be blessed, so will you!

Are you a single mom or single dad? Am I off the mark or do you find it easier than me to reach out to others?


Ducky said...

I don't ask for help either and much like you I most often shrug it off with a "thank you" knowing that I won't ever be the one to initiate the request. When I'm the one making the offer I don't leave it open ended. I will say, "I'd like to come help clean. Which day can I come?" and then give a few options. Or I say, "I'm ready to purge clothes again. What sizes are you ready for?" If I'm offering of my time, my talents or my money I make sure that I don't leave it up to someone else to make an effort to accept. Mostly because I KNOW if and when its the other way around I never let someone know at a later time "hey I need help now" plus if I actually have the time or money they better take advantage of it right then lol

How super awesome of the boys to be able to go ice fishing!! Very very cool!

Bruce Sallan said...

You've forgotten an important thing. When certain friends volunteer to help and you accept their offer...THEY FEEL GREAT. Helping other people - especially those you actually like - makes US feel good, too.

So Mimi, do it for them...

Penelope (NYC Mom Blogger) said...

I'm not a single mom, but I do have trouble reaching out for help.

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Oh I hear you! I find it's easier to accept help if it's offered to my children like you ice=fishing adventure. I have a cousin who lives locally and has girls who has taken my son under his wing this football season and took him out several times to watch their favorite team together.

I'm getting better at asking and accepting, but it's still so very hard.

Ashley S said...

I'm a single mom and I have so much trouble asking for help. I'm always first to help my non-single friends in hopes that they will offer to help me, but it never happens :( I think it is maybe b/c my son is an infant. I don't know. I just wish I knew how to better ask for help.

Heather Buen - Dallas Single Mom said...

This is a very heartfelt story and one that moms of all walks of life (married, cohabitating or single) can relate to.

I think moms don't accept help is because we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect.

For single moms, society creates a very judgmental atmosphere that somehow we have failed because we couldn't hold on to a relationship and so we believe that accepting help highlights those failures.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The point is you accepted help because you LOVE your boys and their ability to grow and explore the outside world preparing them for a time to make decisions without you.

Liz Mays said...

Not at all! I hate asking for help because I don't want to feel like a bother!

LadyD Piano said...

What a wonderful post Mimi and I enjoyed reading your beautiful heart-felt expressions. It's good to ask, then we can receive a "yes", "maybe" or "no" and often, "later"... or "let me think on that and I'll get back to you!" You and the boys are very special!

Elly Filho said...

Your My 2nd Hero!! and you already know this cause I tell you all the time. Your such an inspiration to the meaning " True Women" I do not know what it's like to be a single mom but I lived with one my whole life and I've seen 1st hand what it's like and somewhat felt it too.. I'm happy there are people in your life willing to help.. wish I lived closer :) God Bless you and your family <3 hugs Elly

Unknown said...

OK, first of awesome your boys got to go ice fishing?
Secondly, this is a great reminder that when I make an offer of assistance to someone for some vague time in the future I need to follow up.

SteelerFan023 said...

When I first started down the single parent path, I felt the same way. It was compounded for me because the separation, then divorce, weren't well known. At a point, however, I realized I should try to put the kids' well being above my feelings towards asking for help. Though it's been a matter of trying a little harder each day, I do attempt to reach out more for the benefit of all of us. Thanks for the post! :-)

Sarafan2 said...

I'm a single mom also. I have been or may years now. I know how difficult it can be to need help, and not have anyone there for you. you have a wonderful family to help you out right? Your blog is awesome and full of great content. see you around soon.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.