How many times have you wanted to throw up your hands and cry “help”? I am sure it has been more than one on your motherhood journey. Being a mom is not the easiest task in the world, and some days definitely top the charts on the bad-day-meter.
Asking for help and letting others that are close to you is not such a bad thing. Most people realize that that moms have a job that doesn’t end at 5 p.m. However, some of us tend to ask too much — too often. Just like the famous child tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf, we, as moms and wives will receive the same lack of help when we are in dire need if we ask for help on a consistent basis.
Some moms don’t hesitate to ask their close friend, mom, dad, brother, husband, a stay-at-home mom they know or WHOEVER to step up and lend a hand in some less-than-emergency situations. But ask yourself, as a mom and wife, do I really need help during these times or am I just seeking to be more comfortable at the expense of others?
Let me add in a disclosure here. I am not saying don’t ask for help — ever. I am not even against paying a baby-sitter to watch your kids so you can go on a date with your husband. In fact, I encourage you to go on dates with your husband. Asking someone once a month or ever so often to lend a hand is not a bad thing. But, if you tend to ask people for “favors” on a frequent basis you need to consider if the “favors” are hurting your relationships with others. Seriously. Stop and think about it! Do you ask people to help out in the frequent scenarios below?
- Going to work out, so I’ll drop the kids off at mom’s house.
- Going to buy groceries and grab a coffee, so I will leave the kids at my sister’s house.
- Busy with work-related issues so I need my husband to cook dinner and clean up the kitchen.
- Going to a ladies prayer meeting so I will drop the kids off at mom’s house.
- I really need a mani-pedi and a massage. Mom can watch the kids!
- Girls night out again this weekend! I’m sure my stay-at-home mom friend would love to watch my kids!
I had to put that last one in. As a stay-at-home mom myself, this has happened a lot. Even people I barely knew. They would call and ask me to watch their kids for this or that because I was not really “that busy.” There were times when I told them I would watch their children for a certain price. It was always cheaper than daycare or the going baby-sitting rates, but I thought it was fair since I was changing up my workload and schedule. Several times I got the “Why would you ask me to pay you” response.
But most of us hesitate about asking acquaintances for help. We tend to ask family members that also have lives and busy schedules.
Just be careful. Relationships are important, especially family. It’s so easy to assume grandparents want to baby-sit all the time, I mean they are grandparents! But abusing their generosity can quickly become a burden to them as well as cause a rift in their relationship with their grand-kids. Even though it is you asking the favors, the kids are the one that need to be cared for, and may become more like nuisances than a pleasure to have around.
Let’s think about the examples above that aren’t real emergencies when it comes to motherhood. It’s great if you want to work out — you should! But it is your responsibility to take care of your children first. Check out gyms that offer baby-sitting services or work out at home with a DVD. Need to buy some grocers and grab a coffee? Take your kids. They will enjoy the change of scenery. Work piling up? Re-think your schedule and cut things out that are time-stealers. Spend less time watching your shows and you may still have time to cook dinner tonight! You like to go to ladies prayer meetings? That’s great, I love them too! But don’t shove your kids on someone else last minute to go there. Other people have lives too!
Now, there is one thing that can change all these “favors”. If you really do need help with your kids or house-cleaning, consider paying someone. Even if it is your sister or close friend. They will appreciate the extra money as well as knowing that you respect their time and energy.
Now, I have friends with whom we baby-sit each other’s kids periodically for date nights or special events and we wouldn’t think of charging each other for that service. It’s kind of an I scratch your back you scratch my back kind of thing. But, asking the same person over and over and over again — for a “favor” — without payment can really put a damper on our relationships.
When your favors run out and you do have an emergency, who will be there to lend a helping hand? Who will be there for the mom that is crying “Help”? When you call someone’s house, maybe they just won’t answer because they know what you are going to ask another “favor.” Moms, save those favors for when you do need to really cry for help. Don’t wear out your welcome and try to figure out how you can help yourself before you start pushing your duties off on others.
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