It’s hard to rely on others. We are practically taught to idolize the idea of doing everything while receiving no help from anyone else. Especially as women, the “Superwoman” concept is thrust upon us, whether or not you have children, it is the concept that the women who are exceptional are the ones who take on the weight of the world all by their lonesome. But I just don’t get it.
When I had my first son, I admittedly looked to this impossible ideal, patting myself on the back every time I cleaned the entire house, made dinner, and put the baby to bed with nobody else around to help me. And that is definitely worthy of a badge, trust me, I am not knocking the strength and stamina it takes to accomplish all of these things by yourself. It is a feat just to get ourselves ready to face the world let alone get anything else done.
The thing I am concerned about is not celebrating our achievements in solo parenting/working/whathaveyou, but the concept that we should strive to do these things alone when maybe we don’t have to. Like those times when help is blatantly being offered to us but we reject it to achieve a version of Superwoman status. This can take many forms, for example, let’s say you’re out shopping with your kids, who are being kids and probably going a bit cray in the checkout line. Something falls out of your cart and the person behind you offers to pick it up. Do you A) Kindly accept and thank them or B) Tell them “no thanks, I’ve got it”? If your answer is B, I am curious why. I’ve done this many times, without even realizing it, but then later found myself asking “why didn’t I just let that person hand me my item?”
Another example, let’s say you are having a get together and you want to clean your house before your guests come. You are strapped for time, and when one of your friends comes over early, she offers to help you out. Do you A) Give her a job to do or B) Tell her that she’s a guest and should just make herself comfortable? I hope most of us would put that friend to work in whatever capacity we need. Because that’s what friends are for, right?
Here is my larger point: I feel like that’s what people are for. One of the benefits of being around other sentient beings is that they can perceive another person’s need and, if they are kindhearted, will offer to help. So why not take advantage? I’m not saying go ahead and stop doing things yourself and just let everyone else run your life for you, but once in awhile we all need a little help from our fellow man. And that doesn’t make us weak, it just makes us human.
So the next time you find yourself about to reject help, ask yourself why you’re saying no. Plus, when we are helped by others, we are more likely to pay it forward and help someone else who is in need.