We have an appointment with the pediatrician Thursday at 9 a.m. I need to let his teachers know he’ll be late for school. Or do I tell the front office? Did I submit that proposal to our New York office? Darn. I forgot to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. Did I call our managing partner back? I’m traveling for work in two days – what do I need to pack? That reminds me I need to pick up our dry cleaning. Did I rent a car yet? Shoot. That reminds me I never submitted my expense report from my last work trip. That also reminds me – I should place a grocery order before I leave. Should I pre-make dinner before I leave, too? I wonder if my mother-in-law can step in to help with the kids’ music lessons while I’m out of town. I need to ask tomorrow. UGH. I have to start writing that manuscript. Can’t keep putting it off. I have to bring homemade cookies for the bake sale tomorrow. Oops – did the homeroom parent mention that anyone has allergies? It’s trash day tomorrow. It’s Devan’s anniversary Tuesday. Must get a card. A gift, maybe. Did I pay that bill? I should call to confirm. What time is the soccer game this weekend – am I the snack parent this week? Gosh. Any allergies? I can never remember. I should schedule a meeting with our CPA ahead of tax season before she books up. Don’t we have a birthday party this weekend – what are 10-year-old girls into? Need to find out. Marcie’s been under the weather – I need to remember to call her tomorrow to check-in.
What time is it, anyway?
Go to sleep. Stop thinking. Worrying. Just … stop. And go to sleep. If you fall asleep now, you’ll get almost four-and-half hours of sleep. Well, now it’s four hours of sleep. You can survive on that. Just go to sleep right now. Three hours is enough, too, I guess …
Oh, the lullaby countless women everywhere sing themselves to (not) sleep.
Sound familiar? Maybe way too uncomfortably familiar if we’re being honest with ourselves.
Married. Single. Working. Staying at home. Kids. No kids.
Despite our differences, one thing is certain: Women everywhere – all ages, professions, lifestyles, races, and wages – are failing to ask for help.
We’re smart. We speak our minds. We’re intuitive – intuitive and empathetic enough to immediately recognize when someone else needs help. And then, in the mad flailings of our own drowning, we will offer that help to anyone else at any time.
But not ourselves.
Think about it: On every flight, every flight attendant is quick to remind us to ‘secure your mask first, and then assist others.’
Why? Because it’s kind of hard to help someone else if you’re rendered unconscious from cabin decompression, right? The best intentions don’t always yield the best results.
And, as we’ve all surmised by now, that simple, repetitive airline instruction serves as a much larger metaphor for life.
But we’ll be the first to admit that we roll our eyes a little every time we hear that recitation. Because when you really think about yourself in a life-or-death situation, can you really imagine tending to yourself before your *insert kids, spouse, loved one or even seat neighbor*?
Again – why?
Help With A Side of Judgment
Sitting with Oprah – the Oprah – renowned professor and Licensed Master Social Worker Dr. Brene Brown polled the predominantly female audience.
To the question of how many in the audience were comfortable asking for help, only a few hands raised.
She polled again.
To the questions of how many prefer giving help, nearly all hands raised.
Dr. Brown stunned the room with what she shared next.
“When you cannot ask for help without self-judgment,
you are never really offering help without judgment.”
For many years, Brown admitted that her self-worth came from helping other people. She was a social worker, after all – but also admitted that she would never ask for help.
“When you extract worthiness for helping people, that’s judgment,” Brown said. “When you don’t extract worthiness and you think, ‘I’m just helping you because one day I’m gonna need help’ — that’s connection. That’s vulnerability.”
Enough with the ruse of the superwoman. Let’s retire the cape and rip off the Spandex.
We can do it all, but we need help. We deserve help – and it’s out there, enough to help shoulder the weight of those crushing middle-of-the-night to-do lists.
Grocery services. Meal-preparation services. Housekeepers. Babysitters and nannies. Assistants. Friends. Loved ones. Bookkeepers. Neighbors. One-click, same-day delivery online shopping.
Help is everywhere. We just have to give ourselves permission to accept it, knowing we deserve it.
Think about: If we’ve learned anything from Queen Bey, it’s that we run this. And do you know how Queen Bey runs ‘this’ and, well, everything?
With help. Lots and lots (and lots) of help. She certainly wouldn’t be able to run ‘this’ – or anything – without it.
Even better? She knows she needs it; she deserves it.
And so do we.
Because if it’s good enough for her majesty, it’s good enough for us. So we invite you to join us as we dive into – and dismantle – all the coulds and shoulds and musts we’ve accepted as gospel all our lives in our forthcoming ‘I’m fine’ series.
Come with arms outstretched but this time, not to give – but only to receive.
To all the independent women, the ambitious women, the nurturing women, the thoughtful women, we see you. We hear you. We appreciate you.
And we’re here to help.