Why Asking for Help Empowers Moms
Feeling helpless is not great. It is even more discouraging as a new parent. I am an empowered, independent woman. I’ve been raised to know I can do it all and be it all—motherhood included! But that does not mean I cannot, or should not, ask for help, especially when you have a miniature human who is absolutely and completely dependent on you. It’s not only nice to have others help, but essential. As a new mom, you become the captain of the boat and someone else must help steer the course, wash the deck, trim the sails, etc. You may need to bark out some orders, but the crew (a.k.a. dad or mom or other partner) will understand, and as the tiny person grows, so will the responsibilities and dependency shift.
My husband was so excited throughout the pregnancy. He held me and suffered through 36 hours of labor by my side. He cried when our daughter cried for the first time. Once we brought her home, he was more than ready to be a dad. He just wasn’t always entirely sure what to do. To be fair, neither was I. A lot of parenting skills can’t be gleaned from a how-to manual. You learn on your feet. At 3 a.m. While figuring out what (whaaaat) will make your baby stop crying. Once you get the hang of it, off you go!
In the midst of these mysteries to solve and discoveries to make are the things you know, the concrete facts you grasp onto to keep your footing. I know a glass of water and snack will make me feel better while nursing our tiny human, for example. I also know (learned!) a dog cannot wait to be walked while a baby is readied for the outdoors. And so, we mothers must say out loud our wants and needs. We must ask for help—from each other and from loved ones, friends, neighbors, and, sometimes, complete strangers. By doing so, we make life easier for everyone. Because asking for help is also helping others. There is no guesswork required (at a brief time when guessing is the only way to find the answer).
I am lucky that my husband is an amazing father. However, he has not (yet) developed mind reading skills and cannot, therefore, simply intuit what I need. Now, I ask so he can act. Early on, I asked him to please burp the baby because I really sucked at it, then he took on that task most of the time. He was helping me by doing his job, and I was helping him by asking for specific things I either needed or skills I hadn’t mastered. We became a team. Of course, partners are already in tune with each other and it wasn’t long before I didn’t have to ask for things to get done; it became like a song I was playing with my husband doing the harmonies. And there are days when it’s the other way around.
I am still an independent human being who could do it all by herself… but I choose not to. Since having our daughter, I discovered I’m a much better mom as part of a team that knows how to navigate through any storm.