In my professional life, part of my role as a manager is to ask for help. I ask my team for help all the time – except it’s called delegation and it’s in the job description.
And it doesn’t sound so helpless.
In single-working-mother world though, delegation only exists when I ask the kids to set the table, feed the cats or do any number of chores.
Outside of that, my sense has always been that the responsibility falls on me and asking for help simply feels unacceptable. Taboo.
The ‘h’ word itself chokes me.
Asking for help feels like some sort of failure – like I’m single-handedly supposed to be able to manage it all. The rides. The homework. The activities. The meals. All of it.
So when the 2015-2016 school year started and my boys were suddenly inundated with sports, social activities and clubs, it meant that I, too, was inundated. And defeated.
I panicked at the very thought of potentially having to leave work early four days a week.
My solution to the problem seemed simple enough.
I immediately started looking to fill the need by building a ride-share business for school kids. Seriously. I looked to see if anyone else was doing something similar (there is) and quietly started to build my own business model.
My business plans drew to a halt, however, when all of a sudden, my significant other and friends whose kids were in the same activities stepped forward and offered to help as much as possible. It was that easy. It was uncomfortable at first, but I accepted the help and offer up my extreme gratitude on a regular basis.
I even ask for help now when I need it. Shudder to think.
But taking advantage of the help that’s out there for us doesn’t just elude us Moms… In the working world, professionals young and old don’t necessarily have trouble asking for help, but do have trouble reacting to the help offered to them.
“One of the big issues I find today is that people don’t listen to experience. They want you to help them, but when you offer suggestions, they don’t want to do what you’re suggesting. They would rather argue with you than take your advice,” said Michael Curry, three-time Emmy award winning sound engineer, Head of Audio for MLB and NHL Networks in a recent conversation about our careers.
I find this attitude to be true of my kids too, and I hope to break this habit now while they’re still young and impressionable.
Regardless of whether you are a single parent, a seasoned professional or someone just starting in your career, don’t be afraid to ask for help… but more importantly, be open to it when it’s given. There is no greater lesson in life than what experience has to offer.
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