Every time you see a decent picture of me, it’s probably because I had the help of a talented friend. Or seven. I probably had to swallow my pride and set aside my self-doubt and self-deprecating thoughts long enough to admit that 1) I want a nice picture of myself and 2) I need help.
That’s really hard. Asking for help is super hard, especially when it is for a seemingly vain task. However these pictures mean more to me than vanity and asking for help is a daily practice that is changing my life.
Asking for help feels awkward because you are admitting that you can’t “do it all” on your own and/or that someone else can do it better. And beyond that, asking for help puts you in a humble, confident position of trusting you are making the right decision and that if someone else thinks you are lazy or weak, that is not your problem. I don’t know about you, but I believe this idea of “doing it all” without help is damaging and debilitating.
Living a life without help is damaging because it keeps people at a distance. It deprives people that love you of the opportunity to bless you. It also might be keeping people out of your life who could love you but haven’t had the chance to yet. I personally love when people ask me for help. I want to be trusted and thought of. I want to be able to bless the people I love. So I choose to believe that there may be others who think similarly.
Not asking for help is also debilitating because, quite frankly, you need help. You cannot do as much without the help of the people and resources around you. Can you live a “good enough” life while maintaining your pride and keeping others at a distance? Sure. Let me know how that goes for you because I have chosen to admit that I am better with my helpers. And do you know what I have noticed? My relationships are deeper, my life is easier, and my joy is richer.
I don’t want to wait until I “have it all together” to let people into my life. That will be a VERY lonely life because things are always a hot mess over here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. If you think anyone has it all together, they don’t. Instagram is not life. Balance is not real in the way that a lot of people act like it is. You do some things well, you do other things poorly, and then there are the things you don’t do at all. For example, I don’t regularly clean my house. I barely keep up with laundry and that’s only ever done because my husband does the majority of it. But I do rest almost every day, whether that is an actual nap, or laying in my bed, or just sitting and drinking coffee. That, to me, is a non-negotiable. Keeping my house clean might make me feel better in some ways, but the striving to use every second of nap time for a superficial outcome drains the crap out of me. Give me a mess and a nap any day, please and thank you.
Let’s get to the nitty gritty for a hot second.
There are two types of help: paid and unpaid. They both have their challenges. Paid help is challenging because, let’s be real, you need to be able to afford it. But after that, it’s easier on your pride for sure. Unpaid help is challenging because you are asking for favors and trusting that your friends, family, or whoever in your community will have healthy boundaries and say “yes” when they mean “yes” and “no” when they mean “no”.
I ask my friends, family and church community for help all the time. All. The. Time. And when I’m in a healthy head space, I make zero apologies for it for the following reasons: 1) I want them to be comfortable asking me for help, 2) I want them to be grown-ups who say “yes” when they mean “yes” and “no” when they mean “no”, and 3) I want to create a culture of helping. Oh, and 4) I CAN’T DO IT ALL ALONE.
These are “my people” who I usually do not pay. It’s hard and awkward sometimes, but again, we’re all grown-ups and are hopefully telling the truth and having good boundaries.
I ask for help with childcare, yard work/house projects, random errands or car rides, whatever! Especially when my husband is working out of town and I’m on my own. These are also the people who I reach out to when we have a foster care placement and are in need of clothes, toys, beds, car seats, etc.
Now let’s talk about paid help. I know a lot of people will have eye-roll moments of “MUST BE NICE” when anyone talks about paid help. But, let’s get over ourselves long enough to realize that if a person has worked honestly for their money and wants to spend it on help, whether it is a necessity or luxury, that is their choice. Because they are most likely a GROWN-UP.
My current goal is to make enough money so I do not have to clean my house or do the majority of my laundry. And I feel ZERO shame about this. I hate household chores and I would like to never do them again, thank you very much. The fact is: there are plenty of people who would love to get paid to do things that I do not want to do, so I’m going to work towards funding those people. This is not degrading or disrespectful. Any person with a job anywhere ever is doing a job that at least one other person is wanting to pay them to do. So again, let’s get over it. If I can pay a college kid to mow my grass then awesome! They get money that they would not have otherwise had and I just saved myself and my husband hours of work, which means we get to spend more time together or with our kids. WIN-WIN.
Friends. Life is so much sweeter together. I don’t mean together when my house is clean and the perfect meal is cooked and the wine is in actual glasses and not mason jars. I mean together pulling weeds, or wrangling children, or drinking wine out of mason jars amidst my piles of laundry.
Ask for help and see what magic happens.