5 signs you’re not asking for help enough (and probably should be!)
Published: 21st of February 2022
Raising children was always meant to be done as part of a strong support network, a parenting ‘village’! So if you’re struggling to juggle parenting and work, it's likely to have something to do with you taking it all on yourself!
Here are some signs that you’re not asking for enough help (and you probably should be!)
- You’re snapping at your kids - As a parent you need bucket-loads of patience and the negotiating skills of an FBI agent! But if you're overloaded and knackered, your resilience and compromising skills are likely to take a battering and you'll end up in escalating conflict over your 3 year old insisting on wearing PJ's to nursery or wellies to bed.
- One of your favourite slogans is “it’s easier to do it myself than to get someone else to do it” - Both at work and at home, you seem to be the expert in everything from tweaking Excel formulas, remembering birthdays and paying the water bill and asking for help seems to take longer (and be harder work) than just doing it yourself. But while you're filling your days helping others, you're so exhausted that you can't think about career progression and developing yourself.
- You’re catching up with work in the evening and/or ‘getting ahead of your emails’ before you start your week - A classic hangover from lockdown and working from home, now we have work at our fingertips and the office boundaries are 'redefined' (to say the least!) ! But it's likely that no one is asking you to work until midnight (and they might not even know you are) and your stress levels will be sky-rocketing when you switch back on and thinking about work when you've only just wrestled the kids to bed.....which brings me to......
- You can’t sleep because you’re thinking about your to-do list - When your head is full of worrying about all the balls you're juggling (and the fear of dropping one!), it's likely that switching off at the end of the day will be a challenge. So if you're lying awake at night, or waking at 4am in a panic about forgetting to send that email, you could probably do with sharing the load! And, if you get more good-quality sleep, you'll actually be able to function better to catch those balls!
- You can’t remember the last time you had a date night with your partner - Always the thing that falls off the list with over-worked and stressed-out parents......FUN! Whether it's your partner or seeing your best pals for a coffee or cocktail, if you're doing it all on your own, you may well have not belly laughed for waaaay too long!
But how do you ask for help, when everyone is so busy?
I talk to a lot of clients who don't have family nearby and that traditional 'parenting village' of a close-knit community that used to exist for many of our parents' generation.
Parenting can feel really isolating and asking for help can feel super uncomfortable (especially when everyone always seems so busy!), so here are a few baby steps to get you started......
- Suss out who your best allies are, at work and in your personal life
- Consider some quick wins that could be easily picked up and make a solid difference to your juggling levels
- Involve your children, where appropriate, think about the practical skills you could teach them in housework, cooking, working together.....
- Make your requests for help simple and clear (fewer words are better, you don't have to talk yourself into circles and end up taking the work back again)
- Reflect on how it felt to ask for help and how you might like to adapt your approach in the future
And if you're tripping yourself up with guilt and inadequacy over asking for help, try asking yourself these questions.....
- If a friend asked you for help, would you turn them away? I suspect not. You'd probably be over in a flash or have the kettle on waiting for them to come over and offload before they'd even messaged back.
- Can you lower your standards? Does it really matter if your partner takes on more cooking and includes baked beans and 1 of the 5 a day a couple of times as week if it means you can see a friend or do an exercise class?
- Would your children like you to have more headspace and time to spend with them? Asking other people could ease the burden and free up some space in your head to have better QUALITY time and focus for your children, where you're not worrying about all the other stuff on your list.
So how about passing on some of those helpful self-care messages to your children by letting them see you ask for and accept help when you need it?
If you'd like help with feeling more supported with managing the parenting juggle, feel free to drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or book a 60 minute free call with me to suss out what's awry in your work/life balance and create an action plan to move forward.