Mothers Helping Mothers? Why not?

One of the reasons why I love CTWorkingMoms is because it is a source of help for mothers and soon to be working mothers. It is a one stop shop of information and a place where we can relate to the trials and tribulations of motherhood. So how can we translate this help from our blog to help into our “real life?”

What I mean by “real life” is, why do mothers never ask for help from other mothers? I read a very interesting article where it discussed how many mothers will not ask for any help. Why do we not reach out to other mothers who have been through or are going through what we are?

A classic example came up with a fellow blogger who was mentioned an issue she was having with childcare (typical work stuff). Do you know what happened without her even asking? An outpouring of help came from other mothers and the problem was easily avoided. I see this over and over; mothers will never even broach the subject of help but when you ask any mother they would offer a hand in a second.

So what is the disconnect? Is it guilt? Is it trust? Or is it that we do not want to burden others? Do we not want to admit we need the help? Would that make us “less” of a mother if we did?

I think we need to shift our thinking paradigm. We need to open up and trust others to help. Think how our lives could change with just a little extra help.

Do you know how many women could maybe get a moment of peace if they asked their best friend to help watch their children for a few hours?  Maybe mom could even get a pedicure or long needed run. How many marriages/relationships would be (slightly) easier if they took the help of a friend or family member so they could go out on a date?

I have been working on this myself and have been very vocal to my friends about offering help. I finally had a break through with a friend the other day. She is going on a business trip without her daughter and her childcare fell through for a few days. After years of offering I almost fell over when she asked for my help. Without thinking a second I accepted and will have her daughter over night. She has less stress and less money she needs to hand out. Was that so hard? It sounded very uncomfortable for my friend which is crazy since we are best friends. But what if this was customary? What if opening yourself up to help was not awkward but normal?

So this week I want all my mothers out there to offer help to one of your friends.  Try to get your friend to agree and then ask someone for help. I imagine a world of working mothers with just a little less stress and a lot more smiles.

9 thoughts on “Mothers Helping Mothers? Why not?

  1. This is a timely topic for me since it’s school break week, and I’ve been thinking about this. On Monday I had a holiday so invited both daughters’ friends over. I hoped one of them would reciprocate later in the week when I would need help since I normally work from home a few afternoons when they are in school and my son is napping. But it would have never occurred to me to ask. Then a different mom called & offered to pick up my older daughter for an afternoon. I mentioned what great timing it was since I had to work all afternoon & was struggling to keep her amused while I work. She then offered to pick her up again today. I felt uncomfortable thinking she might feel taken advantage of…but that’s silly, because she offered, and it probably actually helped her too because it made her daughter happy. So it made me think I wish I would have more connections and trust with people because I would love to help people more in different ways. Thanks for posting this – glad to know I’m not alone.

  2. This is so true. For me, it’s a trust thing. There aren’t many people I trust with my children, though I do have one friend and we each don’t hesitate to ask each other for help. For me it’s also a lot about relinquishing control, something I’m not good at. Great topic.

  3. I think, for me, a lot of it was guilt and not wanting to burden others. Even now, I will readily offer my help to ANY of you mamas, but still feel a pang of guilt asking for help. It’s kind of a stupid reference, but we have been devouring Mad Men recently, and even though so much of that time was not helpful to women, the idea that you could drop your kids off with a friend or neighbor and head to the store or beauty salon was the norm, and no one felt guilty. I don’t know why we (all of us) put so much pressure on ourselves to be super moms- trying to do it all! Love this post (and you)!

  4. It is VERY difficult for me to ask for help. I don’t know why as I would for sure offer help to someone else if they needed it, and I’m always surprised when no one takes me up on my offers. I am going to try to get better about it.

  5. This is so true! I usually rely on my already over-stressed/worked hubby for help and alsomy sister who lives 90 minutes away. I just cant bring myself to ask my friends. But I will try more because I know they would love to do it. Thanks for bringing this to light!

  6. I think sometimes it can be really intimidating to break the ice with other new moms. I am not from CT and I really had to push myself to meet other moms after my son was born. I met some awesome ladies, but now I am back at work and those budding friendships have stalled just because I haven’t figured out yet how to find time to reach out. I definitely need to find some support with childcare, but I am afraid to ask!

  7. Great post, Katie! It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my third and was having horrible migraines that I actually LET my eager friends help me. And you’re right ~ why is it so hard? I LOVE helping MY friends, so why would they feel any differently. (You are far too wise for a first-time Mother, but I tell you that all the time.) 😉

  8. Vivian I totally agree that help is not only in the form of childcare! It comes in so many ways. Just remember though that your twins may be tough but other women would understand and it sometimes seems like kids act better for others (I have no idea why). My sister has two young boys who she has issues with (tantrums, etc) and I watched then last week for a few hours and they were great. I think it being a different environment helped. Do not close out the idea completely 🙂

  9. In my case, it’s a function of burden. My twins are terrible-two-dlers. Temper tantrums, toddler attitude and night wakings are just part of our curriculum. I make Dad deal with it on occasion because he is the dad, afterall, but I don’t want to place that stress and burden on anyone else; partially because of the repercussions of doing so.

    My in-laws live overseas and when they come to visit, they come for MONTHS at a time (I’m not kidding!). I used to try to take advantage of their visit by having them help out by babysitting (remember date night?!), but there’s always something that stresses them out – MIL particularly – and/or causes me pain after the fact. There was one particularly bad incident when the kids were just about 1 year old that made it so that I will NEVER ask my in-laws to watch the kids for more than an hour again. They are not bad Grandparents by any means – they love my kids and would do anything for them. But even someone like Grandma/Grandpa, who LOVE their grandchildren unconditionally, gets stress out of being in a situation that is a little more difficult than the average “let’s go sit in a circle and sing songs…” If that translates into a nasty diaper rash and a lot of attitude from both kid and MIL after the fact, then I would just much rather NOT deal with it. Emergency situations are one thing because desperate times lead to desperate measures, but for the everyday situation, I will figure it out and deal with it myself.

    I hear you on the offering help and taking it when it’s offered, and it’s important to remember that that does not have to come in the form of childcare; it can come in the form of a favor (carpool, trip to the supermarket, helping to clean the house). In one of my friend’s case, it came in the form of organizing meal dropoffs after her third child was born. These are all low-burden, low maintenance ways to ask for and offer help. But in the case of child care, no thanks – I will certainly offer to help, but I will never ask for it unless I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.

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