My Headset Was in the Fruit Bowl


My timing was flawless. I returned from dropping my son off at school just before my first client of the day. But when the phone rang promptly at 9:30 I couldn’t find my wireless headset (perhaps the most important piece of technology for a coach). It was … well, you read the title. I’d like to blame my kids, but I have to confess that I must have set it in with the bananas and apples myself last night. Boy, do I need help!

First, the background: this is Day 10 of 15 Days (FIFTEEN DAYS) that my husband is away at conferences in – get this – France. It’s actually immaterial where he is, and in my more generous moments I am even happy for him that he gets to take a dinner cruise on the Seine while I am wrangling our children. The point is that I have been flying solo with our three kids, plus running my coaching business, and the only way for me to survive this with a shred of sanity is to get help.

Today help arrives in the form of my in-laws who will stay for two days and three nights and who will bring a pot roast. Friday night help was my neighbor Gretchen who listened to my teary complaints about my ungrateful children, told me I was a good mom, and poured me a glass of good red wine. Numerous days it has been parents in my kids’ schools doing drop-off or pick-up for me when I couldn’t make it or just needed a break. And I am grateful to them all.

For those of us who pride ourselves on being the go-to person, who habitually take on a lot of responsibility and prefer to be the helpER, rather than the helpEE, asking for help can feel uncomfortable. So here are some reasons to do it:

1.You need it. Don’t get caught up in your own myth about how strong and self-sufficient you are – just lean on someone. It feels good, once you get used to it.
2.You will do a better job if you are supported. You can’t just keep drawing on your reserves without making a deposit, so give yourself a break.
3.People like to help. Think how good it makes you feel to be able to help a friend in need. Give your friends that warm feeling.
4.You are modeling good life skills for those around you – your children, co-workers, even your partner. There is no shame in asking for help.
5.You will be less resentful. Self-righteously soldiering on when you are overwhelmed sows the seeds of anger and resentment. Don’t go there.

Bottom line: everyone is better off if you seek support when you need it – before you have blown through a work deadline or locked yourself in the bathroom weeping.

Okay, I’ve gotta go. It just started raining, so I need to call a mom from my daughter’s soccer group to ask her to pick her up for me today.