MC900434757Why is it so difficult to ask for help? I believe most people want and like to be of help to others. In fact, I know I love it when I can be of service to my friends – yes, you may borrow something of mine; yes, I’d be happy to babysit for you; yes, I could drive you to the airport, no problem. But, what I’m finding is that for some reason, it is much easier to give help than to ask for it when we need it.

Case in point: My spouse travels regularly, sometimes for a full week at a time. It’s very challenging to be pregnant and caring for an almost-three-year old by myself nonstop, day in and day out with no reprieve. I can usually make it about three days just fine on my own then by the evening of the fourth night I’m toast. I’ve had it and I want someone else to make dinner, or to clean up from dinner, or to put him to bed, or something that will allow me a moment to sit down and rest.

This is one of those weeks when my spouse is out of town. As a special treat, my mom flew in from NY to help. She played with the little guy during the day, helped make dinner, gave him a bath and is putting him to bed as I type this. It’s pretty amazing and so great to have help, even if it’s way more than I need right now. It feels fantastic! But she’s my mom and sometimes moms just know what you need. And, sadly she lives on the other side of the country.

Turn the tables slightly and see what happens. My mom leaves on Friday and on Saturday we have a tour scheduled with the local hospital to see their birthing center. They request that no children under the age of 10 attend the tour. So, what do I do with our 3 year old? I need to ask for help. We have one friend of a friend who has occasionally babysat for us to go out a couple of evenings. Do we pay her to come and watch him on a Saturday afternoon so we can go to the hospital? We have a couple of friend/acquaintances-on-their-way-to becoming-friends that have children. Do we ask them, even though the tour will butt up against the little guy’s nap time (and he’ll start getting cranky)? Or, do we ask the childless couple that says they love other people’s kids but who are planning their wedding and probably have better things to do on a Saturday afternoon?

It’s hard to ask for help. It’s even harder to ask for help when you’re in a new city and don’t have access to the usual resources (like family) that can help you out in a bind. What would you do here? Who would you ask for help in this situation? Have you ever been in a similar situation – what did you do?