I wrote this post a few months ago, but like a lot of things in my life right now, I never finished it. It seems appropriate for today as my little one sleeps upstairs, the sun is just peaking up over the side of the volcano and I’m walking out the door for another long day way.
. . .
Last week I sat at the gas station before heading out for my 90-minute commute. I live in a country where they pump your gas for you, so I had time to send a quick email to a few close friends:
“I have to work 10-hour days this week and I am leaving Elena for the whole time. It feels hard and long. Would appreciate your prayers and good thoughts for this anxious-mama. Thanks!”
I second-guessed it as I wrote it. It sounds silly. Lots of moms leave their toddlers for work or a weekend away, I rationalized to myself. This was not anything special or serious. There was no pending phone call from a doctor or serious health concern. Why am I sending this? I should just go.
I ignored the should’ves and tapped “send.”
. . .
Gerber and I live in Guatemala, where I usually work part-time at an office, 5 kilometers from our house. I leave my 19-month-old little girl in good hands each morning and my mama’s heart rests assured that I could rush home in a moments notice if I needed to. But this felt different. I would be 90-minutes away on bumpy, dirt roads that make it impossible to speed back in the case of an emergency.
I had just stopped naptime nursing the week prior, knowing that I would be away everyday this week. I had called two local friends with cars and asked them to be on call if our sitter needed anything, you know, like a ride to the HOSPITAL?! When you live in a country without reliable ambulances and emergency rooms you think about these things.
. . .
A few hours later my phone buzzed with kind responses to my panicked email. From their living room floors and kitchens and stolen moments in the bathroom, my friends responded. They emailed, they prayed, and they checked-up on me throughout the week. There wasn’t much they could physically do because we were separated by time zones and country lines, but somehow knowing that they were thinking of us, made me feel less alone.
In motherhood and in life, you can’t qualify or quantify feelings. What’s scary and hard for one mama, may be a breeze for another. Motherhood leaves no rooms for comparison. Just like the small humans we care for, us moms have unique personalities and different struggles. Here’s the way my mom explained it to me once, Michelle everyone needs help, we just need help with different things.
I am big believer in asking for help; from dear friends, from a therapist, from my own mom and sometimes yes, still occasionally from Google. In no other time in my life have I felt the need to ask for help as much as in this season of motherhood. And I imagine you may feel the same way?
Is it hard? Heck, yes. Does it feel vulnerable? Always. Does it mean ignoring the voices that say, “c’mon that’s silly, no one needs helps with that?” Yep!
But the results are real. Connection. Support. Love. Wisdom.
Maybe sometimes that’s the power in asking for help; it lets someone else in. It acknowledges that I can’t do this alone; I am not super woman or super anything. I am human, I am a mom and I need help.
. . .
In case you were wondering, the week went well. My daughter did fine, I did fine and thankfully there were no trips to the emergency room. I came home on Friday afternoon to a lovely scribbled drawing that my daughter and our babysitter did. You’ll see she asked our sitter to draw an airplane (which she loves) and her mama and dada (who I am sure she missed) and if you look very, very closely, you’ll see the mama has two little dots on her. Oh yes, those are my “chiche” (pronounced “chee-chay” in Spanish and loosely translates to “boobies”) So yes, she must have missed those as well.
In fact, I will probably send my dear friends a separate email in a few months, asking for help when I am trying to wean her.