My anxiety has been through the roof! I have been spiraling about finances, my boys’ school, the portal switchover, my weight, politics, a tree in our front yard that lost a limb, etc., etc., etc. I know I’m not the only one who has been struggling this month, so I wanted to let you know you’re not alone and you’re not going crazy!
You’re also not a bad parent if you’re struggling with what feels like everything at once.
We’re under an immense amount of pressure as parents right now, trying to make what feels like life and death decisions, with very little and constantly changing information. It’s understandable that we’re anxious. It’s understandable that we’re on high alert and on edge. It’s understandable that we feel gaslighted because from what I’ve seen, a lot of our governments are gaslighting us! While everything may actually be okay, it doesn’t feel okay.
One way I’m pulling myself out of my spiral is by asking for help.
Grab the scripts for crazy-making behaviour and know exactly what to say next time your toddler, preschooler, or kindergartener isn't listening.
I know asking for help is difficult for all of us, especially as women. We have been socialized to not ask for other’s support, to believe that asking for help is a sign of weakness, of lower intelligence, or of incompetence. We know that we are none of those things, so naturally, we tough it out.
I can spot someone trying to tough it out a mile away. And I knew I was trying to tough it out! When reflecting on ourselves, it’s a lot harder to act on because we’re emotionally invested. It feels a lot more personal. I have had a few experiences this past week that snapped me back into reality, to the face the fact that I had to get over myself and ask for help. The only way to get off the tracks and not get hit by the train is with help.
My biggest fear when I ask for help is that I’m draining someone’s cup to refill mine.
Remember that most people are actually more than happy to help and that by helping they more often than not get something out of it too. I know for many of us asking for and getting help right now is harder for isolation reasons, like having a high-risk person in the household or living in a high-risk area.
It would do us all well to think about what kind of help we could solicit, take a deep breath and ask for it. Could we ask someone to bring us food? Could we ask the grandparents to video call with the kids so we can do some work or clean? Could we ask for someone to pick up our groceries? Or do our laundry? Can we hire a cleaner, even if it’s a one-off, just to get us back to a baseline? Can we ask around for free meal prep box coupons so we can take meal planning off our plate this week? There are a lot of ways people can support us even if we aren’t in a situation currently that we can receive more face-to-face support.
If we can find ways to offload some of our stressors to other people who have the bandwidth to support us, then that frees up more of our energy so that we aren’t feeling so anxious and burnt out. This is the exact same principle we focus on in ParentAbility with our kids, of reducing or mitigating their stressors so that they have the energy to behave well and use their executive skills.
So what do you think? Do you have any ideas for ways you can ask for help? I’d love for everybody who listens to this to commit to themselves to ask for help with something within the next week.
That’s my challenge to you: get some help in the next week!
And if one of those things takes up a lot of energy and brain space for you is figuring out your child’s behavior, then let me, help you. Join the Parenting Posse Facebook group, a.k.a my free peer support Facebook group.
Or if you’re ready for more structured support, I invite you to learn about the ParentAbility system in my free workshop How to Raise Well-Behaved Kids Without Yelling, Shaming, or Time-Outs.