To the mother of the rambunctious two year old and newborn twins who was waiting at the mechanics beside me today: you are wonder woman. I even told you as much; a compliment that you took, but then shrugged off quickly, assuring me that wasn’t accurate.
I hope you don’t mind, but I watched you out of the corner of my eye, as our kids played together and you fed both your babies at the same time. I wasn’t trying to be rude; I was just really in awe at how you multitasked like a pro! After a good hour and a half, your car was finished and you were asked if you needed help out. You instantly turned down the offer, saying you “got it” and then proceeded to throw your diaper bag over your shoulder, cradled a car seat in each elbow, and called to your toddler to follow (who ignored you the first 3 times, like most toddlers tend to do).
I bet I know why you turned down the mechanic’s offer of help, choosing to struggle through the doorway loaded down. Earlier, when a fellow car-waiting stranger next to us offered to hold one of your crying newborns, I heard you, but I don’t think she did. I heard you sheepishly say, “Yeah, if you’d like to, that’d be nice.” But I don’t think she heard, which is why she never actually did anything. She offered to help, then seemingly ignored your struggles and ended up walking away. I saw in that moment of misunderstanding, your determination to not need help became set in stone. I saw your eyes go from overwhelming desperation to silent relief at the offer of help, to embarrassment when the stranger didn’t act on her offer. And then your eyes became set with resolve to do things on your own and it was almost as if I could read your thoughts as you determined you “should” be able to handle everything on your own.
Which was why, when your car was finished and the mechanic offered to carry one of your twins’ car seats, you instantly, and forcefully, declined.
But, sweet mother of three children under three, I’m here to assure you: just because you CAN do it all yourself, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
Why do we mothers refuse help when it’s offered? What made us begin thinking we HAD to do it all ourselves? We aren’t any less of a good mom if our screaming babies make us frustrated and we need a kind stranger’s help. So why are we so hard on ourselves?
Moms, this is so dangerous.
It’s dangerous to refuse all help and assume we “should” be able to do it all. No mother can! No mother truly raises a child on her own. Even without friends, family, or spouse to help, there’s always God—a God who sends strangers to offer help when you need it the most. It’s dangerous to think you have to do it all on your own because that will wear even the strongest mothers down to the bone. You are a person too. You deserve a break, and if a nice stranger is willing to help, let them. There’s no shame in it, and it just might make their day, too.
So here I am, reminding us all that we probably COULD do everything ourselves, because we are incredibly strong (and stubborn). But you don’t HAVE to. So please, for the sake of your own sanity, accept help when it’s given and enjoy the moment of relief.