A few years ago my husband, Stephen, and I had to take a last minute business trip. My twin sister offered to watch our two boys, one with profound special needs. When we got back from our trip and I asked her how it went, she said, “It was really, really hard.”

I looked in her eyes and I felt seen. I broke down crying.

If you’re a mother of young children, caring for someone with special needs or aging parents–you understand. It is hard. Years ago, I almost never asked for help. I tried to do it all myself. My husband was willing and able but I still tried to shoulder most of the load. I didn’t want to burden my husband, friends or family. I thought I could do it on my own. I thought it was my JOB to do it on my own.

It wasn’t any one task that was hard. Giving a bath wasn’t hard. Changing a diaper wasn’t hard. Giving medication wasn’t hard. Scheduling a doctor visit wasn’t hard. Feeding a child wasn’t hard. Even dealing with a tantrum, while exhausting, was still do-able. But all of it–all of the tasks, to dos, emotions and being available 24 hours a day was HARD. It was overwhelming. Honestly, it was suffocating.

Why don’t we ask for help? I’ve spent time thinking about this and asking friends for their perspective. I’ve worked hard to overcome false beliefs in my own life and start to ask for help–and I still have a lot to learn.

Here are 10 reasons we don’t ask for help.

  1. We’re so tired we can’t figure out HOW to ask for help.
  2. We think we should be able to do it alone.
  3. We worry someone else won’t love this person as much as we do. Even worse, what if they hurt the person we love?
  4. We’re afraid we’re not doing a good enough job and you’ll judge us.
  5. We can’t ask for a favor because we don’t have room to repay the favor.
  6. Paying for help is expensive and we can’t afford it.
  7. We don’t want another person around. Life is already complicated without adding another personality.
  8. It’s easier to do it on our own–that way we have control.
  9. Our house is a mess, our heads are a mess, life is a mess and we don’t want you to see our mess.
  10. If we ask for help and take a break we might realize how overwhelming it all is and completely fall apart.

Our family is in a season with lots of doctor visits. David has a big spinal surgery coming up and we will see all of his specialists for clearance before the surgery. I counted last week and we 9 doctor visits in Los Angeles before his surgery. It’s big and overwhelming and we need help. I can’t do it alone. So I’m slowly looking at what we need, thinking of practical ways people can help and then I’m doing something crazy–I’m asking. We’re hiring caregivers and showing them how to care for David. We’re asking friends to bring meals. We’re planning overnight care for David during the surgery recovery. It’s imperfect and messy but it’s necessary. I’m learning how important help is–and I’m feeling hopeful.

My word for this year is ‘simplify‘. I want to make space for David’s medical needs, surgery and my emotional well-being. I want to keep our calendar manageable and avoid overwhelm. I want downtime to read, walk and rest–even in this stressful season. I want to feel my feelings and speak honestly. I want to build a community of people who love and support us–and who we can love and support. We have help and it’s amazing. My heart is full of gratitude. I want to continue building a team of people who help us. I want to make space so we can help others too! I truly believe our burdens are lighter when we carry them for each other.

My word this year is S I M P L I F Y. I’m loving this necklace. Click image for details.

Do you have a word of the year {or a word of the season}? What do you want your life to look like? How do you want to change and grow?
Click here for the Word of the Year necklace.

How can you ask for help? I see you mama–pouring out love on your kids. I see you friend, caring for your aging parent. I see you teachers and doctors and nurses and therapists–you pour out love and care for others. You matter–your needs and wants, thoughts and feelings MATTER.

Personalize with a meaningful word, special names, dates or a phrase.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Does this list resonate with you? Why is so hard to ask for help?

Click here for the Word of the Year necklace!