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The Courage of Asking for Help

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The hardest time to ask for support is when you need it the most. It’s a cruel irony. Every parent has moments or periods of vulnerability and self-doubt. This parenting thing throws even the most confident of us a curve ball every now and then. I know that for me, my ability to mother goes to the very core of how I see myself as a person. Is it during those moments of vulnerability that we are expected to be strong enough to show our weaknesses? The straight answer is YES. Being able to ask for or find support is a crucial skill for a parent, even when it demonstrates your vulnerability and self-perceived shortcomings.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. Model healthy behavior for your child.
What would you want you child to do if he/she were having a problem? You would want your child to seek and get help. Set that example.

2. It’s not all about you.
The child’s well-being is the priority. Seeking help when needed to continue the best care of the child produces a better outcome for the child. A better outcome for the father, the mother and any caretaker involved follows. Asking for or finding help when needed shows good judgment. So don’t feel bad about calling the pediatrician again or asking your husband to care for your child so that you can rest and recharge.

3. There is more to learn.
No parent is fully equipped for parenthood. Most parents are tripped up by something along the way– a health issue, a behavior issue, an academic hurdle, a developmental challenge, etc. Education not only informs and diagnoses, but it can correct habits and ingrained behaviors. Education gives you the confidence to make changes and improvements in your parenting.

4. Resources exist because of the fact that parenting is not easy—for anyone.
Mothers’ groups, breastfeeding consultants, Mommy-and-Me classes, Parenting classes… the list is endless. Many of these resources are free. Take advantage of the advancements in our society! I will never forget the feeling of relief I felt when I went to my first Mother’s Group. Everyone told a story and shared. Everyone laughed. I realized that I was not alone as a parent and that “talking things through” with other parents helped me. I liked feeling a part of a larger community of people with similar challenges and goals.

5. Bring other caring adults into your child’s life.
By allowing others to bond with your child, you are giving your child a bigger network of people who love him/her. I am not suggesting that you should hand your child off to any willing adult, but allowing people you trust to bond with your child is good for your child’s security and safety in the world. Start small. Allow a grandmother to watch your child so you can run errands or even catch up on a couple of hours of sleep. See how it goes.

The long and the short of it is that getting the support you need to be the best parent possible is smart. Don’t begrudge yourself the relief you will feel by sharing your burden. Take comfort in the fact that you are doing what is best for your child, for yourself, and for your family.

May 25, 2016

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