I used to believe that strength and success meant never asking for help, never admitting that I couldn’t do something on my own. I spent years working so hard to maintain a facade, which I thought would ultimately lead to happiness and serenity. Statistics were never on my side, yet I was determined to have it all. So, I pushed myself harder. I sacrificed sleep, sanity, friends and my own hopes and dreams in my own quest for perfection.
Loneliness and overwhelming anxiety were my constant companions. In fact during times of great crisis, I would actually take on more projects, volunteer to help other people, hold myself to an even higher standard simply to prove that I could handle it all. I was hopelessly lost and searching for something I couldn’t find nor even name.
Then one day, I woke up. Light illuminated my world, and I finally saw what I had been missing and what I had been doing to myself. It was time. It wasn’t going to be easy and it certainly wasn’t going to be painless. But I was ready to be real, ready to be me. In 2013, my life dramatically changed.
I’ve been a single mom for 98 days now. In those 98 days, I’ve learned a lot about my kids, my house, my friends, my family and myself. Some of it, I really didn’t want to know. Most of it, I needed to know. However, what has surprised me the most is that I am learning to ask for help. Finally. At 36 years old, I am finally learning that I can’t do it all. No one can. I need help. I didn’t know how to ask for help at first. If people offered help, I hesitantly accepted it. I was slowly getting used to the idea and overcoming my embarrassment.
In September, my teen-man-child broke his arm and reality hit. I never really realized how much he did around the house and for me until he wasn’t able to help anymore. I quickly learned how to get over my pride and ask others for help when I discovered my dog had found a nest of baby bunnies in the backyard. The grass was so long – it had become a bunny breeding paradise.
Thanks to a very brave friend who helped with baby bunny removal and some instruction from my son, I can proudly admit that at 36 years old, I now know how to mow the lawn. I’ve even overcome my fear and stupidity about asking for help and receiving it! Okay, I haven’t overcome it completely, but I’m making progress!
If you liked this post, you can read more about my post-divorce struggles and the road to single parenthood in Divorce Healing: Weeding out the self-doubt.