With the recent death of both grandpas, I was left feeling like I needed a bit of help and support. I had six jetlagged kids up at random hours (some with fevers), work commitments and was parenting solo because Daddy-o was overseas for a week for funeral celebrations. Let's just say, I've seen easier days.
Help is a funny thing. Some people offer to help, but we don’t take them up on it. Is it because we don’t think it’s a genuine offer? Is it because we are selective about who we think is actually capable of helping us?
During my recent tricky times, I found out the things that were most helpful for me:
I realized that when someone asks “What can I do to help?” it is too vague and the response is almost always “nothing”. The person needing help is too exhausted to come up with a plan. The offerer needs to take control and just deliver. One friend dropped me a quick e-mail to let me know she would be delivering dinner on Wednesday and Friday of that week. Not giving me a choice was paramount in the effectiveness of this help.
I was feeling a little loopy in my state of sleep deprivation. Hanging out with kids around the clock didn’t exactly help my sanity. I was also carrying a bit of guilt about being too exhausted to actually do anything interesting with the kids. Having visitors provided a great distraction.
Delivering food is a winner. A casserole drop-off brings me a ridiculous amount of joy. I don’t even care if it doesn’t taste good or my kids stick their noses up at it. It removes the dinner issue from my plate. That’s all that matters.
Taking kids for play dates also ranks high. During my week alone with the kids, I slept for three hours a night. While I function well on little sleep, this was pushing the limit. Try doing that for several consecutive nights. Actually, don’t. Reducing my kiddo head count for a couple of hours during crazy times will make me love you.
So what have I learned? Say “yes” to anyone and everyone who offers help, and when I offer it, I’ll be specific about what help I’m going to provide.
What do you do to lend a hand to a friend in need? Do you accept help when you need it?