Learning to Ask for Help

I live a good life. I don’t say that to brag, but rather to acknowledge that I’m aware that things are good for me. The people I love are healthy. I am healthy. I enjoy my days being Hailey’s mom. I am grateful that to have the ability to workout and the opportunity to enjoy cooking. I love my life.

…which is why I think I experience such guilt with asking for help. I rarely ask for help because I don’t feel as though I deserve it. Typing that makes me cringe, but it’s true. Who am I to feel stressed? I get to live this wonderful life. Who am I to feel overwhelmed? What do I need a break from?

But I do need breaks or eventually I break down. Like I did on Friday.

Toddlerhood is no joke. Along with growing curiosity, heart warming giggles and seeing Hailey’s eyes light up as she explores her world comes a growing sense of independence, tantrums, teething and in the past week, spotty sleep habits.

I love being a mom. I feel like I was born to do it, but some days it still exhausts me.

And Friday I finally broke.  Through sniffly tears I told David I was exhausted and frazzled. I trudged right through confessing my need for a little extra “me” time while pushing the guilt of feeling selfish aside.

David was wonderful. He listened, offered ideas of what we could do to make things better and insisted I take a day to myself, which somehow made me feel more guilty.

Seriously, I’m working on the guilt. It’s unnecessary.

Instead of insisting that ‘no, no, I’m fine’, I snuggled up to him and just said thank you.

Saturday I enjoyed a morning with David and Hailey, then when the ice finally melted and nap time came, I took off.

mom's day out- icy

mom's day out- hot tea

I grabbed a green tea from the Human Bean and went to my happy place- Barnes and Noble. This time I didn’t head straight to the kids area. I took my time browsing magazines and books, grabbed a few and set up shop in- gasp– the adult area.

mom's day out- barnes and noble

For a silent, uninterrupted hour I perused magazines and people watched. Then, this happened.

mom's day out- pedicure

I can’t remember the last time I had a pedicure and it was pure bliss. I played on my phone, messed with the massage chair, then spent time just sitting there with my eyes shut.

mom's day out- panera

From there I brought my book into Panera and snagged a fireside armchair to enjoy my coffee and blueberry scone.

A few times I had to fight my urge to call David to check in or to just go home because I was being overindulgent, but I stuck it out.

Over those hours, I felt a weight lift off of me. I was reminded of how much I enjoy alone time and became incredibly aware of how little of it I have these days.

After almost 6 hours out on my own, I was ready to go home. I literally skipped through the door. I might have twirled. I felt so relaxed, so light. Hailey ran up to hug me and David was stirring the chili he made for dinner. He makes a pretty good Mr. Mom.

The day was a good reminder to me that I’m not superwoman and that it’s ok to lean on people. That’s what husbands, family and friends are for. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe it, but I’m learning that it only works if you actually let the village help.

Do you ever have trouble asking for help?


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  1. says

    Oh I am definitely the same way. I hate “troubling” people to help me, while I very well know that if anyone asks me for help I would be there in a jiffy! Being a mom is hard, especially being a SAHM – you don’t get that “time to yourself” every day when you go to work. I don’t think taking time for yourself is a bad thing. I think it will make you a better mama!
    chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..scenes from the weekendMy Profile

    • Whitney says

      I’m not a mom but I’m sure working moms don’t exactly get time to theirselves when they are work. I’m sure they also struggle with the guilt of being away from their child. The grass is always greener on the other side!

      • says

        whitney, yes, this is true. BUT, i am a working mom and let me say this: i was home (by myself, husband away) this past weekend. and even though my ~10 month old is the sweetest ever — and i do miss her like crazy when i am at work! — i started to get a little stir crazy and burned out by the end. i really think that a) i am not cut out to be a SAHM and b) SAH-parenting can be really isolating and hard. and brittany should feel totally okay with needing a break sometimes. i know i would too!
        sarah (the SHU box) recently posted..anatomy of a saturdayMy Profile

    • says

      Sorry, but I have to chime in. I’m a full-time working mom and I can tell you that going to work is definitely not “time to myself.” It’s not a break in the day, I’m at work and I answer to my boss and to my coworkers. When I leave work, I go straight home to my toddler. Half of the time when I’m at work, my mind is on her and on my work. So, no, working moms do not get time to ourselves simply because we need to go to an office and leave our child for the day. That is just not a fair statement.

      I’m sure you didn’t mean any offense by that and I don’t mean to sound harsh, but that just struck a chord with me and I had to respond.

      Brittany, I can completely relate to what you’re saying. There have been a couple of days when work will let us out early and I have made the decision to leave my daughter with the nanny for an extra hour so I can go get my nails done or go run errands by myself. I felt incredibly guilty but at the same time, when I got home I had all of these things done and off my to do list so I could relax and enjoy the time with my family over the weekend. That stress relief is worth a lot. I’m so glad you got to recharge with an afternoon to yourself and hope you get more opportunities to do it.
      Lisa @ The Splattered Apron recently posted..A Working Mama’s Breakfast : belVitaMy Profile

      • says

        Okay I definitely didn’t mean to come off the way my comment sounded. While I understand that working moms don’t get “time to themselves”, I guess I meant that they get more “adult time” during the day depending on their job. Sorry if I offended anyone. I know for me, once I have kids I’ll have to be a working mom as well, and I know it won’t be easy at all!
        chelsey @ clean eating chelsey recently posted..currently…My Profile

  2. says

    What a wonderful day! I definitely feel you. And, I add the guilt for myself of, “Since you work, you have SO much time “for yourself”. How is a toddler overwhelming you? You should want to spend EVERY SECOND with him that you can.” Which is ridiculous. But I still struggle with it. Almost 2 yrs old, and I can count on one hand how many date nights we’ve had. Much less time on my own!
    Katy @ MonsterProof recently posted..Potty Training CommencesMy Profile

    • says

      I don’t think working counts as “free” time! I think it’s the same misconception as “oh you stay at home? How nice to have all that free time!” – working moms have it tough because you have to split yourself even more, so kudos to you!
      And get yourself a date night- you deserve it!

  3. Ali says

    Yup. Gotta learn to ask for help. Um – like your neighbor – who would GLADLY take H for a morning or afternoon. Gladly. My guilt issue is choosing me time which sacrifices family time. I also get let myself get to “explosion” time before saying something …all too often!

    • says

      That is my issue, too! David said to take the whole day, but I didn’t want to miss out on weekend family time for a whole day. The afternoon was perfect :)

  4. says

    I’m not a mom yet, but I do think that women generally have a harder time asking for help. We want to do it all, which is fine until you literally can’t. I’m learning to lean on my husband more for things. I’m glad you got some time to yourself to reenergize – good for you!
    Parita @ myinnershakti recently posted..Random Weekend SnippetsMy Profile

    • says

      Definitely! I don’t think it’s a stay at home or working mom thing, I think it’s a woman thing. The need to say yes to things, the need to prove ourselves, it can be incredibly exhausting and the funny thing is- we do it to ourselves. Silly women.

  5. says

    I am totally the same way. I have such a hard time asking for help then I usually take it out on the hubby which isn’t good. I’ve been dealing with a toddler who isn’t eating a lot and now scared of the bath which isn’t fun. I have no clue how to get her to like the bath again since it was one of her favorite times and this fear came out of nowhere. I broke down the other day and went into our bedroom to get away and take a couple of deep breathes…it’s just what I needed but I know I do need a mom’s day one of these days. Hope you have a great week.
    Karen recently posted..Weekend Recap, 2My Profile

    • says

      H is getting more hit and miss with her eating, too, so you’re not alone! I hope you figure out the bath fear soon- it must be so frustrating! Hang in there :)

  6. Michelle says

    Brittany, I just cried reading this. I found myself in a similar situation this weekend. My husband was doing work around the house and I was stuck inside the house with our 16 month old and 12 weeks pregnant with #2. It just felt like any other day of the week, I ended up breaking down and my husband is take our daughter overnight next weekend to give me a break. I will be going to visit my mom :-)I will have almost 24 hours of time when I can just be me :-) I am so glad you got this opportunity. It looks likes you enjoyed every minute :-)

    • says

      Hugs!! I can (obviously) relate… and I’m not even pregnant on top of it. I’m so glad you have a wonderful husband that is happy to give you some time to yourself. Enjoy those 24 hours and I hope you come back refreshed like I did!

  7. says

    I have the same problem! My husband is working very hard trying to finish some remodeling on our house, so I end up alone with our very active 9mo old and very loving (but needy!) weimaraner all day most weekends.

    The guilt is paralyzing isn’t it? Your post really resonated with me. I haven’t been able to step back and take some time to myself yet…(I still get excited when Daddy takes Dave to Home Depot with him and I can take the dog for a walk!) but hopefully it happens eventually. :)

    • says

      It is paralyzing! It can make you feel trapped. I understand the excitement over a Home Depot trip! On fussy days I find myself looking forward to driving to run errands because driving the car feels like “me” time- haha. And yes, the needy pup (like Koda!) is just icing on the cake 😉
      I hope you find some time to relax and rejuvenate soon!

  8. jodi says

    right there w ya ! I think my meltdown was brewing on Friday and then I finally lost it on Saturday…. between it being sick season (trying to avoid any major illness in my 3 week old…) and crummy weather, I haven’t gotten out of the house much. Cabin fever combined with post partum hormones made for tears and phone call to my mom. I definitely appreciate having family close by to help, but there’s always the guilt on the back end that I should be able to do this myself and also want to do it myself so I can have that quality time with my girls. It’s only worse with working, I dread going back. Guilt quadruples and any free time you have you feel you need to spend with your children… must be our extra ‘X’ chromosome that allows us to pile guilt on ourselves. Glad you had a nice day to yourself!! I am already dreaming of that time again… 😉

  9. says

    You’re absolutely right–it’s not selfish to have “me time,” it’s just essential! It’s important for both Hailey and David too because it’ll make you a more relaxed, happy mother and wife. Glad you took advantage of the time to yourself this weekend!
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..Exercise is a PrivilegeMy Profile

  10. Hanna says

    I think that every mom feels this way from time to time. I have two little girls (a 3 yr old and a 10 month old) and I work full time. I live with guilt every day because I have to go to work. Whenever I start to feel the stress build and I feel like I need a break, I take one. But, then the guilt is worse because as it is, I only get to see my girls 2-3 hours each weekday. How could I possibly take time for me? It’s hard. I definitely don’t count going to work as “me time”. Most work places have their own set of stressors and deadlines. At least mine does.
    I hope that Hailey gets back to normal napping!

    • says

      Oh my gosh, that has got to be stressful. I don’t think working counts as “me” time either and it must be super difficult having to split yourself even more. I do (part time) work at home and don’t consider the hours at the computer while H sleeps as “me” time 😉
      I hope you find some time to recharge soon- totally guilt free!

  11. says

    It took me until the end of my 2nd pregnancy and my friends practically forcing me to ask for help. I love the twins and for awhile I thought the twins were too high maintenance and then too much work to shove off on someone else but at like 35ish weeks I had good friends steal the twins frequently so I could have some alone time or kidnap me for a girls day and arrange for someone to babysit and I kinda wish I’d have asked sooner because it was so nice having a break haha when baby 3 came a bit early we HAD to ask for a lot of help and I thought my friends who had to watch the twins for 8+ hours would never talk to me again but they were the same people bringing food to our house and making sure we didn’t lift a finger until my mom got into town to help. It turns out, people want to help, you just have to ask :)
    emily recently posted..Welcome Baby B!My Profile

  12. says

    I feel the same way! My hubby was sweet enough to take our little one with him for a couple of hours yesterday, so I could clean up the house without little hands right behind me dirtying it all back up. It wasn’t even time to do something for myself, but it’s amazing of just how much a little break can help!
    Sandy recently posted..Avocado and EggMy Profile

    • says

      haha, I’ve totally been there when time to do laundry and clean the kitchen without a toddler feels relaxing! But I hope you find some time to do some real relaxing soon, too. :)

  13. says

    Now I am feeling guilty for not feeling guilty when I do this every Friday. I work part-time 4 days/week outside the house, but my baby goes to preschool 5 days. On the Friday, I exercise, run errands and do house chores. It is a very necessary day for me to feel caught up and like myself, otherwise I don’t sleep well and feel like I am drowning in chores and errands. I spend most of that time doing things for my family–errands, grocery shopping, reading, laundry, prepping meals. And I do get my nails done occasionally and shower without rushing. It’s great and I’m glad I have that day. You should schedule it regularly!

    • says

      Guilty for not feeling guilty? Oh man, we women have problems 😉 I think your system sounds excellent and I need to figure out something similar. I need a little “get things in order” time each week so I don’t reach melt down again :)

  14. Laura says

    Brittany, I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and I really love it. I have a very strong-willed 14 month old boy, and there have been many times where I will read your posts, and think, “gosh, her little girl sleeps until 8 a.m. (mine is up at 5:30 almost every day!!), takes good naps, she never mentions tantrums, and they always look like they’re having so much fun.” Obviously, I don’t like to hear that you lost it on Friday, but it was refreshing in a way to hear that you have those kind of days as well. I’m so happy that you took that afternoon for yourself. I think I will try to do something similar this weekend. Thanks for a wonderful post :-)

    • says

      Haha, YES, I definitely have those days and certainly don’t mean for it to sound all like roses and cupcakes over here. I always blog in the morning when I feel fresh and energetic- maybe I should write one at 7:30pm when I’m kicking toys under the couch and sprawled out with a glass of wine 😉
      Has your little boy started tantrums yet? They are relatively new over here and geeeeeeeeeeesh are they something. Hailey had one while I was checking out at the grocery store yesterday and I felt the whole line staring at me thinking- get your act together lady!
      So yes, although for the most part, I really do enjoy the days, toddlerhood certainly can be trying. Thanks so much for reading!

      • Laura says

        Yes, the tantrums started for Declan just about when he turned one. They totally threw me for a loop, and I really had a hard time at first. But now that I’ve got a couple of months under my belt :-) I’m dealing with them a little better. I know the triggers (most of the time), and I try to avoid them when possible. But you really can’t avoid a lot of the things that sometimes cause the meltdowns, like getting in the car seat, closing the baby gates, the list goes on. I friend suggesting started to sing his favorite song as soon as we left the house, and that has helped with the car seat.
        I’m also trying to remember, it’s just a stage, and just like all the other ones, it will pass. Keep up the good blogging!

  15. Julie E says

    Hi Brittany! Quick question: My mom and I usually go to the Charlotte/Mooresville area a couple times a year…shopping and pedis. Where did you get your pedi and do you recommend it? What did they charge? Thanks! Just getting ideas for our next trip!

    • says

      YES I have a recommendation! Starz Nails right off of exit 33 (off 77). http://www.yelp.com/biz/starz-nail-and-spa-mooresville

      Lisa owns the nail salon and takes so much pride in their service. They use all nontoxic supplies, so there is no headache-inducing nail salon smell and they always rub my feet for sooooo long (which is the most important thing to me) :)

      It’s $25 for a pedi, but they truly always do a good job. Let me know if you try them out!

  16. says

    I think it’s hard to ask for help because in your eyes, it’s like admitting defeat. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. You know you are a good mom. We know you are a good mom. But you can be an even better mom when you get your alone time :)

    As a (fellow?) introvert, if I don’t get my alone time, I completely stress out and become a beast. It’s crucial to my well-being and it may be to you as well, so I’m happy that you got that little afternoon to yourself – it sounds heavenly!
    Maria recently posted..Stitch Fix #1My Profile

  17. Lauren B. says

    No matter whether we are working moms or stay at home moms, we ALL need a break sometimes, and NONE of us should feel guilty about it. My 5 month old is still in the relatively “easy” stage (not mobile yet, takes a couple of naps per day) and I still need time to myself every now and then. My husband is a sweetheart and offers to have his “guy time” with Jackson at least once on the weekend so I can run out for groceries alone, get my nails or hair done, or simply go to the gym. It’s really a blessing.

  18. jodie says

    I really think you and your hub should set aside time for you to do this regularly. you DESERVE and need it to stay a happy and healthy mom, wife and overall well balanced person. :) good job relaxing!

  19. says

    I LOVED this post! Thank you for writing it and being willing to share your feelings. This has been my perspective several times in the last month or two.

    A few weeks ago, I had reached my breaking point, and my husband volunteered to take L to run a few errands. I felt SO GUILTY practically the entire time they were gone and almost like I had to do penance by cleaning or doing something productive to make up for the fact that I wasn’t doing my job.

    SInce then, we’ve continued that pattern of L and my husband running a few errands on Sunday afternoons and I’ve got to say, it’s fantastic! I have started putting my feet up and reading or just sitting and thinking and it’s great.

    So glad you got such a wonderful day to yourself. Hope H takes a great nap for you today!
    Kelly @ Runmarun recently posted..Happy Friday!My Profile

    • says

      Davis has taken H to run errands before, too, and I am so familiar with that guilty feeling. For me, it’s like I feel like I overreacted and am admitting I can’t handle things, but I learning it’s not like that at all. I’m so glad you’ve kept up the Sunday afternoon tradition! It inspires me to make “me” time more of a regular thing. And yes, go kick your feet up and read- the dishes and laundry will be there later 😉 I hope you’re feeling well!

  20. says

    You absolutely deserve a day for yourself. I hate asking for help too, but it’s a sign of strength rather than of defeat. It takes a lot to admit we can’t do it all and that is what helps us to grow and for others to appreciate us more. I’m so glad you had a day for you and hope you get more in the future;)
    Heather @ girlyeverafter recently posted..So Super Excited!My Profile

  21. says

    Good for you for taking some time to yourself! I may not be a mom, but in every women’s or health-related magazine I read with articles targeted at moms (of all ages), that is the #1 suggestion for living a balanced life, but the hardest thing for most women, especially, to do.

    I have a hard time asking for help as well…in life, just in general. I also feel those selfish feelings whenever I question if I’m in the right place, right career, etc. for me. There are so many people who don’t even have a place or a job in which ‘to be,’ that I feel indulgent in looking for alternatives that might make more sense. I’m working on that, though, because I think it is all relative to your own reality. [I’m not sure if that makes sense.]
    Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen recently posted..Sweet Potato Vodka (Pizza) Pie Crust [#MMAZ]My Profile

    • says

      It does make sense! …or maybe we are both just weird? 😉 But I agree- I don’t think this is a SAHM (stay at home mom) or mom issue- I think it’s a women issue. We all think we should be able to do it all, which is why it feels so good when I realize I’m not the only one who can’t do it all all the time!

  22. says

    Oh, I have so been there!! The tears, the guilt, the husband pushing me out the door for solo time… so glad you got that break. It’s so important to identify that need and speak up immediately.
    Some days I kind of miss the whole village way of life- it would be nice to let the little ones play, while the moms (or stay at home dads) do the chores and chat, making one big pot of dinner for everyone to share… our individualized society makes motherhood more challenging in some ways!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..8 Tips for New RunnersMy Profile

    • says

      I was soooooooooo tempted to bring the computer with me, but then reminded myself that this wasn’t about catch up, but ME time. It’s so hard to do, isn’t it?

  23. Tiffany says

    Oh boy. I can definitely relate. I am not a stay at home mom, but I am a working mom who also travels for work. I still feel very very guilty if I have to take some time for myself to – for example, buy some new clothes. It just does not work with towing along a toddler. I feel guilty for going to the gym after work instead of seeing my little munchkin go to bed – particularly if I have to travel that week as well and will miss the mornings/night time on other days. Oh, the guilt. I wish I could drop it, but it’s SO SO hard! I know it will never be possible, but I wish there was a way to quantify how much time to spend with my daughter is “enough.” I hate that I spend so little time with her during the week, but I also love my job and don’t want to stay home!

    • says

      I tried to go buy some new clothes today with H in tow and so believe me when I say I can relate- it’s impossible! I think what has helped me so much from reading all these comments is that we all feel the guilt- sahm moms, working moms, non moms- this makes me realize that there is no easy “right” path and we’re all just doing the best we can and that is enough, so we all need to let go of the guilt. Easier said than done, but I know I feel so much better having all of you to relate to :)

  24. says

    I COULDN’T AGREE MORE! I am the same way, which made it incredibly hard being on bed rest in the fall. I need to take a note from you and get out for a me day. Ryan encourages me to, but I, like you, often have a lot of self-guilt over it all. Plus, Lord knows I could certainly use a mani/pedi! =) Glad you got out for some quality ‘me’ time.
    Christie recently posted..A Messy FridayMy Profile

  25. says

    I don’t know why, but this post nearly made me cry. PMS hormones, I’m sure. But man, what you did sounds wonderful, sounds like something I need. I love spending time with my little girl but it’s exhausting!
    Chantal recently posted..Moms on a RollMy Profile

    • says

      It IS exhausting and you deserve a chance to breathe- heck a chance to pee without a toddler standing there unrolling the toilet paper next to you (…or is that just me?) 😉 Hugs! We’re not alone!

  26. says

    OH honey, I think we have all been there at some point. When I first became a SAHM, I was lost. I had NO idea what to expect, because with my first two kids, I went back to work right away so to suddenly be home all day with 3 kids under the age of 5…overwhelmed was the understatement. Even now that my kids are older, I still give my husband “the look” and he knows I need some alone/adult time.
    Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily recently posted..Liz & Bob’s Winter Wonderland WeddingMy Profile

  27. Jessica says

    Your husband sounds so understanding and great! its nearly impossible for me to ask for help and having someone offer/insist on it can be so helpful!

  28. says

    Aren’t husbands the best? They will always listen & offer suggestions. I’m glad you were able to get out of the house for a little bit & get in some ME time. You deserve it lady!
    Jessie recently posted..First ThingMy Profile

  29. says

    Way to go girl, you deserve it!!! Time to ourselves helps us realize what matters and how thankful we are for the chaos of our lives! No need to feel guilty, it’s normal!

    On an unrelated note, my dream is to hang out at Barnes and Noble and read mags and drink coffee…but for some reason I feel like that is not allowed? I always think you have to buy the magazines to read them, is this not the case? I’m so paranoid that they’ll kick me out or something. :)
    Angela recently posted..Blessed.My Profile

  30. says

    I’ve been struggling with this the past few months especially now having 2 kids and a hubby who works full time and is finishing up his Master’s Degree. Me time now consists of going to the grocery store alone because I can’t leave the bottle refusing infant for too long. Some times I have to settle for getting out of the house with just the baby, like I did on Sunday. We think being a mom is a 24/7 job, but being a dad is, too, so it’s OK to let him take over every now and then.
    Heather @ What Does She Do All Day? recently posted..A Day in the Life: Furniture PaintingMy Profile

  31. says

    The other day I kind of apologetically asked my husband to watch Audrey for the second night in a row so I could go to a girls’ night out. He reminded me of how much he loves spending time with his daughter, and how much they bond when I’m not around. So I don’t feel guilty (I just miss her!).
    KatyBug recently posted..Dear Audrey (Week 15)My Profile

  32. says

    This post really hit a note with me…thanks for sharing that it’s OKAY to ask for and receive help. Don’t they always say, you need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others?? I know personally I always feel like, “why should I have to ask for help…isn’t it obvious??” But then I have to remember, just because it’s obvious to me, other people may just see me as being fine, not needing help. I have to get over my guilt of asking for help and just ask if I really need it!
    Kaye recently posted..Hospital DramaMy Profile

  33. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this post! It really puts things in perspective and reminds me that I need to ask for help and take a break. There are many days that I feel burnt out at the end of the day and like I have had no time to myself. I really need to make more time for me.

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