I’m not very good at accepting help. If anyone asks if they can help me, my default response is that I’m ok thank you, even if I’m juggling several things at once. I don’t really think about how they could help, just that whatever I’m doing is possible for me to do on my own and so I can manage.
There are reasons for responding in this way. I’ve never really had help from anyone consistently and also, on the occasions I have accepted help things have either become more difficult, more complicated or not worked out in some way. Leaving me to think that the bulk of the time it is easier if I just do it myself.
When my parents embarked on their own journey into parenthood, they did so safe in the knowledge that they had a support network of two sets of grandparents around them. When I began my own journey into parenthood I did so in the knowledge that there were no such safety nets. I never hesitated and I was under no illusion that it would be hard work. I didn’t have children to hand them over to someone else when things got tough or I was a bit tired.
I have always loved a challenge and I never like to think that things are impossible. Difficult, yes. Complicated, yes. Impossible, certainly not.
Life with four children is busy but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My systems and routines are what makes what some people think is impossible, perfectly manageable. I make it work.
This means however that I really struggle with the concept of help. It comes across to people that I don’t want the help. The fact of the matter is that because I have never had that, I have managed perfectly well without it and I’m efficient (most of the time). Often ‘help’ from someone else slows things down or over complicates things or just means more work for me later on. Get my drift?
I know some people that have one or two children who can’t seem to do anything without getting their mum to help them. The idea of me organising myself and four children on a daily basis in every possible situation you can imagine is somewhat alien to them but that’s my normal and I make it work.
I am aware that my dismissal of help can come across as rude sometimes, so every so often I cave in. A friend that we see at swimming lessons followed us back out to the car park one day and offered to help me get everyone back in the car – something I obviously do everyday, several times a day on my own. I did my usual “I’m fine” but she insisted. My normal system would be to get all the children strapped in and then put the pushchair away but her ‘help’ resulted in the hood being pulled off the pushchair, car seat straps being mangled, someone getting their coat trapped in the door and it all took a good ten minutes longer than normal – and people wonder why I say I’m fine?
Do you have help or are you hindered?