The False Badge of Overwhelm

As Mompreneurs it feels like we must be able to do it all and do it all without asking for help. There is so much shaming going on for Moms & Mompreneurs, it’s enough to make people crazy. Personally, I know I’ve felt like if I ask for help then I’ve failed in my journey. But why? Why must Moms, or Mompreneurs, do it all on our own all the time?

Here are some examples I’ve seen of the shaming that happens with Moms in different circumstances:

  • When a stay-at-home mom wants to work, then other stay-at-home moms look down on her because she should be content being home with her kids.
  • When a homeschooling mom is tired, overwhelmed or frustrated with schooling her children, she’s shamed because she’s frustrated since it was her idea to homeschool.
  • When a working mom celebrates a win in her career, she can feel shame from other moms for getting joy from her career because she’s not there for her kids all the time.
  • When a Mompreneur feels at her limit & is working on balancing work, home, & family, she is shamed & told that she’s the one who started this journey so she should figure out how to make it work.

 

Why must women constantly shame other women? Why can’t we just come together & support each other. Why can’t we look at someone who is struggling & say “It’s ok, you’ve got this. I’m here for you. How can I help?”

Why can’t we celebrate with another mom who just had amazing things happen? “That’s so amazing! You’ve worked hard, let’s celebrate!”

And on the flip side of that, why do we think we have to do it alone all the time? Why is asking for help so hard?

Have you felt like waving the white flag of defeat? Felt like your head was constantly going underwater no matter what you did?

No matter how organized or scheduled or prepared you were, you just couldn’t get ahead & you want more than that from life?

I’ve been in that situation recently. We got sick a few weeks ago & it knocked me into bed for a week. A whole week where I rescheduled appointments, did the bare minimum of work to make sure nothing urgent was getting forgotten, sick kids were tended to & snuggled, & the bare minimum was done on the house because no one had energy to do anything else.

After that week in bed, I spent another week doing a little more than the bare minimum, but naps still happened & I was working on catching up on the to-do list for work, house, & kids!

We don’t currently have family living close to us & my husband is tied to his desk during working hours. So, I’m homeschooling the kids basically on my own, running the business on my own, & managing the house during the day on my own.

One evening after talking with my husband over why I was feeling like my head was constantly underwater & the overwhelm was hitting very hard, I called my Mom and said “I’m raising the white flag of defeat….can you come up & help us?” And that wonderful woman bought a ticket that very night & decided to come stay with us for 6 weeks!

When I texted a friend about raising my white flag of defeat & my mom’s response, her response has stuck with me & made me think about my mindset & the mindset of so many other women I know. Her response was “I don’t think that you’re raising a white flag of defeat, I think it actually shows just how strong & wise you are”.

Since my mom emailed me her itinerary I’ve questioned if I should have asked for help; if I could have just stuck it out & eventually worked it out ourselves. And I’ve decided that of course we could have. My husband & I are a great team & we’ve dealt with the overwhelm before & came out on top of it before. But I’m so glad I’m not going to have to do that.

Here’s why.

I think us Mompreneurs, and I’m fully including myself in this, have fallen into the trap of thinking of our busyness or our overwhelm as a badge of honor almost. “I’m doing this all on my own.” Like asking for help takes something away from the amazing things we’re doing. Asking for help doesn’t mean we’re weak, that we shouldn’t be doing what we’re doing, or that we’re failing at some aspect of our lives. Like my friend said, asking for help shows that we’re in-tune to our limits & actually shows that we’re being strong & protecting ourselves.

I fully believe that we are meant to live in community, that having a support system that we both receive help from as well as give support to, only enriches our lives & those around us. It teaches our children how to not only help & bless those around us, but they learn how to also receive help graciously when it’s given to us.

 

We can’t do it all.

No one that I know of is amazing at everything with a never-ending energy supply. Everyone has different strengths, different focuses. But everyone has a limited amount of time & capacity to do life. Our time capacity is a limited & finite resource that we need to be wise with.

We don’t call our kids weak just because they can’t do everything they need to on their own. We come alongside them & help them, encourage them, & support them through whatever they need help with.

When someone asks me for help, or when I see someone struggling, I don’t think they’re weak or crazy, I honestly get excited to help them & look forward to taking that burden off their shoulders.

So why is it different when you or I are the ones asking for help?

I’ve decided that I’m not falling on that sword anymore.I’m going to ask for help when it’s needed. Whether that’s by hiring someone or asking family or friends to help. I’m going to accept that I can’t, & shouldn’t, do it all on my own. I’m going to accept the blessing those who help me give when they give their help, & I’m going to look for opportunities to help others when they need it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are 5 steps to take when you’re feeling overwhelmed:

  1. Take a breath. Are you feeling overwhelmed because of your task list? Or is it because you’re tired, hungry, or procrastinating something? Or a combo of the two? Try to pinpoint where your overwhelm is coming from so you can attack it efficiently.
  2. See if you can triage what’s overwhelming you. Sometimes not everything has to be done right now, sometimes it’s all urgent. Decide which category your overwhelm falls under.
  3. Talk to someone & see if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. My husband is great at this point. He typically believes I’m putting too much pressure on myself. (I’m not a perfectionist in all areas of my life, but boy is it annoying in the areas where I am!) He understands why I’m putting the pressure on myself, but also is great at telling me to relax & then he works with me to figure out how to lessen the pressure.
  4. Can you outsource anything, or does it all have to be done by you? The night I called my mom, my husband & I talked for a bit first about what exactly was causing my overwhelm & what he could take care of, what we could have help with (either from a family member or someone we could hire), & what fully falls on my shoulders.
  5. Make a plan & then attack the overwhelm! That plan for us in this instance was to make the call to my mom. I also spent the weekend, looking at exactly what I can have her help with, how to set up schedules or the house to make the next 6 weeks easiest on everyone, & then we’ve been counting down the days until she gets here! Just knowing that there’s going to be some more breathing room has made the last few days less overwhelming!

 

So these next 6 weeks I’m going to fully embrace the help that we’re being given!

And when my children ask for help, whether they are young or older, you better believe I’ll do everything I can to say, “my darling, you are doing amazing things & of course I’ll do everything I can to help & support you”!

Here’s a funny conversation that happened when I told my oldest daughter (14 years old) about this post I was writing. Her response was “isn’t this blog about how organized & great you are doing with work/life/business?” 😊 My response was “Nope! This blog is to help other Mompreneurs know they aren’t alone in this journey! I’ve never said I’m perfect at it & I want those who read this to know that the struggle is real!”

So how are you doing with asking for help?

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