Why do we feel uncomfortable asking others to help with our kids? Blogger Rebekah Hoeft shares her strategies for what works best when asking for help.
There’s an odd stigma attached to parents leaving their children with other people, which creates an element of vulnerability when you do want a break from your kids. I don’t mean a break from parenting, I mean a day out with a friend, a date with your partner, a walk in the park, or, just time to be you. As a parent you’re endlessly putting your children’s needs ahead of your own, and the second you decide to take time for yourself, you feel a sense of guilt. I’m here to tell you, shake that guilt, pick up the phone and ask for help because you should never feel guilty about asking someone to help with your kids. Everyone deserves a break, time to be yourself - not mum, not dad but YOU!
Here are my tips to help you ask for help when you need it.
Share the load
Whether it is popping out to get a coffee, a trip to the supermarket or time out with some friends, ask your significant other to help with the kids. You take that shopping trip mama, dad has it under control! Don’t tell my husband but, sometimes we underestimate the superpowers that dads have when it comes to the kids. He can handle a few hours without you whether he likes to admit it or not and, the best part is, it isn't even a babysitter it comes under dad duty!
Offer to watch their kids in the future
This is a great way of asking people who already have kids because chances are they are in the exact same position as you. They may want some time out or a date night but are too nervous to seek help. Not only is this a great way to ask but it also allows your kids an opportunity to further friendships and have fun while you’re out. They’ll likely thank you for a play with their friends, winning!
Friends and family occasionally offer help and you will smile, nod and likely thank them for their offer knowing you’ll never take them up on it. The majority of people ask sincerely, but for an unknown reason it can often make us uncomfortable to take people up on their offer or admit that we need help. The truth is, we all need help sometimes whether we like to admit it or not, so next time, accept help when available and instead of feeling guilt, feel thankful and just say yes.
Most people love to help where they can, and they often enjoy spending time with our little ones (because they know they can hand them over to us again!) so when you need a helping hand, reach out and ask.
Bribe with food
Yes, bribery - we know you've already thought of it! Whether it’s some delicious home-baked goodness that you made with love, a last-minute purchase whilst at the supermarket, that bottle of wine that has sat invitingly on the shelf - use it. We may be great parents but we’re not above bribery. I mean, it is a win-win after all, they get treats and you get treated to some serenity.
It’s important to acknowledge that, as parents, we tend to think we can do it all and believe we don’t need help. Unfortunately it has become so ingrained in our beliefs that we need to be hands on 220% of the time, so when we do feel exhausted, overwhelmed or just want to let our hair down, we feel guilty for it. Yes, our kids are our number one priority but the reality is sometimes to be the best parent you can be, you need to look after yourself. Whether it is an outing or a moment to yourself, everyone has their own sense of peace and you do need to occasionally indulge in some to be the best parent that you can. We all deserve a break sometimes and to be fair, our little rugrats would probably like a break too.
You can find Rebekah Hoeft at www.facebook.com/Simplysix.SM/