Day 78-79: the many forms of help

help – (n.) assistance, relief.  Advice, comfort, support, sustenance, cooperation, aid, benefit.

I admit it – I am a proud person.  I don’t know where this came from or how it came about.  No one in my family is really like this, give or take the arrogant teen phases that we all went through.  As I became an adult and took on the many roles I claim – wife, mother, student, employee, leader, friend, confidante – I found that I enjoyed being able to handle whatever life threw me on my own.  I wasn’t always entirely alone, and there have been plenty of people to help along the way.  But I took comfort in the fact that I could take care of myself and my family.  Husband leaves for six months and I’m pregnant?  No big deal, all three times.  Trying to graduate with a newborn?  I’ve got it.  Moving to another country?  We can handle it.  Another year of separation with orders to Korea?  We’ll spend it with extended family and survive it.  Trouble with landlords/phone companies/banks/any company?  Give me a phone, I’ll handle it.  School projects and cupcakes for Anya’s class in the same night?  Make more coffee, I’ve got this.

I became proud of mine and our family’s independence and began hating asking for help.  It became more a weakness to me, as if it would say that I could not handle my own life.  There is this unspoken code among moms in which no one likes to admit that they are struggling.  We all put on this facade that while life is not always easy, we can handle it all.  I’m guilty of this as much as the next mom sitting beside me.  I don’t know why we do this, but we all do.  Maybe all of us are a little more proud than we like to admit.  Anyways, I kept taking on more and more responsibility while struggling under the pressures already present.  Life kept piling on more events, challenges, and struggles – but I kept thinking that I could take care of it.  Once moving here though, I realized how wrong I am.  I’m learning more and more each day that I cannot do it all by myself.

Lately, I’ve needed a lot more help than I have liked to admit.  Do you ever feel like you have a giant weight on your shoulders?  I have felt like this for a long time now, and it has only grown heavier in the past few months.  I write about how challenging everything is with my girls, especially Addie, with a deployment and a husband who I desperately wish was here, with living in another country, and with trying to graduate while also worrying about life after graduation.  Each day, more and more is put on my plate, and that weight is getting heavier and heavier.  However, I’m learning that it is okay to ask for help and even better when people and services are there to help you.  I have a group of people here that have been wonderful through the past several months and are continuing to be supportive and helpful.  I have a husband who does everything he can to be there for us and to provide and support as much as he can, even from far distances from us.  I have a great family stateside who are there when I need to talk, cry, vent, or just to laugh.  I have help – I just have to be willing to ask for it and to accept it.

Today I requested a course extension for my class, a difficult step for me.  I only asked for an additional two weeks, but I cannot even describe how much better I felt just asking for the extension.  It will give me a little more breathing room as we adjust to Addie’s new weekly appointments and as I prepare for our Barcelona trip and even busier month of April.  A year ago, I would have rather died than admit that I was falling behind in my coursework but at this point, something has to give.  Pride can be a lovely character trait but it can also be very ugly.  I’m hoping to change my own foolish pride and to realize that help is okay.  Even superheroes have sidekicks, right?

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