Last week, I was in the grocery store after a whirlwind weekend of coaching my son’s first soccer game, throwing my daughter’s sixth birthday party, coordinating a large high-profile event at work, and trying to fit in extra clients after my day job ended when I couldn’t remember where I was.
I stood in the parking lot of said grocery store looking around dazed and confused and literally had no idea what day it was or what I was doing there. Then I found myself leaning up against my car, sobbing.
I just broke apart. The last thing I remember before that moment was being a normal human being drinking a tall, dark Italian roast outside Starbucks while scrolling through my newsfeed reading comments from friends about what a Supermom/Boss Lady I was for something I pulled off that day.
Here’s the thing about trying to prove to the world you’re all that…super boss ladies don’t know the first thing about receiving and almost nothing about asking for help. We just don’t have the balls to do it.
Why? Because that would make us appear needy. Incapable. Codependent. Not enough. Judged for not having our sh*t together. Or God forbid, we might be indebted to someone else for helping us.
That’s my biggest block. I’m transactional. Or at least I believe other people are. I won’t bat an eyelash if you ask me to pick up your kids or do you a favor because I like to be seen as generous and thoughtful and that I can easily squeeze in that thing you’re asking me to do on top of my already jam-packed to-do list. But I’m absolutely convinced that if I ask you to show up early to a party I’m hosting to help me set up because it would decrease my stress level by 75 percent, you’ll feel I’m putting you out and then I’ll have the additional anxiety and stress of feeling like I owe you something in return.
Women cannot receive. Men, most of them seem more comfortable with it. But women, not so much. Women have somehow convinced themselves that the more we do and the more successful we are, the more people will like us.
We’ve bought into the false notion that we won’t be seen as capable, independent, or even kind if we say no. We believe we’re not a loving partner, friend, or good parent if we have the audacity to suggest that we need help because we have too much on our already overflowing plates.
None of that is true. I believe people respect us more when we set boundaries with our time. I believe friends feel special and even honored when we reach out to them for their help.
I had a close friend once tell me she felt 1000 times better after I broke down crying to her over something I was going through and asked for her help. She was under the false notion I was “doing it all, had my sh*t together 24-7” and always had my emotions in check on top of it.
It never occurred to her that I needed or even wanted anyone’s help. I had done such a good job of hiding the stress and overwhelm I felt on a daily basis behind a big smile and positive attitude, I was making her feel less than me because she actually had the balls to reach out for help when she needed it.
Here’s how that little meltdown ended in the parking lot by the way. Once I gathered myself and figured out which direction home was, I spent close to 48 hours in actual physical pain from carrying the weight of everything I’d been holding in. I cried nonstop for hours on end and was so immobilized by the number of things on my to-do list, I couldn’t get out of bed.
Then I did the unthinkable. I called my friends and asked for help. And they didn’t even judge me for it or make me give back my Superwoman cape.