Have you ever been too afraid to ask for what you need? I know I have. Motherhood is tiring. Being a wife is tiring. And sometimes, I forget that I’m allowed to need help to get it all done. To survive.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. A couple weeks ago, we were in the car and Brandon made a joke that I never take him to Chick-Fil-A (Harlyn gets Chick-Fil-A at school each Wednesday, and she’d been talking about that). When Brandon said I never take him, Harlyn was totally bewildered, and said, “Well Daddy, why don’t you just ASK Mommy to take you? She’d take you if you asked her!” And you know what? She’s totally right. All of us could use a lesson from this sweet five year old who was dead serious when she told her dad to just ask her mom for what he needed.
So why is it so dang hard to do it?? If my 5 year old gets it, then why as grown women, do we shy away from asking for help? For something more? For something better?
Here’s what I imagine is a pretty typical scene (at least at is in my house!): We get home from work and at some point in the evening, I decide that I’ve been going non-stop since we walked in the door. I’ve schlepped 45 things inside from the car, I’ve unpacked and repacked backpacks. I’m on the second load of laundry. I’m doing bath time while working on folding. Somehow, even though we left the house decently clean this morning, by 6 PM it’s trashed. And I’m overwhelmed by all of it. But what do I do? Rather than ask Brandon to help me, I test him. And when he fails an exam he didn’t know he was taking, I get mad and sulk around.
Now, don’t get this wrong: by this point, Brandon has made our dinner and cleaned it up. He’s fed two cranky kids. He’s made sure to keep the kids occupied while I do my treadmill run. So when I’m pouting about Brandon, it’s not because he’s been sitting around playing video games while I raise our kids and clean our house. Not even close. (Actually, B doesn’t play video games…I just know that’s a “thing” for a good amount of men.) But if I think he’s had even 10 minutes of downtime compared to my 0 minutes? UGH.
Whenever my little “tests” occur, eventually Brandon will notice, or else I’ll finally speak up. And every single time Brandon says, “Why didn’t you ask me to help? You know I would have! Sometimes I just don’t know what you need me to do. But I’m more than happy to do it. Just ask!” Of course, it’s then that I realize I just spent far too much time being mad about, well, nothing. I never even had to get upset at all, had I just opened my mouth and formed some words.
Now maybe your “ask” is a bit more complicated than help with housework and bath time. Maybe you need to ask for more connection in your marriage, more time together, couples’ therapy. But here’s what I know: you’ll never know the answer if you don’t ask the question. You’ll never get what you need if you don’t speak up. You can’t expect your husband (or kids, or family, or friends) to read your mind. If you need more or less of something, say it. If you feel overwhelmed or unhappy, say it. If you need someone to simply listen to you, say it.
It took me far too long to understand that I could just ask for what I need from Brandon. Yes, sometimes it’s simple things like folding laundry. But even when it’s not simple things, asking for what I need has always helped. Whether my need can be met immediately, or we need to start making a plan to get where we want to be, opening the lines of communication has always been a wise decision for me.
Don’t wait around in misery any longer. When you need something, ask for it.