I’m surrounded by an incredible group of women. Some are near, some are far away; but the support system I have is a gift. It’s also something I have often neglected to be a part of. Part of the reason is that I don’t like asking for help. I like to do it all by myself. Part of the reason is that I’m afraid of what others will think… what will Suzy-Homemaker say when she realizes I’m really struggling to keep up with the housework? Part of it is also that I don’t like to burden others, so I’ll struggle on alone, rather than ask for help in the areas that I’m weak, & offer help to others where I’m talented. There are many days when I just need help. Maybe a listening ear, a friend to do yoga with, or someone to meet me at Target just to get out of the house. Instead, I automatically shell up & shy away from my community because I don’t want them to see my imperfections.
The TRUTH is: I don’t have it all together.
And you know what? Neither does anyone else. I’ve felt like some women have got ‘it” all together, only to sit down with them over a cup of tea & realize: They’re HUMAN. Just like me. We all secretly thought she was Elastigirl or Wonder Woman… but she’s a human. Drop. The. Mic.
One evening a few months ago, a dear friend opened up her home to me for an evening of fellowship. We drank tea & bounced from topic to topic. I found out something that made me laugh out loud: she had felt like I had it all together at times. ME? Really? I had felt the same about her. She gently reminded me that nobody is perfect, & reminded me that it actually takes a strong person to admit that they need help from others.
It’s not weakness to need help. It’s LIFE.
The truth is: it does take a village. If you’re a mom with little kids running around at home… or a single woman on her own, struggling to handle an impossible job & bills. Maybe you’re a single mom with kids to get ready for school, while needing to be at work at the same time. If you’re a human, you need a village. Our community should build up our strengths, gently cover our weaknesses, & gives us the help we all need to do life. If you’re community isn’t doing that (or you’re not asking for what you need)… keep reading.
Here’s what I’m learning in my search to build up the community around me, so we all have the support that we need.
1. Community Isn’t Equal.
We often make up an imaginary “point system” in our hears. You do me a favor, I “owe” you something similar in return. When you’re in the trenches of motherhood, or dealing with a difficult job, the last thing we need is the pressure of of self-imposed point system. Here’s the thing: WE’VE CREATED THE SYSTEM. It’s a broken system… because nobody is blessed with the exact same talents, has the same personality, or does life the same way. When I get to help a friend in the ways I’m good at… I don’t want anything in return. It’s a joy. Let’s get back to that.
2. Talk with your sister-friends.
Seriously. Just as quickly as we created the point system, we can dismantle it. Get together with one (or a few!) of your best friends, & see if they’ve been keeping points. Drink several pots of coffee or tea, & laugh about how silly it is that they’ve wished they could “keep it all together” like you do. Then drop a bomb on them: NO. MORE. POINTS. Instead just be a bunch of amazing women, seeking to help each other with their God-given talents. You all have to mentally DROP the system in order for this to work. It can work.
3. Know your strengths.
I’ve often hesitated to ask a friend to watch my kids for an evening… because right now, I can’t imagine having any more running around this tiny house! It’s okay that I’m not ready for extra kids at this stage in my parenting. However, if someone wants help organizing, clearing clutter, or talking through any cool ideas: I’m your girl. I can sit there & talk about ideas like a live version of Pinterest. (Pinterest searching will also be involved. Because, Pinterest. 😍) I’m always up talking about organization, natural health remedies, small business, mama-hood… those are some of my strengths. I’m also ALWAYS up for a coffee date. Always. That’s a definite strength, right? 😆
Here’s my challenge to you:
Seek out your friends, & set a date. Drink tea. Eat cookies. Open up, & see if they’ve been keeping track of points. Then, ask them to dismantle it with you & start something new. It’s incredibly freeing. If y’all love making lists, write down some of your strengths, & some of your weaknesses. See if there are overlaps, & offer help. Begin to build a village, instead of an island.