I remember the conversation like it was yesterday…my boyfriend (now husband) and I were returning from a day trip to the horse races in Saratoga, NY. The previous day I had cut off all my hair…the hair my boyfriend would often run his hands through and tell me how much he loved my straight, long, highlights and lowlights, with a perfect flip out at the bottom. I had chopped it all off into what some called a “cute” pixie cut that lasted 5 days before resorting to a chic buzz cut that soon retreated to a bald q-ball look for many more months, thanks to chemotherapy. But we were going to a summer horse race, so I rocked a sun hat and assumed many other women would as well, thereby quelling my jealousy. I was right, so many women wore hats but still their long beautiful flowing locks or loose curls rolled down their backs from underneath the brim. When we returned to the car at the end of the day I lost it. Even before we reached the highway I was already fully engulfed in a pool of self-pity complete with convulsive body sobs.
As a good boyfriend would, Craig listened to me cry it out and tried to understand the problem between snot filled cries. After a listening to me carry on for long enough, he made the best suggestion, “I think you need to find an oncology therapist, to help you through all these changes”, and as much as it didn’t sound like something I would enjoy or benefit from, I agreed.
Fast forward two years, and I’m still going to the same oncology therapist who helps me through cancer, treatment, and life in general. She was even able to help transform my most recent supermom fail into a win. I was overwhelmed and in the weeds. I was drowning at work, I had no time to keep the house in order, and I was starving for more time with my kids, new husband and even the dog! When I finally cracked and voiced my ‘failures,’ the solution came far too easy from my therapist. “Ask for help,” she said.
So simple, but yet it was exactly what I needed to hear so I turned to my mom. I was nervous she would see me as a failure but instead she was thrilled, “I’ve been waiting 34 years for you to ask for help!” she exclaimed. It made me wonder why had I waited so long to admit I needed a little help.
In the mom role I’m often the fixer. I am who my kids, husband, and even the dog turn to when they need help, but who is helping me? The answer is, I am! I can ask for help from friends, family, and even my own mom.
A couple of weeks ago I was out with a friend and as the night progressed, she became overwhelmed. I recognized it immediately. She had the same mom-taking-on-the-world mentality as me and was reluctant to ask for help. But now, I felt that I had the time, and the ability to help a fellow mom. So I invited myself to help her in the kitchen that night to help prepare for a party the next day. I’m not sure that we made the best fruit salad that night, but lending a helping hand and sharing a glass of wine with someone who gets it made all the difference for us both. It’s important for us ‘super moms’ who try to do it all to remember that sometimes asking and accepting help promotes happiness.
Finishing Note: Please, this October as part of your ‘help yourself’ routine, remember to do a monthly breast exam – one minute once a month can save your life (Men too!). It saved mine.
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