A few years back my sister-in-law, who has a lovably blunt nature, asked me, "Do you think you have some sort of martyrdom complex?" I am not sure what was going on at that moment, but I was certainly just being my normal self and taking on a bit too much. I immediately said no, but the question has stuck to me like glue. I have thought about it a lot since then.
You see I do tend to be the one who takes on too much. I will pick up the slack. I will spread myself too thin. I tell myself that this comes from a place of love. Sara's question got me wondering if that were true. Do I do it for love or something else? Are my motivations pure?
The answer is...I dunno, maybe. I think it's a little bit of everything. I do genuinely want to help. I also have a bonafide control freak lurking under my skin. I am often happy to pick up the slack with no strings attached, but there are other times when my motivations certainly come from a place of conceit. Ultimately though, I think that I seriously have an issue with asking for help. I hate to ask someone to do something for me when I am perfectly capable of doing it. No matter if I am tickling the rim of exhaustion.
I also have an issue with accepting offers of help. I hate to be a bother. Quite frankly people often have to force me to accept their help. For instance, yesterday I was sick and so tired (up with a sick baby for a few days = 9 hrs sleep in 3 days). I didn't ask for help. Eric knew I wouldn't so he took the initiative and took the day off from work and then he forced me to rest.
I don't really think this issue is mine alone. I think this is a problem that many mothers have. We let our needs fall to the wayside while we take care of others, giving ourselves completely to giving. I acknowledge that I struggle to let go and let someone else give to me. Yet, I am trying. I really am.
I have been forcing myself to accept offers for help. Eric has given me time to take a hot bath, work on a painting, just do something for myself and my sanity.
A moment to myself
Admittedly this has not been a quickly won battle. I will probably always struggle with this issue as I am capable of taking only so much "me" time before a feeling of guilt begins to cloud over me, but I think it is important that I try. I want my girls to know that nobody can or should do it all and that everyone needs help. I also want my girls to know that it isn't selfish to take time for oneself and so I am trying to let go a little bit and to be thankful that I have people who want to help.