Lend a Hand in Help
As a young mother, I joined a baby-sitting cooperative, so asking for help in that situation was the norm. Later, when I began teaching elementary school, asking for help in a professional setting was easy. But now I am a care partner and asking for help seems much more challenging, often leaving me with empty uncomfortable feelings in the pit of my stomach.
I want to evaluate what I need help with and prioritize its importance so that I won’t overstep someone’s kindness. I wanted to match my request with the skillset of the person I’m asking. Laid out so logically, makes it seem easy, right? From my formal education as a teacher, I learned that you never ask a question to which “no” is the answer but rather provide two acceptable choices; they choose, and I get the help. What I really want is some time when I am not the primary care partner, so I thoughtfully pondered the five W questions: Who? What? Where? When,” and Why? to receive the much-desired response, “sure, I can do that.” Rather than pulling out our calendars or being very specific, I approached my friend with a different strategy. I suggested that when he was out and about running errands or working at home on a project, maybe he could invite my husband to join him for a few hours providing me with the help of a much-needed break. Yes, I received the much-desired response I was seeking, and within two days the phone rang with an invitation! I’m feeling more confident that in the future, I will be able to ask for more specific help. As children, we would walk to a neighbor’s home, knock on the door and ask if our childhood friend could come out to play. It felt just like that! Spontaneous and so appreciated.