I wrote this post as part of my participation in a blog tour for The Motherhood on behalf of the makers of Children’s MOTRIN® and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate. All opinions expressed are my own.
When I first started working with the Children’s MOTRIN #UnstoppableMoms campaign in the early fall, I shared the story of buying a house while dealing with a serious family illness and still keeping up with work obligations. It was one of the hardest things I’ve been through in my life. I was scared for my daughter, frustrated with our potential buyers, worried about losing the house we wanted, and overwhelmed by commitments and obligations. I mentioned in my post that one of my coping strategies is to “ask for the help I need,” but the truth is that I don’t think I ask as often as I probably should.
During the stress of that time, I was sharing a bit on Facebook about what was going on. For anyone following along, I’m sure it was obvious that I was anxious. Who wouldn’t be under those circumstances? But I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that I felt like I was drowning. That my anxiety levels were sky-high. That I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through without having a nervous break-down. And while I don’t think that’s ever the sort of thing I’d say on Facebook, I didn’t say it in person, either. I didn’t call friends to ask for support. I kind of just turned my focus inward and tried to survive. As an introvert, that’s my way of healing.
With that in mind, it may be surprising (it is to me!) that when I look back, what stands out most is the people who reached out to me on their own in whatever way they could. Some called to check-in, ask for updates, or just keep me distracted. Others offered babysitting, food, and physical support. I didn’t take most of them up on their offers because, like I said, I just didn’t have the energy left to coordinate meals and such. And I felt bad about complaining to friends and family who had their own things to worry about. But it didn’t matter because for me, at that time, it was the reaching out that made the difference. There wasn’t a lot anyone could do to fix things, but it did help to know that people were paying attention and, even without me making a huge deal about it, could see that I needed some support.
I was asked as my last #UnstoppableMoms post to talk about what inspired me to be Unstoppable. I guess that the simple answer is that my kids do that every day. They need me and it is just not an option to let them down. But the bigger answer is that it is my inner community of people, and specifically women, in my case, – family, friends, caring colleagues, and folks like my wonderful real estate agent – who lift me up when I need support, step in to help where they can (and when I’ll let them), and just listen when I need an ear. And maybe even more so, it’s having the opportunity to return that support and love when others are in need. We can’t all help every person in our circle all of the time. Like I said, we all have our own lives to deal with. But as each of us give where and how we can, hopefully, it’s enough to support the collective.
I hope that my friends and family already feel supported and cared about, but now that my life is somewhat back in order, I know I want to make more of an effort to watch for people in my inner community who may be struggling without being able to say so. And make sure they feel like they have a support system as well. Strength in numbers, right? So I guess the lessons I learned from all of this is how important it is to have a community of people that you can draw energy from and give energy back to, but also that often people in need of help aren’t able or willing to ask for it. And sometimes, just the offering of support can make all the difference in the world.
The makers of Children’s MOTRIN® are asking Moms to post their tips and tricks to the MOTRIN® Facebook page under each week’s Kelly Ripa question video and for every post, Children’s MOTRIN® will donate $1 to Safe Kids Worldwide, a global nonprofit that provides moms with the tips they need to help keep their children safe. Moms could even win weekly giveaways of $100 gift cards just for posting.*
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY, OPEN TO LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE 50 UNITED STATES & D.C., 18 AND OLDER. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Promotion ends 11:59p.m. ET 12/28/14. Sponsor will donate $1 for each approved Submission made as part of the promotion, with a minimum donation of $30,000 and a maximum donation of $50,000.