An easy way to lighten your load and be present where it matters the most.
I woke up from my dream today with such a weird feeling. Why did Matt try to carry all of that? It was actually quite stupid of him, I thought.
In my dream, he had to go to work and had a ton of supplies and presentation equipment he needed. Plus he had a suitcase and something else that was unidentifiable in that dream sort of way. I was standing in front of him along with our 7 year old daughter and we kept saying, “Let us help you get it to the car.” “No, no. I’ve got it.”
He strapped it all on and positioned it in his hands just so and then right before our eyes, he took a step, and collapsed. We were correct in assuming it was too heavy and he passed out after just one step.
I asked Julia to get a cold wash cloth and that’s when dreamy weirdness entered and she came back with a syringe. ….Very strange twist….but of course I woke up right then.
My first thought was, “Matt! Why didn’t you let us help you?! How dumb was that??” Then I immediately felt a wave of conviction and thought, “Oh, my goodness. That’s me, isn’t it?”
Is that really me trying to carry so much all on my own and not ask for help that’s standing right in front of my face? Is it me who keeps piling it all on in to every little space I can find and convinces myself that I can carry it without repercussions?
Yep. Hand raised here. Four kids, six schedules to juggle, a house to take care of, a business to run, friends and family relationships to keep up with, and I have tried to do it ALL. By myself. Many days.
Why do we continue to do this over and over? Aren’t we -much of the time- exactly like Matt in my dream who denies the help right in front of us?
I think it all starts out innocently. We take care of the marriage, have the baby, juggle responsibilities, and figure out how to manage our time just fine. Then maybe we have another child and our husband starts to travel for work, and we have to help a sick friend, and before we know it, we have just committed ourselves to 10 times the amount of responsibilities we had only a short while ago.
We think we can do it all because, well, honestly, we’ve done it all just fine up to this point. Maybe, like the backpack, we just think we can add a little more weight because, really, what’s a little more? “I can handle it.”
Years ago I went to the doctor for panic attacks (I had 3 girls ages four and under, a sold house to pack up, and no where to move yet. Ummm….pretty sure that had something to do with it). He told me in his matter-of-fact-without-hesitation voice,
“You have modern mom syndrome.”
At first I thought, “don’t give me some smart a$# answer. Just give me a medical answer!” After coming up with a medical solution that did work, I realized he had a point.
The best prescription he could give was to tell me to slow down, rest, and ask for help.
Not exactly the easiest character trait in most moms I know, myself included
But this is not new advice. We all know it’s true. So why do we still have such a hard time getting to the point of asking or accepting?
I think it’s because like the frog in the boiling pot who can’t notice the temperature rising until it’s too late, the heaviness of our load typically happens gradually, too.
So what can we do to avoid the collapse?
First, understand and accept that sometimes it’s just going to pile on all at once.
Then, have a plan for what to do with your current needs. That will help you put into practice the way you want to act when things get really heavy in another season.
If you’re a list maker, write out all your current responsibilities - relationships, meetings, work, chores, personal health. Everything you can think of. Ask yourself a few honest questions about them:
Do I feel like I am joyfully showing up to this?
What is keeping me from being joyful? Is it disorganized? Do I need to “declutter” what surrounds it?
If I don’t have to do this, do I even want to do this?
Am I serving people well when I do it?
Is this keeping me from what I really want to be doing?
Is this leading to chaos in other areas of my life?
Then go back through and see what you can say “no” to and get rid of. I know this one can be tough because you may feel like you are letting someone down. Sometimes you have to say no to even good things.
Look at the list and see what you can outsource. Sometimes these are things you can outsource and pay for if it’s in the budget and sometimes it’s just asking a friend or family member for help.
For example, my daughter wants to take brownies to school this week for her birthday. This week is crazy and baking two boxes of brownies brings more stress than joy. She loves the brownies my mom makes and my mom is always asking how to help so I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t feel guilty, and I immediately said, “Hey! Call grandma and ask her to make two boxes for you. She will love it!”
She did and she did. My mom even told us a sweet story of how she always loved her grandma’s brownies and would actually ask her to bake them for her friends, too.
Ask for the help.
Finally, choose the things from the list that you know you need to show up really well for and make sure you give those your best. Remember, quality over quantity wins every time.
Take some time today to really analyze your load and what you’re trying to carry all by yourself.
I’m not sure why my daughter brought the syringe in my dream,
but I’m pretty sure it had something to do with bringing us back to life when we simply ask for the help.