Thursday, 7 November 2013

Helping and Helped

I hate asking for help.

I hate it. Blame it on my perfectionism or my pride, but help is my least favourite thing to ask anyone for. I can fundraise for any cause, and I dole out help to others before helping myself a lot of the time. When I'm offered help, I often decline. I realized how stubborn I was not so long ago when, on a date, I dropped my sweater and refused to let my date pick it up. He called me out on it and he was right. In everything from picking up sweaters to getting ahead on my work load, asking for help is the last thing I do so you can imagine how hard it was for me to ask for help paying for F's daycare.

The facts to me look a little different than the facts look to others, and while there was a time I would have been offended (and honestly, it wasn't very long ago) by someone suggesting I seek help in covering my costs as a single parent. I look at my life as this: I have a job that pays pretty well, given my entry-level status and the state of our economy. I have a roof over my head and food in my fridge and a family who would (and have) do anything for F and I. I have a deadbeat ex who doesn't pay support, and while it would make my life eons easier I do OK.

Until I realized that I wasn't doing as OK was I thought. And that's when I did it. I asked for help.

Within a week, I went from losing sleep and being unable to eat (AKA Mom Stress Diet - it's very effective) to having a huge weight lifted off my chest. And guess what? I'm glad I asked for help. I'm glad that we have a program in our (horribly, horribly flawed) system that gives families a chance to make a better life for themselves. I'm glad that, after referring tons of people to these programs and services, I can have a little bit of the help I want to see others get.

Accepting help doesn't make me a failure, it just means that I'm human. Asking for help doesn't mean I'm weak, but that I'm brave enough to do it, that I'm willing to do what it takes to give my child the future that he deserves and that I so want for him. For me. For both of us. I help people every day. It's my job, it's my passion and I love it. But I realized something really important.

I can't take care of others if I don't take care of myself.

I can't help others if I don't help myself.

Where ever you are on your path today, whatever obstacles you face, know that there are programs and services that can help you. If you're in the Maritimes, you can contact me directly and I can actually help you get help. If you're in Nova Scotia, you can contact 211 Nova Scotia to be hooked up with the community and social services nearest you.

There is help. There are people who want to help.

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