Life changed when I learned to ask for help

Beth Montgomery//September 5, 2023


Life changed when I learned to ask for help

Beth Montgomery//September 5, 2023

As I sit here reminiscing about the journey I’ve taken as a single parent who’s now an empty nester, it is vividly clear that learning to ask for help was a struggle. I realize now how transformative and vital it was to embrace the idea of seeking assistance. 


The Burden of Doing it All Alone  

I remember those days when my children were younger and I clung to every precious moment with them. During the times they were with their father, I would throw myself into work, sometimes even holding down multiple jobs. I convinced myself that dedicating every free second to my kids was the ultimate display of love. This devotion, while well-intentioned, slowly drained me of energy. Rare moments of respite would find me collapsed on the couch, my body too fatigued to enjoy my own company.  

The notion of asking for help seemed alien to me. I would meticulously plan my life around moments of solitude, considering any diversion as selfish and burdensome to others. Fear of rejection prevented me from reaching out. I was surrounded by people who cared, willing to lend a hand, yet I was reluctant to accept their support, afraid that it would inconvenience them. 


A Turning Point  

Then, when my children were in middle school, my own health crisis forced me to confront my aversion to asking for help. A pivotal moment came when I found myself hospitalized, unable to care for my children. Witnessing the community rallying around my kids during this challenging time was eye-opening. It made me realize that leaning on others isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s an acknowledgment of our shared human connection.  

Even though this experience shifted my perspective, I still struggled with asking for help. I was hesitant to ask the neighbor to keep an eye on my kids while I worked overtime, or to accept a friend’s offer to drop off groceries or dinner because I was sick.   

It was easier to ask for help when I felt forced to. Like when we moved from a two bedroom to a three bedroom apartment in 2018 and knew I couldn’t do it alone. I had a crew of strong friends who moved everything in a matter of a hours. I remember the overwhelming gratitude after everyone left. Their words, “Thank you for letting us help you,” echoed in my head for a long time.  

Gradually, I began to understand that seeking help isn’t just a favor to ourselves, but a gift to those around us as well. The fear of burdening someone started to fade as I realized that supporting each other is what strengthens our bonds. The reciprocity of giving and receiving support became a powerful force that I no longer shied away from. 


Advice for Fellow Parents  

If there’s one lesson I want to share with my fellow parents, single or in partnerships, it’s this: Asking for help is an act of self-care, a bridge that connects us to others in profound ways. I have learned that we’re not meant to navigate life’s challenges alone. It’s okay to lean on others, to admit vulnerability, and to embrace the richness of shared experiences. 

In hindsight, I wish I had realized sooner that seeking assistance isn’t about burdening others. The realization that helping someone in need is rewarding for both parties has become a guiding principle in my life.  

I’m grateful for the moments that taught me the significance of reaching out. Today, I stand as a testament to the power of connection, hoping that my story will inspire others to embrace the gift of asking for help. 

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