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Health & Parenting

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Modern Moms Ask for Help

You can't do it all, all the time. Here's how, and why, to ask for help.
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD

Women have been trained to do everything ourselves. We think we're not supposed to ask for help -- and let’s face it, we often don’t like to.

When my husband suggested that my mother-in-law come by for the day to watch my son so I could get work done, I immediately said, “Oh, no, I don’t want her to have to drive all that way.”

“Women believe that we’re supposed to handle everything ourselves, which is often at the root of why we’re unhappy,” says Randy Kamen Gredinger, EdD, a Wayland, Mass., psychologist, life coach, and blogger specializing in women’s issues. “We do everything, and feel unappreciated, but then we don’t want to ask for help. We need to be more collaborative.”

Today, make up your mind that it’s time to stop doing it all and start asking for the help you need.

Here's how to do that without screaming, nagging, or whining.

Ask Your Partner

If you need help, approach your partner with your problem, and a plan. “Honey, I’m burned out, tired, and stressed. I need some extra time for me. Can we find one night a week (or a couple of hours on the weekend) when you can cook dinner and get the kids ready for bed, so I can go to the gym/take a yoga class/have a facial with a friend?”

What you shouldn’t do, says Amy Tiemann, author of Mojo Mom: Nurturing Your Self While Raising a Family and founder of the Mojo Mom web site, is apologize. “Don’t ask, ‘Can I do this?’ Say, ‘I need this time, and it will make me a better wife and a better mom. Let’s figure out how we can make it happen.'”

Ask Your Kids

In Kamen Gredinger’s house, kids start doing chores when they're toddlers. “It’s not negotiable,” she says. “If you wait to give them responsibilities until they’re in school, it’s a big mistake. In other countries, they aren’t screaming at their children to do things; they just know they’re expected to do their share.”

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