It’s Okay! | Accepting Help Is Not A Weakness Ep 29
Welcome to the Mom Bosses Abroad podcast. Today's a really one on one intimate conversation with my business bestie Desiree. And today we want to unpack something that is very close to our hearts because we really relate to this topic and it doesn't mean that we have all the answers but we just want to share a little bit what have been our insights and where have we been in the hopes that somebody else might also feel probably identified or inspired, or might start feeling a little bit less lonely within that space. And what we're talking about today is all about why is it so, so hard for us to accept help? Why is it so hard for us as moms and sometimes as mompreneurs to seek help or accept help in all of its forms and all of its dimensions? This is something that I have also felt a little bit along life and if you have listened to early episodes on how I was sharing about being a recovering perfectionist and how that last season of r life before we became moms how that was up to some extent working for us, right? Like we were very self-reliant. We were very independent. We were able to get all of our things done, but then all of a sudden motherhood happened and then it seemed like things started to get a little bit out of our control. Like we were just trying to make it or have it be a certain way and it was not happening. And so, we have shared about that journey. So yeah, this is this is the space where we're going to get started on that.
Yes. So there are so many different layers for accepting help around us, right, we have the life situations where it's a to do with our kids or parenting or even our marriage sometimes. But there's also the business aspect, right? So it's there's constantly new fields to navigate. And I think it's so interesting in this journey as an entrepreneur, as a mompreneur to accept help because it's funny I recently had the conversation with a friend who was visiting and staying here. And we had a fun situation where you know, our husbands were downstairs doing I don't know what and we were all upstairs getting our kids ready. And it was just so seamless and like one was drying off the other one after the shower and the other one was putting that diaper on, you know, it was just like we didn't even have to communicate. It just happened so naturally. And she said you know what, it really takes a village to raise a child. Right? And really we were not even born to do this like by ourselves in the olden days, there were really so many people around us, to help us and to especially the women, right, we would always like stick together and help each other. And I thought that was just so nice. You know that situation and we were laughing that between women it's also very unspoken. We don't have to like ‘Oh, could you please’ you know, they just see what you need, and they'll do it. Whereas the men may sometimes have to like ‘Excuse me, can you like help me with this and that?’and have to spell it out. Right?
And not only spell it out but also it feels like we have to end up doing half of what we have asked and as we have spoken about this in other episodes where it's like they take on bedtime or bath time but then we were still picking up after the you know the wet towels. We're still getting them the soap or the socks or whatever it is. And then it feels like we were not really relieved of any of that task.
Yes, I think that it all it all begins as you said from this dimension of we stepped into the role of moms and then so many things are so unknown. But then we even though things are unknown in terms of we don't know what this little bundle that we have in our arms of a sudden what temperament personality like what are going to be their needs. But all of a sudden we feel burdened and pressured by all this old narratives or stories that we have heard about motherhood and about what is it supposed to be like or feel like and I think the biggest one is that motherhood is supposed to be somehow easy or natural. It's supposed to just like kicking out of medically like once the baby comes out. It's like oh yeah, ‘I'm already a mom. I should know what to do. I should already be more instinctual and I should already predict my baby's needs from one second to the next’ and it's not so automatic like it's not so built in as we have been led to believe in this romantic notions of what motherhood should be like. And it continues to be that way for most of the journey. When you say now that our kids are a little bit older.
Exactly, exactly. And but it really depends on each person as well. I'm sure no mom's that was really ingrained in them right being a mother and others were they probably have to grow into the role a little bit more. But I really noticed that as well. I mean, the first time I had a baby, I was really in a way there was so much pride happening in me as well, where I felt like I needed to prove to the world that I can do this right. And then even though that was my first child, I remember so clearly. I should have just been grateful for accepting the help. I was like I can do this. I feel I needed to prove that to myself. Most of all that I can do it I can do it on my own. So I think that plays a big part and becoming a mother ride. Fast. Yes, fast forward a little bit to the next child as well. I felt okay. Now I kind of know I know how to navigate this. I know how to be a mom now. I definitely know what I'm doing. Sometimes we also forget the fact that each child is different. And the things that have worked with your first may not necessarily always work with your second right. And again, it repeats itself that people are just trying to help you out of the goodness of their hearts. But what's really stumping you is that I can do this. And then sometimes I had that feeling them offering help to me was a little bit as a criticism towards me. What am I not doing a good job? Am I not doing good and right? So I was also like, yeah, maybe it's me. It's also my problem was like why can't I just gratefully accept the help without these thoughts in my head like, ‘Oh, what are you trying to tell me that I'm not doing it good enough.’
Yeah. And you have said so many so many things, right? They're just like this really short, you know, sharing of what has been your journey. Because, first of all, there's, you know, the emotional aspect, as you said, of having this pride, like you really want to do a good job. You really want to be a good mom, right? Like most of us, we go into motherhood because we do want to have a family, we do want this child we do want to do the best that we can to make them feel loved and you know, to feel that they are wanted and that they are desired that we are there for them. But we also need to take into account you know, some statistics and some realities of life. For example, you know, the World Health Organization says that about 13% of women have suffered from postpartum depression. And that number could be closer to 20% actually. And you know, there's this postpartum depression, there's the postpartum blues or the baby blues, which is slightly different. And so you're starting to see and enter a world in which maybe your willpower, like your best desire to you, you know, to just like, step up and do and be and be that mom of that fantasy of that vision that you had before the baby came gets to be a little bit impacted or impaired because your hormones are kicking in, because you're you know something in the mental health space might also be creating that sense and as you said, haven't most of us you know, and I'm myself I included, I used to be in the good girl you know syndrome boat where we have been conditioned through our upbringing, that we have to put everyone else first. Because if you put yourself first that's selfish, and also there's this sometimes depending on the parents that you have, you might get a sense that if I voice my needs, they are not going to be met, or I'm going to be punished for meets. Right. So then this sense of pride might connect or it might not but it can be right it comes from that space of saying like Well, no, because I was taught right from very early on that I should figure it out on my own or that I should be able to handle my emotions on my own. And so now accepting help, whether that is a friend that comes over and brings food, whether that's like, you know, a relative that wants to come in and spend time while the baby is still a newborn to like help while you get some sleep. If I take a shower, or take a shower, it gets to be difficult because we feel that we are back to that little girl time in our life where we were just not allowed, that was not allowed. And so we cannot allow ourselves to go back to that space because now we're adults. So there's this is this dichotomy of like, I'm no longer a child. So if I didn't accept it then why would I accept it now? Right? As a full-grown woman.
Exactly, exactly. And I also truly believe that accepting help is something we must learn. Right like, like on another angle, we need to learn to do it and now I feel reasonably I needed to relearn how to accept help after all of that because the pandemic right and the pandemic hit. First of all, we're Mom Bosses Abroad. We live away from our homes, right? We don't have the usual support network here. We're usually pretty much on our own when we're abroad, right? Or the circle of friends we build up. It's just not the same as having family. Right? So and then the pandemic hits and you're there and we haven't been home and for years now like you know, we ran away pretty isolated. So it was just us. It was our family unit. Within that time we had another baby. And now it was we were a family of four navigating all of that. The pregnancy, the birth, the dynamic, all of that on our own, just the four of us. In our little bubble, right. Then enter the first visitor that comes and my parents in law came to visit. And here's my mother-in-law. Oh my gosh, she's amazing. I couldn't ask for a better mother-in-law. She's so helpful. She basically wants to rock in. She doesn't care about seeing any sites in Japan. She really just wants to be with us. She's such a family person. She wants to help us she wants to cook for us. She wants to do our laundry. She wants to be with the kids. She wants to make up for all the last time and just be there. And I was like before they come back. Oh yeah, that's right. That's great. Oh, my God. Finally someone asked, right. Please go ahead to take the kid. All sounds good, right. But then she arrived and I was over whelmed. I did not know how to accept that help that she wanted to give me and it was just like that, just like I remembered her because we hadn't seen each other for three and a half years right. locked in and she wanted to do everything and help and I love her so much for that. It was me that did not know how to accept that. I was like wait a second. I do things my way. And I had a big problem with her now telling me to do it differently or her seeing her doing things differently in my house. And then doing things with the kids where I'm like, oh my God, I have been doing this by myself for all these years. And now somebody comes in and actually wants to do it differently. And that really caused a lot of problems and a lot of friction. And I really had to stop and I remember I had a very crucial call with Iva at that moment where I went into panic mode. And I said, I don't know. Like I don't know what to do. I went into a complete downward spiral just because someone was trying to help me and I didn't know how to accept it.
And you know it's so it's so common. And I'm not saying that oh because everybody feels the same way we should normalize it, but it is common and it has a lot to do with you know, our mind doesn't like what is unfamiliar. And when we especially have been coming out of such unprecedented times, like a pandemic where it was for so long it felt eternal. There comes a point where a lot of things all of a sudden become very unfamiliar. And not only they become unfamiliar in the sense that you're not close to family, you're not used to traveling anymore. You're not used to having visitors come more regularly. Yeah, this is the case when travel was more open. And to top it off, you have this pandemic of which nobody had ever seen or experienced before. There was no context. Nobody knew how bad it was. Nobody knew how bad it was going to get if you got it or whatever that was. So then you are seeing how our humanity our sense of preservation kicks in and we're just like, well, now I need to keep myself safe, because I cannot control what is happening. We couldn't control what was happening right our governments were saying and limiting our movement and putting all putting up all these regulations and we just had no control so when we are in a in a place where we're not feeling in control of what is happening, right. Especially with our feelings with our fears, with am I going to be okay? Are our children going to be okay, are my parents going to be okay, my family like I cannot see them what's going on? When we are in that internal space of there's a lot of uncertainty, then we want to control something. There's this sense that you know, if I cannot control inside, I at least want to control outside. So what does that look like? You can look in many different ways right? I am going to be on top of the laundry. I need to be you know, making sure that the kids get their full nap I need to ride and then when somebody like for example in your situation, I'm using your example right now your mother-in-law comes in with the best of intentions saying you know don't worry, you know, hands off, I'll take care of things. All of a sudden it feels that okay, I'm no longer in control of anything. Right? And it doesn't have to make sense. It doesn't even have to be logical, but it's like I cannot accept your offering because I am giving up the little bit. of control that I feel that
I still oh my God, that was it. Yes. I couldn't it didn't make me feel that I'm grasping to something. Right.
Yeah. Because you want to grasp to something.
Yeah, because it was like my mom was even saying: “ Desiree be grateful. My mother-in-law (like my grandma) she would never help me at all when she came over to our house when you guys were little you should be so grateful for what she's doing.” I was like, I know I know. It doesn't make sense, but I can't I have a big problem with her trying to do all the things but
And it is totally normal because of that because we you know part of part of ours, the you know, sense of like agency or sense of independence. Our sense of you know, I'm an adult means to be in control to some extent right and when we are when our subconscious is made to feel that we are giving up on even just a little bit of control, it gets freaked out. But it also goes deeper than this. And this is a part that I also wanted to share because whoever is listening right now I also I also want to you know, want to share this that in my line of work as a hypnotherapist I see a lot of women that are depressed or anxious or feeling overwhelmed and it's like, I'm barely coping, right. And there's this inner turmoil going on. But the reason we as women and as entrepreneurs and as mothers we are unwell. It's for a reason and I believe that what happens is that we are really trying to make do with what tends to be a very dysfunctional setup in our society like there are things that are just not normal, but they seem normal because they have been going on for too long, right? Like, we are expected to work like we don't have kids and we're expected to raise kids like we don't need to work or that we have to work and to be like girls, but nice girls don't get ahead. Right nice girls don't get to you know, be assertive and do what are also you know keep family secrets or denial. Because we somehow need to move on from to carry right? We are just like too overwhelmed with like the sense of weight but nobody's talking about it. We need to unpack it. We cannot just let all these feelings just freeze inside of us. But that's sometimes what some families dictate. We're also carrying the lion's share of child rearing, without a lot of support, especially since the pandemic right. Our spouses also need to go and work and so we don't have as you said at the beginning that support system we're somebody at least doesn't say how are you doing? How are you feeling? We don't even have that. So we are we are really just shouldering everything from the moment our kids or our children open up their eyes to the moment that they that they fall asleep and even in during the night if they are sick if they're feeling unwell if they are scared of something you know we are still on mode the whole time and that really drains our energy but it also drains our emotional resilience. We're also expected to perform at higher standards when we're working, right because if we don't then then it's like oh, you're not doing enough, right? You're just slacking off because now you have to go on pump because now you have to go and take half the day to take your kid to the doctor or for you to go to the doctor or whatever.
But and then on top of it all for those of us who still don't have the privilege or who haven't had the privilege yet to really work out what their life purpose is and to feel that they're really sharing their gifts with the world. Then you're finding yourself doing work that doesn't really have a lot of meaning maybe or a lot of purpose because we need to be productive. And that's the other path. Right? We need to feel that we need to show our worth in through the reflection of what gets done. So imagine this now you're a mom, you need to show, for example, you're staying at home, maybe you're a mompreneur and you're also trying to like build your business. But in the meantime, if those clients are still not coming in regularly, if the money is not coming in regularly, what do you have to show for it? Then it's like well, not much but then I have to have the perfect bento lunchbox ready. Then I have to really come up with all these like crazy entertaining activities for my kids. They try to make up for it. I like to be a supermom.
Yes, yes. Yeah, and we all keep on adding pressure on ourselves, right to make up for certain things. And we need to accept that's another form of accepting, isn't it that this is again, coming back to maybe a season of our life or knowing that these are seasons where we need to be a little bit more accepting of time or like accepting of that we'd need to take care of ourselves like I had a longest time and like hardest time accepting the fact that I need to do some self-care for me it was all about like the kids and the family and everything. I never took time for me and I really, really had to learn that except that help not help in a physical sense but you know the help for you to become a better mom to be a better mom at the end of the day. Because once you're away even though it's about being away from the kids for a little bit if someone takes them or babysits them like right now, I have someone watching my kids so we can do this. Because this energizes me this this really lifts me up this gives me this lets me be a different part of Des not just mama but like a different part of me, right that also used to exist and I'm keeping that alive and it's who I am. And if I'm being away later on when I go back down to the kids, I'm gonna be a better mom because I've missed them. Like I've had that space I've had that meantime, this is a part of my self-care for me as well. And it just, it's just better rather than always clinging on to I need to be doing everything myself on my own without sleep without help. Without nothing.
Yeah, and I there's an analogy that I use with my clients because especially if you are an entrepreneur, especially if you are in a service-based type of business and you are providing services to others is so important, as you say to accept that help in order for us to recharge your batteries because think about it. And this recently happened I visited a like a fire station with my son. And I was you know, I was trying to understand like, what their schedule is like, what the result was, like and then you know, think about it this, you know, the firefighters there their main job is to go and put out a fire and this are very extreme situations. This is a life-or-death type of situation. If there is a fire, there's people inside they need to go in they need to rescue them. So they need to be in top shape. They need to be physically, you know, strong but they also need to be well rested. Their brains need to be on alert mode because they need to be looking out for the fastest exit for the way in which you know, the fire is coming in and where can they go and all of that. So imagining if you had this firefighter that instead of taking like, I think they take three days in between for every like two days that are on duty. Imagine if they didn't do that instead of taking off those three days to rest and proper you know, recalibrate and restore themselves and replenish that they would be sleeping, leaving and doing everything in the truck already with the uniform on already with like the oxygen tank on, you know drinking like cold coffee because it's like well the alarm can sound at any moment. So you know, I cannot even go to the bathroom because who knows that you know it's precious seconds of time that I'm wasting you know, just getting you know this and that so I'm just going to sleep on the truck and not even going to rest that well because I'm sitting most of the time it's uncomfortable. It's a very small space. But I'm going to be on I'm going to be on because you never know when there's a fire and how effective would that fire fighter be at the end of the day when there is actually a real fire, and they actually need to go and save people or need to go and put it out. They wouldn't be able to get much done. And the same happens to us like we feel we have to be on this on mode all the time. And accepting those moments as you say where you have help. Where a relative, a friend says I'll look after your child just go and take a nap or worried even like you know don't worry about dinner today. We'll do take out Yeah, no, it's the easiest. I just I just need to put my feet up for like 20 minutes and I don't want to be in the kitchen. You know, it really liberates a lot of energy and space for you to as you say, show up better for your kids and also show up better for your clients because if they also need you and you are in this headspace where you are anxious and you're overwhelmed and you're stressed, how effective is it going to be for you to help them out exact whatever it is
I loved your analogy with a firefighter. It's so true, isn't it? We're the firefighters in our lives and it is it is really true. It's a really good way.
We are drinking cold matcha cold coffee. Are we not? I mean how many mamas need to like reheat their drink before
I use a thermos. I use a thermos so it stays warm longer.
So it stays warm longer.
Like I'll get to my brain eventually and they are having like breakfast while the morning because you know everything else goes on first everybody else came first it took
It took me two kids to learn all of this you know I think I am still learning but I'm definitely I feel better now. I feel better now with having a learning ride like having like accepting that. And I think all of that what we've discussed and reflecting onto our lives and motherhood. We can also I mean, we're also mompreneurs right so we have another side of us that often flows into each other but we are growing a business. We are working, right our type of working does look a lot different than someone who goes to the office nine to five, but it is we're also trying to be resourceful and what we can do and our short time right, and I found the most effective way is also to get a business coach to accept help. Right? That was another big step for me because I came from the corporate work, I came from the from the hotel industry, I had a leadership role. I had a team in place I should be knowing a lot of these things right. But I was like, I didn't know the things in this environment, right. Plus I was doing something now different to what I used to so I needed help. And again, that was though my hurdle of saying yes, I'm going to accept help for someone that's gone before me maybe made the mistakes. So to learn what the best way is to move forward. I don't have to make them it saves me time. And I will learn good and proven ways of how it can be done. And I think that was that that's a big thing, right? Like to find a coach and to Yeah, shortcut your way through it and to learn and to grow faster.
Yeah. And to that effect, I also want to share that. Shortcuts are great in the sense that you can spend time trying to figure it out on your own, and you eventually will because we are all smart. We're all capable. We all are talented. So it's not that we can not do it. But it's going to be as you say, a lot of wasted time making a lot of like, trial and errors. But if that's what you want then go for it right but the important thing is that if that is your decision, then make sure that you provisions so that you can they're refreshed and excited and not completely burned out. What is that doing want to take a shortcut and definitely having as you say, a business coach and accountability partner being part of a mastermind and even you know shifting your perspective and your mindset from thinking that you have to be like Superwoman, the hero and being the antihero because also you know, us we take care of our business you know, and say, Oh, no, I need to get this course I need to get this coach I need to make sure that my marketing my branding is on point all of those things. By the same token you know, we can also be on the on the train that says, I'm avoiding alcohol, drugs and sugar and salt and wheat and dairy and carbohydrates. And I am doing you know, my green smoothies and I meditate and I exercise and I focus on my health and I do all these things, but also if you're not willing to go to the root cause of what is causing anxiety and overwhelm as well and you know, to some degree depression and that procrastination or perfectionism is kicking in. You're then only dealing with symptoms and you're putting like a band aid on something that that is not allowing you to move forward the way you want to. So also taking care of your mental health is equally important. That we need to also shift around that stigma that seeking help makes us weak or that there is something wrong with us, seeking help from anyone you know, whoever you feel comfortable with, but seeking professional help if you're in the headspace of I don't feel I can cope. I feel like there's a dark cloud. I feel like I just I just need to talk to someone, then by all means, please do so because there are a lot of modalities out there. That can definitely help you get unstuck so that you can also start showing up from a better bandwidth for the sake of your family and for the sake of your business. So at least take a note of that, you know, it's emotional health. It's a mental health. It's our physical health. And then there's our business health and our family health and it all comes together so beautifully. Once we're able to move past whatever those root causes or issues might be.
Exactly, yeah. And now staying a little bit in the line of business as well as there's so many more things where we take people can help us for example, hiring an assistant, a virtual assistant, right, and that now traces back now we have a wonderful virtual assistant that we both work with, and it's all about also freeing time up for us. Again, going to our foundations of our values of like, do we want to be stuck working the whole part of the day or do we want to let go a little bit, um, except that someone is going to be helping us right. But then again, it's also teaching us a big lesson. Going back to the perfectionism we mentioned that we also then need to learn to let her do train her well, but then let her do otherwise we're just gonna be like micromanaging and that loses its effect, right? So there's a lot of things that we need to navigate and I think lastly, and also to close the circle on all of this is to have an amazing business partner or accountability partner or someone that you are collaborating with. Right? That That's right. I'm so eternally grateful that I have Iva and like even if we have each other, too even our conversations go beyond work. They go beyond like bid ask each other motherhood questions. We ask each other like marriage questions like about our husbands or like, you know, there's our conversations go so deep, and they go beyond our, like projects of collaboration. I mean, it's a whole different level and through this beautiful, beautiful partnership. We have also been able through this podcast through you right been able to create this tribe to form this tribe of moms, and we're all helping each other in Word and giving each other advice. I mean, listen back to the we have three episodes or three seasons of podcast episodes, where we're talking to other moms, and we're helping each other we're lifting each other up. Where I'm sharing experiences for sharing expertise is the amount of freebies that were shared. In there, right all for the sake of helping others like that are like us. We're mompreneurs, we're moms with little ones trying to grow a business. And that goes back with we shouldn't have to do it all alone. We shouldn't be able to like shouldn't have to feed a firefighter right that never sleeps in his uniform. I love that analogy so much. But we are there working together with a tribe with a business bestie and learning to accept help. We don't have to know it all. We don't win. Right and it's so much more beautiful to accept help from others to learn and to grow.
Yeah, and as that's it and I like to say you do have to, you do have to do it yourself, but you don't have to do it alone. That's the main difference. So, you know, take this with you on to your mama, you have to do it yourself. Yes. And you can but you don't have to do it alone. And that's the whole reason for, you know, joining a collective and being part of a community and a sisterhood that is there to empower you and inspire you and motivate you to show up every day because we do need that help and support. So to all the beautiful mamas listening, we salute you, you are doing amazing, and kudos to give thanks for listening and we can't wait to catch up on the next episode. In the meantime, keep thriving and being a total boss in all that you do. See you next time.
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