I have written about guilt before, and this is probably somewhat of an extension of that. Asking for help used to be something only men weren’t very good at: help broadly, but more specifically, directions of course. But now, I think the disease has spread.
I cannot, CANNOT ask for help, and even if I desperately need it, if it is offered, I still have difficulty accepting. With work, this has always been the case: my work is my second child, and letting anyone else take control of it appals me. But it is spreading to people offering to help me with the housework, watch my child while I do something else, or even helping me move house.
I blame the Superwoman syndrome. No, in fact, I blame the amount of Superwomen who seem to be cropping up in my life lately.
These are the women who look impeccable, are smart, successful, effortless, groomed, and (worst of all) so very NICE that it is difficult to resent them as much as one would like to. These women have clean, well-mannered children, clean, well-shaped nails and you just know they eat organic food, and there is not a frozen pizza to be found in their kitchen.
They balance motherhood and business with aplomb, smiling all the while, and never grizzle at their partners.
It’s like Stepford syndrome but much worse because these women really do seem to – to use a phrase that routinely makes me cringe – HAVE IT ALL. Do they never want to scream, “My God, won’t someone give me a hand??”
Of course they do.
But, like the rest of us mere mortals, they are scared to ask.
We seem to have gotten the idea from somewhere that we need to be seen to be happy and at ease with balancing the numerous roles we have carved for ourselves: mother, sister, daughter, worker, friend, partner, bill-payer, cook, cleaner… and to be seen to admit to struggling is a big no-no.
I have had enough. Last night the kid was crying and throwing a 3 year old tantrum, the cat was winding round my feet after his dinner, and the oven timer was going off, while I was on the phone to someone who, frankly, could help me make a lot of money. Not even the most seemingly able Superwoman could remain unperturbed in that situation surely?
So I am calling for a revolution, ladies: let us admit when we have had enough, embrace the corners we sometimes cut to get through the day, and relate our failings with humour, not hide them with guilt. And let’s offer, and accept, more help.