I get a text from another mom.
“Can you grab my son after school? I’m going to get stuck at work tonight.”
I text back.
“Absolutely, no problem!”
And that is the truth. It is no problem to lend a hand to another family. I’m grateful when I can help a mom or dad get through their day and ease their stress a little.
That’s because chances are I’ve already had to ask them to help me. I am thrilled when I can return the favor.
Asking for help can be difficult, especially in this social media world where it appears as though every other parent has it together, balancing work, family and all the extracurricular activities that go with both.
I rely on my tribe of family and friends to help me balance everything. I’ve learned I cannot do it all. Yet, every time I send my SOS text for assistance, I hold my breath, cringe and feel shame.
Yep, I said it. I feel like I’m “that mom” when I can’t do it all on my own.
“Can you take Liam to soccer practice tomorrow night?”
“Can you be my back up to get Liam if my work event runs long?”
“There is an accident on I-96, can you run and grab Liam for me please?”
I never want to impose on anyone. And while the answer I nearly always get is ‘No problem,’ I still worry about it.
The very nature of my job requires me to have a community of family, neighbors and parents on Liam’s teams or in his class on standby in case something happens. In fact, I’ve been told have the longest but most organized “pick up” list at Kids Time, the aftercare program where my son goes to school.
As a senior special projects producer at WDIV Local 4, when something big happens, I’m often called upon to be a part of our coverage. And should the worst ever happen; a disaster, mother nature or worse -- it’s all hands on deck, as we say in the newsroom, and we call ourselves to action.
That can be difficult to explain to those who do not work in our industry. However, my village of support, these amazing neighbors, friends and family members, get it and get me through.
When I text one of them that a prominent person in our community has died and we’re doing extended news coverage, can you watch my son tonight until my husband gets home from work, they are there for me.
For those of you worried about asking another mom or dad for help, this is what I’ve learned as our family schedule gets busier and busier. We are not alone. If our home is struggling to get everything done, so are other families. It’s OK, ask for help and offer it in return.
Build a tribe of parents you can trust in case you need help in an emergency.
Share after-school activity duties with other families. With soccer, one season I split the duties with another mom. She did the driving one night and I did the other. It gave both of us a break.
This season I have two other families who often take Liam to practice. And I’ve helped them cover getting to sports activities or birthday parties on the weekends.
If you cannot help during the week, offer to do so on the weekends or watch the kids so that parent can have a date night.
Who doesn’t want to save on child care every now and then.
When the text comes in from another parent needing my help, I am thrilled to say "yes, I can," because I know a day is coming soon when I will be texting them for the same even during these upcoming summer months when school is out.