I’m writing from 10,000 feet, somewhere over South Dakota, on my way to Boston to see my Mom for Mother’s Day (thank god for wifi on planes, magic).
A few weeks ago, when I realized I had to accomplish two weeks worth of work in one weekend (there’s nothing I hate more than working on weekends) in order to pull off the launch of my program, Live More Weigh Less, I felt like the walls were closing in on me. After pacing around the apartment, making copious to-do lists and trying desperately not to dive into the coffee ice cream we had in the freezer at 10am in morning, I had a moment of clarity, “I need my mommy”.
In an attempt to appear like I was the daughter of the year, I called my Mom and told her I was coming home for Mother’s Day, but the reality was that I was desperate to be taken care of.
Now this in itself was a major breakthrough for me. Like most driven women, I spent my life focused on being independent and taking care of other people. I was the go to girl on the playground for boy drama (even though I didn’t have my first kiss til I was 15), I’ve planned all of my friend’s birthdays at least 3 times and when it comes to work, I’m a one-woman show.
With all of the give give give, I spent a lot of my life running on empty, and the only way I could survive, the only way I knew how to feel taken care of, was to eat.
When you have so much of your energy going out, and you have nothing coming in, something has to fill the void. And food was always there, ready to soothe, comfort and make the world stop spinning, even if just for a minute.
When my therapist asked me, “Sarah, who takes care of you?” I was lost for words.
She followed up with, “who do you need to let take care of you.”
It’s easy to run around, feeling miffed that you’re a lone wolf, but if we’re being honest, this propensity for fierce independence gives us clout, purpose and a badge of honor. And the reality is that the idea of asking for help, or taking a break will just prove what we already believe about ourselves, that we’re failures, weak and that we can’t handle it.
In short, if you’re exhausted and pissed at everyone for not stepping up, it’s your own fault.
There were two things I needed to do:
1. Learn that asking for help and taking a break makes me a more successful, happier person.
2. Let the people in my life who are ready and willing to take care me, do their thing.
So I “pretended” to be the type of person who asks for help, and then saw if my belief that people can’t take care of me, that people would judge me or that I would lose my edge was true. So I started telling my friends what was going on with me before I asked them how they were, after a 30 minute lecture on how terrible a friend’s boyfriend is I just said “Wow, that sucks” as opposed to suggesting a 3 month man-training strategy, I hired an incredible assistant, I called my Mom and asked her for relationship advice, called my dad and asked him for business advice and asked Jonathan to make dinner, plan a date and massage my feet.
It was revolutionary.
Though I thought all of this “neediness” was going to make me feel like a selfish loser, what I discovered was quite the opposite. I felt more focused, calm and empowered. Sure, there were pangs of guilt for asking someone else to give to me, but what I realized was that they were as happy to give as I was to receive.
And the icing on the cake was that the visions of pounding warm chocolate cookies faded away.
So I’m on a mission to inspire women to ask for help, wanna help me out by tweeting this?
If you’re the type of Mom who ‘does it all’ I want to encourage Sunday to be the beginning of a new tradition of asking for help and taking a break, everyday. If you’re a daughter who doesn’t let your Mom take care of you, get over it and let her hold you. It’s the best feeling in the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredible mommies out there.
Simple actions to take your life back, know your worth & feel alive no matter how drained, overwhelmed and far gone you feel.