Have you ever heard the jokes about the men who refuse to pull over and ask for directions? The ones who are never “lost," no matter how lost they are?
How about the parents who never stop and ask for directions with this whole parenting thing -- ever heard of them? That would be me.
As a general rule, I would rather drive to Montana on the way to Florida (metaphorically) than admit I need help with my kids. I mean, I’m supposed to be the expert on my own kids, right?
Parenting is like any long journey, though. You hit speedbumps. Sometimes you need some insight from people that are further down the road than you are. You might run out of gas. You may need some words of encouragement or a fellow traveler to commiserate with. Sometimes you have to take an unwanted detour.
Once in a great while you desperately need some good directions.
I'm a “do-it-yourselfer” (as all moms are.) This do-it-yourself mentality usually complements parenting and learning at home, but lots of times I know that I wait too long to ask for help. If I need advice, support from other moms, prayer, advice or information, I tend to wait until I’m at a proverbial dead end before I reach out for some roadside assistance.
Over the past year, a lot has changed in our family. A new baby, finances, an annoying dog, disappointments, new job responsibilities, sickness, home schooling – all of these things add to the stress of our daily lives. Especially mine.
Instead of swallowing my pride, I’ve spent many sleepless nights ruminating on my problems and wondering what the heck I should really be doing. I spin my problems around and around in my head until they snowball and get completely out of control.
Strangely enough, it turns out I’m not alone. All I needed to do was ask someone else who has traveled this road before me (or even someone who is even traveling it right alongside me.)
Most moms that I know (especially ones that I meet at my Bible Study Group, the library or homeschool events) are very helpful and understanding. They don’t mind sharing their insight and their life lessons with me. They tell me about their parenting triumphs – and even their failures.
Sometimes I think hearing about other people’s failures helps a lot more than hearing about their triumphs! It’s not that I want them to fail, mind you, but it’s simply nice to know that other people on the road of motherhood have a flat tire once in a while.
Whenever I’m able to just get over myself, I’m usually amazed at the compassion, helpfulness and good directions that other moms share with me.
And the more often I ask for it, the easier it is to find support, resources and helpful information among moms in my neighborhood, my network and my church.
Apparently, asking for directions is half the battle. In the future, I’m going to pull over at the very first gas station I can find.