Helping - Offering and Accepting Help

Sunday, October 27, 2013
Recently, we launched the WOW! Women on Writing Blog Tour for Sara Connell’s amazing surrogacy story Bringing in Finn. It seems fitting that my next blog post following that surrogacy story has something to do with babies…right? Some of you may know that 4 weeks ago I gave birth to a nine pound bouncing baby boy named Breccan. He is not my first child, and God willing he will not be my last. However, this postpartum recovery has been the most physically and emotionally challenging. Challenging because I'm trying to juggling the demands of parenting older children, an infant, and it's harvest time on the farm. (If only cloning myself was an option) Thank goodness, I have an amazing network of friends and family who have been most helpful during the last few weeks. This brings me to the topic of today’s post: HELPING.

Why do we accept help from some people and not from others? Is it the person offering or is it the way they offer? In my experience, it’s the type of offerings. Let me explain with a few examples that were offered the first week I was home and trying desperately to maintain my sanity.

My mom would text me saying “do you need any help today?” and I would quickly respond that everything is fine. My friend Cindi sent me an email asking “if I drop by with a crockpot full of meat, potatoes, and veggies, would you have a use for it?” and I accepted. My uncle called asking “I’m stopping out to pick tomatoes in your garden, can I bring you bread or butter from the grocery store in town?” and I asked him to bring out a loaf of bread and a few rolls of toilet paper. Had I lied to my mother? Why wouldn’t I accept her offer but graciously accepted the help of others?

My mom had not let me know what she was willing to help with and I was raised not to take advantage of the kindness of others. I couldn’t very well respond to her offer by asking if she would scrub floors, throw a meal together, do my grocery shopping, and hold the baby long enough for me to take a shower and shave my legs. If the offer was specific I would have a much better idea of what type of help was acceptable and then wouldn't feel like I was imposing or asking too much.

The lesson I think I’m taking away from this is I will be specific when I offer help to friends and family. I will ask what someone needs from the grocery store, will make lasagna and ask what time I can stop over with it, and I will ask if I can take older children to the park or a movie for the afternoon.

Well…enough of this for now – time to feed my little price and throw a load of diapers in the washing machine.

Now it’s your turn: What type of help do you accept? If you don’t accept help, why not? What was the nicest thing someone did for you in your time of need?

Crystal is a church musician, business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Reedsville, Wisconsin with her husband, three young children (Carmen 6, Andre 5, Breccan 4 weeks), three dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, and over 200 Holsteins. You can find Crystal blogging at:


Anonymous said...

Crystal, congrats on your new baby! I have been humbled by life too many times to refuse help, the latest being in 2009 when my husband and I both had cancer at the same time. The people I appreciated most were those who just did it - they called and offered to drive one of us to a treatment, some brought food, etc.

I will never forget being on a list through church to take a family the evening meal while she fought breast cancer. On my appointed day, I made a roast with vegetables, etc. and arrived at the time specified. She met me at the door, did not invite me in, and said she had already cooked dinner.

Stunned at her lack of finesse, I left the dinner and picked up my containers at church later.

I'm not sure she ever realized how rude she was. My cooking has always received high praise from family and friends. I hope they at least ate it!

Margo Dill said...

When my daughter was in the NICU, the best thing was people sending me gift cards to eat at restaurants within walking distance of the hospital. I was there for a month. I did get free and reduced meals because I was nursing, but some days I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner there, and it was nice to get out and get some fresh air. It was also nice when a couple of my friends said, "We are coming to sit with you. What day?" You are right. Being specific helps. I'm going to remember that.

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