Saying Yes



This morning I watched Ruby at war with her socks. They were inside out and she was battling to flip them right side and get them on herself. I gently offered some help. Immediately she snapped back a response I was all too familiar with: “No! I can do it myself!”

They say in parenthood you get back whatever you gave your own parents as a kid. As her words ring in my ears and our shared frustration rises (her with the socks, me with my inability to help her with her socks) it occurs to me how annoying this trait must have been to my own parents when I was Ruby’s age. How annoying it actually still is to function this way as an adult. To walk around like robo-mom with a pasted on smile telling anyone who will buy what I’m selling including my family, friends, husband and myself that I do not need help. I got this. I can do this on my own. I can make the bus on time and feed the baby all night long and pack the lunches and make the homemade dinners and do fun projects with the kids and I can do it! I can! All on my own! Seriously, I got this! No, seriously, I do!

Except when I don’t.

So here is the truth of it: it was a long, hard week. Phil is finally home again after a Monday-Friday business trip. While he has travelled this long once before since Hope has been born, this is his first time being gone for this long, after all of our wonderful extended family and help have long since left.

I have been alone. With all three of them. I am on all day. I am on all night. I am the human, mothering equivalent of a 24 hour cable news cycle. I go constantly. And often repeat myself. Seriously, I’m exactly like CNN.

Phil left around 8AM Monday morning. Somewhere around noon that day I realized I was going to have to take things down a notch. Laundry might get done but would never get put away. It would just accumulate in soft billowy mountains throughout the house. We might make the school bus. We also might not. If we drove, we would make the first bell. We would not be late though in no scenario would we be early. Homework would get done. The children would be fed. Even if that meant scrambled eggs most nights. When Ruby, during our Mommy/Ruby day home together, asked why we weren’t doing anything (because Mommy is tired! Because Mommy hasn’t slept more than 4 hours, and not consecutively, in days!) I rallied to do a cooking project with her and you know what? We made hamantaschen for Purim. Actually we made six hamantaschen to be exact; one tray’s worth. It wasn’t much, but it was something. And we did it together.

But somewhere around Wednesday, I realized my new mantra of low expectations wasn’t going to see me through it. I was going to have to do something even more drastic. I was going to have to accept help. Or even more terrifying, I might have to ask for help. I might have to actually admit that I couldn’t do it on my own. Just picture Ruby all pissed off at her socks but as a grown up and way worse. This is how I felt admitting I needed help.

And so when the neighbor asked if he could walk Dylan to the bus stop, I said yes.

And when the friend called and asked if she could bring over dinner, I said yes. And I went and ate that delicious dinner for at least 2 nights. And just maybe for at least one breakfast.

And when my friend asked if she could bring Ruby home from piano class, I said yes.

And when another amazing friend asked if she could snuggle Hope so that I could take long, slow sips of the large coffee in front of me on the table with both hands, I said yes.

I said yes.

One little word. Life-changing. How humiliating that it took me 36 years to figure it out. And that one little word and all those wonderful people got me through to Friday, to this moment when my wonderful husband finally walked back in the door and understood that I needed to walk out of it to grab one hour alone with this beer, these fries, no little ones who I love more than life itself. Who I need space from more than anything in this moment.

As I grab my keys I yell up to him, “Need anything?” to which he responds, “Just you.”

“That’s easy,” I reply.

“I’ll go get her. Be back with her in an hour.”

I need him. I need her. I need them, all of them. Yes.


The Scary Mommy Community is built on support. If your comment doesn't add to the conversation in a positive or constructive way, please rethink submitting it. Basically? Don't be a dick, please.

  1. 1

    Glumbumble says

    This was a nice little read. Too bad not everyone has this kind of support system and even if you would gladly accept help, no one’s offering it and if you ask for help out right, everyone’s too busy.

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    • 2

      Danika Myers says

      I know that feeling all to well. SAHM to a beautiful little boy. Have a husband who works and ridiculously dangerous/stressful job, so I don’t usually ask a lot from him. But our roommates? Psshh.. Like talking to the wall. I end up being the one who cooks all the meals, cleans the whole house, and takes care of the baby. Alone. When there’s usually at least one other fully functional adult in the house. But instead they sit on the computer doing nothing to help. How is that fair?

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  2. 9


    5 days? Oh come one. I have been raising my 5 grandsons ages 5-10 on my own for 7 years. I’ve learned to say yes, but it took a long time. I understand the basis of this story, but live in my shoes just one day.

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  3. 11


    It’s not just the 5 days. Who cares if 5 days is her breaking point. It’s different for everyone especially is your partner is home everyday usually for an amount of time. You get used to things that way.
    It’s the basics of the story she’s trying to get across. It’s ok to accept the help! Even if you’re losing your shit after 1 day.
    There are sometimes I don’t see my husband for a week more than an hour before he goes to bed, the kids see him maybe 15 min here or there as he’s running from job to job. I can handle my household and 3 kids for a year if I needed to, I’m just used to doing it on my own because his schedule is unpredictable. That doesn’t mean I don’t need help. I noticed I can go about 3 weeks before I seriously need a break. It’s just hard on your own with little ones. Anyone who says they don’t need help or doesn’t get frustrated is lying, or they have more help than they act like they do.

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  4. 14


    Way to support a mother who is honest and brave enough to share her fears, limitations and insights Ladies. Everyone has different strengths and challenges. Comparison is the thief of joy, and tearing down another woman does not build you up. It’s a learning curve….everyone is still learning.

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  5. 16


    Nice sympathy, moms. Some people have the meddle and others don’t. I applaud all mothers no matter the “difficulty setting” or whether they are playing “co-op” or “single campaign”; they’re still playing the game to the best of their individual ability. I sometimes fall apart with one kid, two dogs, and a husband who merely works 60 hours a week. We aren’t all Iron Women, Super Moms, or even normal. Some of us have troubles. But we still love our kids, we are trying out best, big girl panties or rubber pants. KWIM??

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  6. 17


    Cannot believe how judgmental so many of these comments are. As mothers we are in this together. We get to be a part of the most important group of people in the world. We should support each other. Not criticize! Our job is hard. And it’s 24/7. I don’t know about the rest of you but I don’t even go to the bathroom by myself! She recognized she needed help. And accepted it. Good for her!! And one more thing, if you don’t think it’s hard some days, maybe you’re not doing it right…

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  7. 21


    I’m annoyed by the complete lack of support here. 5 days. “Only” 5 days? If you are accustomed to no one being around to help all day and all night, then fine, go feel superior. But she clearly states that this is the FIRST TIME her husband has traveled that long since her youngest was born. She has three children, homework to coordinate, after school activities to try to maintain, and probably two different drop off and pick up schedules. She’s not USED to having to do it by herself for 5 days. So yes, maybe as a long-term endeavor, she needs to “reevaluate” her routine, but maybe everyone who’s being snide about how short a time it is needs to think: the routine works just fine until you take away one of the supporting characters.

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  8. 22

    Mary says

    Bless you! I wish I’d said yes now and then when my littles were small… They’re teens now and I’m finding myself on my own. It’s not just about getting the help you need- it’s about building that community, and allowing others to become part of your kids’ lives. No one can ever step up and be in your shoes, but those connections will be important as your kids get older and more independent.

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