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.

About the writer

Jennifer is a writer and mother of three insane and adorable redheads who frustrate her, amuse her, challenge her, and continue to teach her something new about life every day. When they aren’t doing this, she is hiding from them under a table somewhere with the M&M stash wondering how long it will be until they find her. You can learn more at My Jenneration or find her @JennMeer.


Samantha Schroeder 2 years ago

Please no mommy wars. Every mom is different and has different thresholds of what they can handle. The whole point of a place like this is to support one another- not throw each other under the bus!!

MyLove M. Barnett 2 years ago

Absolutely! Take the help offered and don't feel guilty for needing or wanting it!… And just as importantly, offer to "do" for others if you see or sense they have a need. Sometimes people's pride won't let them ask for help until they're at a breaking point.

Stephanie Chaney 2 years ago

Military wife and mom of 3….a 10year old, 9 year old and 6 year old….the youngest 2 are boys with severe adhd that I’ve yet to use medication with. It is soooooo hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done or imagined doing and I never catch up. A day at a time would be great, I survive it a minute at a time. Anytime help is offered I am beyond thankful. It doesn’t happen often. It’s a relief to know I’m not a bad mom but I am human and normal…now where’s the bubble wrap 😉 and the pediatrician’s number!

LCM 2 years ago

This article is great. It also reminds us how important it is to offer to help the people in our lives.

Ashley Marie Aleshire 2 years ago

Everyone is traveling different roads with different challenges. Doesn’t mean a mother is any less of a mother for needing help every once in awhile. Ever heard the saying” it takes a village to raise a child”. That came from” back in the day”. Children are blessings and joy to have but there are frustrating times, regardless of situations. That’s part of parenting. Kudos to those who are sahms, single moms,military wife’s/Moms, working moms,lonely moms,mom’s of special needs children etc. We ALL have our challenges and we make the most of it:) I don’t like asking for help. But I know I should every now and then. I love my 6,3 and 1 year old to the moon and back. Never ever would change it for the world. But that doesn’t mean a shopping trip by myself once in a blue moon. ..can’t feel like a mini vacation.moms need to stick together, not tear each other down.

Stephanie Thomas 2 years ago

To all of you posters who have something negative to say, please hear this:

In a world that is as cynical and rancid (as you have just proven by passing judgment on someone you don’t even know anything about) it is truly amazing that there are people like #Scary_Mommy who risk being vulnerable to help others see they aren’t alone. I feel bad for all of you who immediately jumped to “boo hoo, me too but…” Clearly, you aren’t happy with something in your life and you want people to know how strong you are. I have one word for you: KARMA. You reap what you sow. By choosing to be ugly to others is to choose for ugliness to surround you. I commend the writer of this article. Like a lot of the moms who have commented, I don’t have anyone to offer those sorts of things to me either. But to know that so many people were offering to help her, said to me, that she is the type of person who despite her own personal chaos, still tries to help others. Even if it’s through a one-sided article. #truth #Karma

Stephanie Thomas 2 years ago

Thank you for this article. On a day when life is OH SO challenging and I feel like in the mombie walking around, this has lifted some weight off my shoulders. I needed this. And I need a break. And my family needs me. So I need to take care of myself. We all do. Thank you!!

Anjie Criss 2 years ago

Good article. Why everyone expects one single article to speak to every single woman’s experiences & situations, I don’t know…but as long as there’s some part of the article that you can relate to, understand or that helps you in some part of your life, then take that & leave the rest. Stop expecting & start supporting.

ShakespearesMom 2 years ago

I’m impressed that you made hamantaschen when you were on your own with your kids for that long. I’m not Jewish, but I have close Jewish friends, so I’ve been blessed with Purim treats before. I so get what you’re saying here, and I LOVE the way you put it at the end – that you were going to get yourself and bring her back after some alone time. It is really hard to be everything to your kids day in and day out. We all need alone time, however we can get it.

Kristin Stitt Parrent 2 years ago

Poor me, I was home alone for 5 days and actually had help available and accepted it. So brave and insightful.

Sonya Gee Calgren 2 years ago

Wow Alexis a little judge mental a you. I guess you have it all figured out :).

KellyandJunior Martinez 2 years ago

Loved this.

Alexis Rene Snyder RN 2 years ago

My husband works off shore gone a month home a week I stay at home with my 2yr old my 7 month old and im 3 months pregnant 24/7 all by myself I take both kids out with me when I have to go out. I guess im old fashioned but if you cant handle ur kids on ur own then dont have kids I think the writer of this little blog is a wimp if a mom cant adapt thats hardly a mom. My husband usually rides over an I love it I hate it when he comes home id rather do it all by myself the kids are happy im exhausted most the nights but I dont whine about it. I didnt laugh at this blog sorry too many me generation moms out there u only have kids for so long before they grow up so suck it up an go play with your kids an enjoy it

    Aerin Gunn 2 years ago

    This must be your only chance to feel superior to others, huh? Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back, sister.

Beth Marie Aucoin 2 years ago

I needed to hear this today. Thank you :)

Leah Wakefield 2 years ago

I hope she knows how lucky she is to have those offers and people calling to help. Its taken me 7 years and after a major crash and burn to learn to ask for help. And when i finally muster up the strength, no one is in sight. Hell, i was told bra shopping was more important than helping with my kids during a death in the family and while getting over pneumonia.

Adora May McTaggart 2 years ago

Say “Yes” to help
Say “NO” to unrealistic extras like pintrest and out doing each other as super-moms

I’m super in my organized mess!

Notso supermom 2 years ago

Take them or Make them!
Great post! Yes! It’s good to say yes when you need to. And if you may not have those opportunities or offers of help, then perhaps you can make some.
My hubby will be away for a bit and I have a few things lined up to save my sanity: a sitter for tonight, for instance (a fellow mom’s hubby, no less; so that she and I can have a girls night out) and hosting a MNO at my house later this month. (And my closest family is 3+ hours away.)
I realize everyone’s situation is different, and Jenn is just sharing hers. Thanks, Jenn!

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 2 years ago

Love this! So true, and I’m really glad you have these people in your life.

Kathy Toelke Sulik 2 years ago

Isn’t the point of the article to don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help? No matter your situation. We are all different and have different situations. I think some of this was for dramatic effect but the basic point is the same.

Heather Brooke 2 years ago

This is what it feels like to be a single mom. Only.. Nobody is coming home on Friday.

Megan Puentes 2 years ago

Jeremy Puentes this is me!

Melissa Simmons 2 years ago

Exactly, Amanda. I’m currently married to an AD soldier and through deployments, school, field problems, etc, no one has any compassion. It’s hardest on new wives who just PCS to a new post or who don’t make friends easily. Then from all angles you get comments like:

“You knew what you were getting into when you married him.”
“You’re a mom so act like one and quit trying to put yourself first.”
“You made those children so live with the consequences of those actions.”
“Put your big girl panties on and deal with it!”
“Suck it up, buttercup. No one cares.”

With attitudes like that, not just in military mom circles, is it any wonder no one asks for help? That we drop in exhaustion after not just one week, but through days, months after that?
That we feel like crappy moms because it’s a beautiful day out, but the effort to get a diaper bag packed, load (x) amount of kids in the car, get everyone ready, pack a lunch, pack something to drink, AND figure out where to take our kids seems like too much effort? Or because we give our kids grilled cheese even though we promised ourselves we’d feed them better? Or how about the times we were up all night with the baby so it’s easier to sit on the couch and let our toddler watch Bo on the Go all day? Or we don’t practice letters and numbers so our two year old won’t be at the same learning level as Mable’s daughter down the street?
There are a million ways that we feel as though we epically fail as parents.
The problem with being that nice friend that just wants to help is that you are often taken advantage of.
This article had a great message, but not all of us are that lucky to have people we can lean on.

kissing the frog 2 years ago

Ladies, it’s all in what you know. Yes, many military spouses and other people raise children on their own all the time. That is their normal. When it’s not your normal, it can be hard; and there is nothing wrong with accepting help. We all face different challenges in our parenting and being supportive of one another means wearing someone else’s shoes every once and a while, even if it is virtually. Thanks for sharing this with us Jennifer!

Michaela Morrison 2 years ago

Love this

Jen Parker 2 years ago

What made me laugh was the toddler’s “I can do it myself”-I’m going through that phase right now. But not much is more humiliating than asking for help. My job hours are weird and I’ve been blessed with a few friends who can watch my little one while I’m at work. So judge on, Judy McJudgy moms.

Andrea Hernandez 2 years ago

Some of us have no one to say “yes” to.

Laura Lillicotch 2 years ago

I hate asking for help. I never do. It’s such an Achilles heel bc I want to help my friends.

tina 2 years ago

My hubs passed when my kids were 15mo, 3, and 5. You can do more than what you think you can. No one came to help after two weeks. Been flying solo for over 2 years. I love that some moms have such a wonderful support system, but not all do. What I wouldn’t do for that one hour! Be thankful for what you do have, say yes more often.

Amanda Bruner 2 years ago

I was a military wife, did it on my own through deployments and work schedules where he would go a week or two without seeing the kids, and I still occasionally lose it after a few hours. Why? Because of judgemental people who make us feel like failures if we aren’t supermom all the time. Stop white-washing your lives and admit that you’ve been there too. WE ALL HAVE.

Sheena Buteau 2 years ago

That life is all too real for me. :/

Maura Brady 2 years ago

What if there is no one to say yes to?

Stacey Livingston 2 years ago

This. Right here, is straight perfection

Mike-Mandy Ruckman 2 years ago

“Everyone who is being snide” knows exactly what its like when you take away one of the “supporting characters” or maybe never had any to begin with… And please her husband left at 8 am and by noon she had to take it down a notch… OVERLY DRAMATIC was my point. Nobody is saying its not hard and everyone has acknowledged that we dont often ask for help as much as we could or sometimes should. Of course everyone needs help but her circumstances are laughable at best. It really doesn’t take a village. It takes hard work and sacrifice as we are all very aware. So easily offended by someone else’s opinion. Drive on.

    Jessica Farrell 2 years ago

    You do realize that she is a writer, and being dramatic is part of, well, writing?? She may be exaggerating a tad for effect. “laughable” circumstances? Maybe she WANTS you to laugh, a little.

Adora May McTaggart 2 years ago

The first few times no matter how short or long suck. Until you get used to it or figure it out it just plain sucks.
I’m going thru this now. Lost it by the first night when both kids were sick and my toddler kept asking for daddy. Throw in two needy dogs…
Everyone’s story is different. But the start is usually not easy

Mary Schneider 2 years ago

Loved this. I don’t care if your 5 days is 1 day or 8 months… Everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s psyche is different, everyone’s family is different. The point of articles like this is to acknowledge the things that we have that are the same, and recognize our strengths and weaknesses together, to reduce the mom-guilt we all struggle with from time to time.

Judges and haters- Grow the hell up and try imagining that someone else’s life might just be a little bit different from your own. I mean really. I could be all “well I’m ‘on’ 24/7 as an abandoned single mom, so I don’t know what she’s whining about”, or I can acknowledge the help I’ve had from family and friends, more emotional than anything, but still, and acknowledge that I’m not the only Mom who’s struggled to ‘do it all’ on my own.

Mary 2 years ago

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.

Dorothy Kelly 2 years ago

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.

Mollie Muncaster 2 years ago

Thank you! It takes a village and too few of us do this.

Jillian Jacobs Morrow 2 years ago

I completely agree with this article but have to laugh because as a marine corps spouse my “five days” is eight months! But over the course of this deployment I have certainty learned to say yes!

Beth Logsdon 2 years ago

It takes a village….

Carrie Floyd 2 years ago

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…

Aerin Gunn 2 years ago

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??

Sonya Gee Calgren 2 years ago

The judgement here is unbelievable. Some of you sound like you know it all.

Dana Bodry-Hurst 2 years ago

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.

Mike-Mandy Ruckman 2 years ago

Thousand of military spouses do it by themselves month after month after month… Put your big girl panties on.
AND single parents as well.

    Paula Christine 2 years ago

    You have the choice to ask for help if you need it. No matter what the circumstances

Nicole Ward 2 years ago

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.

Annamaria-Guarneri Mckean 2 years ago

I can sympathize! We here in NC had “race widows” my husband worked mon-wed and traveled thurs-sun. It sucked. I have 0 family here but…we made it! 3 awesome kids almosr teens..teens..gets even

Lisa Parry 2 years ago

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.

Lila Savage 2 years ago

Corrin,lol.Good morning,I think you should read the article again.Nothing fell apart.She was stating ..never energy for rude people today.

Corrin Deaton 2 years ago

I like the sentiment but really 5 days. If she can’t handle her family for 5 days without everything falling apart I think she needs to reevaluate her schedule.

Sarah Jane Webb 2 years ago

i recently learnt this the hard way. Its difficult to say yes when all you want to do is be super mum for your little family. the trouble is, its all too easy to crash and burn aswell. no matter how stubborn you are

Wendy LaRoque 2 years ago

Degenerate Chris LaRoque

Adora May McTaggart 2 years ago

No. 5 whole days the first (maybe even second) time totally sucks, especially when you get regular help from daddy.
Being in a new town sucks when you don’t have anyone to say “yes” to.

Mike-Mandy Ruckman 2 years ago

The sentiment is great. Much needed reminder that its ok to accept help… But her husband being gone for 5 whole days… Little overly dramatic.

Glumbumble 2 years ago

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.

    Danika Myers 2 years ago

    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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