|Queen For a Day! |
Image Souce: Blurtit.com
I'm not sure if it's because all the magazines and books I've read from my 50s housewife days (which I still love to read!) presume a person pitches in when her friends, neighbours, community and country could use a hand, but lately I've been feeling like maybe we've become a little too focused on our own bubbles.
I don't think this is the case because people have become uncaring - I think we're just busier now, have more distractions and have become a mind-your-own-business society (which has its pluses and minuses) that is terrified of offending others (except when it comes to the comment section of articles, blogs and YouTube videos - there, some live to offend). We often worry that when we stick our necks out to offer help, the other person will somehow feel judged, and even get angry with us. In a post I wrote a while ago, I linked to this fabulous speech by JK Rowling that speaks to the importance of imagination. In her speech, she mentioned that through imagination, you can gain empathy and use that to help others. The roadblock that many of us face, however, is that we also imagine a backlash to helping. We worry about making that person in a wheelchair feel less capable if we offer to grab something on the grocery shelf for them. We hold back saying something to a mom whose toddler has pulled off his winter hat for fear that she'll think we believe she's a 'bad mother' for not noticing. We don't offer directions to the person who's clearly wandering about looking for landmarks because we don't want them to feel dumb. We often even keep to ourselves when it comes to people we know well. We don't want them to know that we've noticed that they could maybe use a hand or a break.
These fears aren't completely unwarranted, but maybe we should risk the potential backlash more often.
One of my good friends is the mom to a 1.5-year old. Her daughter is gorgeous and funny and smart and will surely grow up to be a brilliant human being I'll be proud to know. But as nearly all moms can attest, you can have the greatest kid in the world and still need a time out for yourself. My friend didn't have to (and didn't) tell me this - I just knew she was due for a break.
So, yesterday, without offering or needing to explain to her why, we swapped homes. I came up to her place to babysit her daughter (and do a bit of a tidy with my new little helper) and she arrived at my place to discover this:
At the end of the day, she came back to her place where her family's dinner was magically ready and more wine was begging to be had.
It's OK, you can say it: I am pretty awesome. Har.
If there's a new mom or dad in your life, or anyone who could use a little relief, please steal this idea from me. You'll never feel so appreciated!