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The Problem with Coping

I was chatting to a friend the other day about how irritating it can be to be constantly struggling, and never offered any help. When you’re a new mum, people offer to help you with things all the time, but by the time your child is a few months old, you’re supposed to just be able to do it. And by the time your child is a toddler, you clearly don’t need any help, with anything, ever.

I hate to be a burden to people or to put anyone out in any way; even if they are offering to help, I’ll often say “oh no no, it’s ok, I’m fine thanks”  – because I know how often I have offered to help someone out of politeness, and really hoped they would turn me down.

I don’t want to be the person people dread visiting, in case I try and get them to fix something or take the rubbish out or help me move furniture while they’re here. So I try to muddle on through as best I can.
I do my shopping in several trips, hanging bags off the handles of the buggy and dragging them across town and up the steps. When I need nappies or washing powder, I improvise. I can no longer afford to have my shopping delivered so I just end up going to the supermarket on an almost daily basis. That in itself is no mean feat, now that I’m working as well.
I wait until S is asleep to take the rubbish and recycling out, locking the door behind me and getting to and from the bins as quickly as possible.
The problem with this approach is that I look like I’m coping perfectly well on my own. It doesn’t look like my life is a daily struggle to keep my head above water, so nobody offers to help. Because I don’t constantly ask people to pick up washing powder or nappies for me, it doesn’t occur to them to wonder how the hell I manage to get them myself.

Sometimes, I look up and think, “why can’t you see I’m struggling? Why don’t you want to help me?”

The problem, my friend says, is that I look like I’m coping. Because I’m not in a heap on the floor, snotting on people’s shoes and asking for help with every little thing, they assume I don’t want a hand with anything at all. It’s not that I’m not coping; just sometimes, it would be nice to have a little help with it.

This is not just about being a single mother, though being single does make things harder. Life as a parent generally, can be tough at times. And people seem to forget how hard their own struggle has been.

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

1 Comment
  • potteringsandramblings

      REPLY

    If having twins has taught me anything it's to accept any and all offers of help with open arms and if they're not forthcoming to ask for them. It took a good long while of me struggling to do everything myself, often one handed, and politely refusing to come to terms with the fact that accepting or even outright asking for help would make life a whole lot easier. If people aren't

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