When exhaustion comes calling

It was Good Friday. I was just starting my second day in Montreal working on a professional project and I’d woken up with the beginnings of a cold. Nothing serious, but I knew I should be careful not to let it turn into something worse. Once my day was done, I headed back to Sherbrooke for dinner with my family. By the next day, though, I still felt off. I didn’t have much energy and a small cold had definitely settled in. That night, I opted to stay home while my husband and the kids went for dinner with his family. I even fell asleep on the couch watching a movie. Easter Sunday, I got up to make a special breakfast for the kids, and I just couldn’t do it. I went back to bed, and stayed there for three days. Zero energy, unable to string two thoughts together – it was a case of total exhaustion.

I was afraid. I’ll even admit that I was terrified. I panicked – for real.

Because the annual Je suis une maman conference was just two weeks away. Fourteen days until my annual date with so many wonderful mothers. Just 336 hours left until a huge event was to kick off, one that I organize, for the most part, on my own. And here I was, lying in bed with the will to do absolutely nothing.

I was facing a choice and I had to make a decision, one that would impact what happened next.

I could carry on by myself, without asking for help.

OR

I could gather up my courage, reveal my vulnerable side, and ask for some help.

I almost never ask for help… whether it’s not wanting to bother anyone, not wanting people to love me any less, not wanting to seem weak… for all sorts of reasons.

It is a little ironic, I realize, having built a community based on helping one another, listening to one another and respecting one other, and then finding myself unwilling to ask for a hand to lighten my load a little bit – talk about not taking your own advice!

I decided to take the plunge, not only for my physical and mental well-being but also to lead by example, for my children and my online community, and ask for help.  Cynthia, a member of my team took over the Facebook page, I took a little break from work and invited my other team member Marie-Eve and my daughter and her friends to help with the swag bags, I made getting rest a priority and I left the running of our household in my husband’s capable hands.

What did I learn?

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually pretty brave. When we can lean on those closest to us, things get done more quickly, any little storms are weathered more easily, and most importantly, we avoid running out of steam and we can take better care of ourselves.

A month later, I’m still not feeling 100%, but I learned a lot through this process. I’m proud of the fact that now I can feel more comfortable asking for help when I need to, and I’m taking better care of myself. I’m also learning how to say no – without feeling guilty.

Even if I do a bit less at home, my husband and my kids still love me.

Even if I delegate a bit more, my wonderful team is ready to take up the challenge.

Even if I say no to certain contracts, I still have plenty of projects coming in.

Even if I sneaked a seat a few times at the annual conference, the attendees still had a great time.

Even if I’ve been writing a bit less the last few days, till I’m back on my feet, you – my readers – are still here!

There I was, so afraid of being rejected for not being strong enough.

The reality couldn’t have been more different, and I’m so glad I made the right decision and asked for help when I needed it.

Talk about a sigh of relief.

A huge sigh of relief!

So let’s stop being afraid, and let’s stop trying to be supermoms and superdads.

Thank goodness for helping, listening to and respecting one another. Myself included ;)

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