Can you help me

Is a very hard question to ask. When my baby was tiny, if family came round and offered to take the baby for a walk, or my partner said hey why don't you go to a cafe by yourself and read a book for a bit, I almost always said, no thanks, it's fine.

It wasn't fine, not at all.

I desperately wanted/needed help. The reason I said no, I think, was: 1. not wanting to inconvenience anyone else 2. deep down didn't have enough self-worth to feel I deserved it 3. worried the baby would cry and need me and end up in therapy when she was 17/also her crying would be hard for the person looking after her, see point 1.

A mixture of people-pleasing and not yet skilled at caring for myself, what's your flavour?! We all have our demons. The weird (perhaps primal? thanks again mother nature) guilt mothers carry around for working, not going to work, leaving work on time, leaving work late, going out with friends or going on a hen do once every 37 months, not doing fancy crafts with their kids, letting kids watch tele for "too long", letting kids eat "too many" biscuits, making toast for dinner again ... I wonder if this contributes to the embedded feeling in many of us that we don't deserve things.

I had to learn my way out of this, in various ways. I watched other people, including those who were good at accepting help. For example a friend of mine - if you say "what can I do?" when she's making a meal she'll give you a task (I love a task!) and she'll even say "now can you do this while I finish off something else". I copied that. 

I started to do self-nourishing things regularly (everyone will have their own, mine include restorative yoga, early nights, time on my own - not always things I feel like doing at the time even though I know they'll benefit me overall) even though I had a lot less self-love back then - it seems like if you want to get somewhere, you need to start practicing, even if you're not sure you believe that it's effective, even if you're only trying it on to see how it feels without any guarantee. Like an experimental drug that you don't yet have faith will succeed.

Have faith. In the next few months I'm doing various trainings that require me to take time off work at particularly busy times, my partner and my parents and my sister-in-law respectively are helping out with childcare. I'll be "inconveniencing" lots of people, though guess what you're allowed to take annual leave from your job and it's fine for my daughter's family to give time to be with her - they generally love it. Not as many people lose as we think they will. 

I'll barely see my daughter for some days: I'll feel guilty and I'll miss her, but this time (unlike my first yoga teacher training when she was 8 months old - agony) I know I need to do this and that everyone will be fine. I know everything I'm giving the rest of the time, a bit of taking is ok. This time, it was easier to ask everyone to step up and help me. Everyone pulling together, village style. I'm extremely grateful for their help, but I know I'd do it for them.

You do a lot for others. Now can you do it for you, too?