Yes, thank you

It is now almost 2 weeks since I fractured my foot. I still have another 2 weeks to go before I will hopefully be allowed to throw away these horrid crutches and get back to "normal".

In light of my previous 2 weeks of immobility, yesterday, we had no food in the house. Nothing for us and nothing for the animals.
The day before, our neighbour offered to do some shopping for us. With another 2 weeks before I can attempt any kind of decent shop myself, do you know what I said?
"No thanks, we'll manage."

We have a nanny (our wonderful, amazing, hippie version of Mary Poppins) who usually hangs out with us Monday afternoon and all of Friday. Before I fractured my foot, she had arranged to take 2 weeks off, from us and from her other families. After I fractured my foot, she offered to spend all of her now free two weeks with us.
With 3 very energetic children who are hard enough to keep up with when all your limbs are working, let alone when 3 off them are out of action (it takes both arms to walk with crutches!), do you know what is said?
"No thanks, we'll manage."

Nelly is our foster puppy. She is going to be an assistance dog when she grows up. Right now though, she is a border collie puppy with more energy than all three kewl girls put together. Like all dogs, she becomes very destructive when she gets bored - so the key to a content, well mannered pooch is keeping her occupied. There is only so much you can do to occupy a dog with that much energy when you are a person with that much less energy... Nelly's wonderful trainer realised this and offered to find her a place in "vacation care" until I am back on both feet. Instead of thanking her kindly and wishing Nelly a happy holiday, do you know what I said?
That's right, "No thanks, we'll manage."

Now, I am not a liar. We have managed -

I let the animals loose in the veggie garden and we went to the shops and got as much food as the girls could carry (because when an attendant asked if she could help us with anything I replied, "No thanks, we'll manage.").

Mary is enjoying her two weeks off and when I explained to the kewl girls they would need to help their mum for a few weeks, they agreed to make it easier for me to keep up with them (now instead of sprinting off into the distance they just run rings around me).

Nelly is being kept busy enough by me throwing tennis balls into the scrub at the back of our house for her to fetch (even though I am getting RSI in my shoulder and have almost kneecapped all 3 kewl girls with the crutches when trying to bend down to pick up the ball).

Yes, we have managed - and will continue to manage - But I am not so ignorant that I cannot see I could be managing things better, with some help.
So I wonder, why did I just decline the neighbouring teen's offer to wash the dogs for me?! The words, "No thanks, we'll manage", had escaped my lips before I even realised what the offer was that I was declining!

Why do I find it so hard to say "Yes, thank you"?!

This morning Miss V had a massive meltdown because she could not work the zip on her jacket. I offered to help her multiple times and each time she declined. Eventually she cracked it good and proper, so we dealt with her meltdown and not until she had calmed down did I offer to help with her jacket again. I was tempted to just do the jacket up while she was screaming, but she had said NO and I wanted to respect that.
I understand that as a 2 year old, a tantrum over not being able to do something herself is nothing to worry about - she is just learning how to manage her emotions. It did get me thinking though...

I have no trouble at all empowering the kewl girls to say NO, and mean it - but what about empowering them to say YES?
Am I teaching them that it is OK to ask for and accept help?
Definitely not by my recent actions.
I might be better at managing my emotions than 2 year old Miss V, but am I really any better at managing my abilities? (Amazingly enough, now I would very much like to answer YES, even though I know the honest answer is NO!)

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, I am a kinaesthetic learner - I am unable to learn something without applying it practically. This means that all of the above ramblings will remain just that, ramblings, until I put them into action.
So - instead of spending the next two weeks swearing about how restrictive and inconvenient my fractured foot is - I am going to set myself a practical learning challenge.

I am going to manage my abilities and my disabilities more effectively.
I am going to graciously accept help when it is offered.
I am going to practice saying YES, and meaning it.
I am going to start tomorrow right now, by calling the neighbouring teen and asking him to come and wash the dogs.

And now that I have blogged about it, I am making myself accountable.
So there.

What's that? Would I like a piece of chocolate to start my 2 week YES challenge? Well.. If you're offering..


debby said...

Oh, Al. This is my nature too, but never once did I think about what that behavior was teaching my children. You are a very good mom. I'll be interested in this lesson. I'll bet that I learn something too.

Anonymous said...

Al, tell me- is it hard being so smart?
I am going to enjoy holding you accountable for something. Now can i help by taking your holiday for you?
Love from your selfless, helpful friend Sammi xoxo

M+B said...

I am interested to hear how you go on your challenge. Like you I quite often say "No thanks I'll manage", but I think the even bigger challenge is asking for help when you need it! If the YES challenge is going well, maybe you could try adding in the Asking for help option on week 2???

Alison said...

Debby - It's funny how many different ways having children can change us. I have always known this about myself, but it took a NO tantrum from Miss V to make me question what my behaviour was really teaching them. I haven't been tested yet, so I am also interested in this lesson! lol

Sammi - How lucky I am to have such selfless friends! To answer your first question - Yes, thank you! In response to your very generous offer - I said I was taking a YES challenge, not that I was giving up 3/4 of my brain cells!

M+B - You're right, asking for help is a whole new challenge! I think I'll wait and see how the YES week goes before putting myself in for that one.
And you know - you could always take up the challenge, too. Nothing like a bit of positive peer pressure!

tiff said...

Al, I so know what you mean.
I never take on offers of help, I always manage but know I would be better to accept help when things get too hard.

keep those positive affirmations up, girl!

Anonymous said...

Ah pride and independence, I have them in bulk, there is nothing I cant do for my daughter and I (and I think that empowers her belief in her own abilities) however, my strategy came unstuck when I found a lump in my breast. I was so used to 'managing' and appearing strong that I couldnt bring myself to tell anyone. Its a good thing to allow others to help you, as much for your emotional growth as their own.

And maybe sometimes asking to help others is not their norm and it takes them courage to do so. I love to hear how this 2 weeks go for you.

The hardest thing for me to learn was when someone gave me a compliment, just to say thank you, nothing more

M+B said...

No thanks, I'll manage the next 2 weeks just fine ;-)

jeanie said...

Its funny - quite often you don't hear it as an offer of help and your first instinct "I can do it myself" speaks for you rather than thinking.

I have found with this sort of thing (as well as a swathe of others) that I have had to learn to stop and think before answering automatically.

Oh - and good luck over the next two weeks!

Tinoneetiger said...

Accepting help is hard but I find asking for it hard, and its all in admitting 'I can't do this' Good luck with your challenge

Alison said...

Tiff - "Knowing" and "doing" can be two very different things, huh? It's not so much things getting too hard as just making things easier, I think. Or maybe that's just a cop out.. LOL

Abbey - I certainly value empowering our children (and all people) and inspiring confidence in one's abilities. If I'm honest, it has taken a while for me to accept that you can go too far in that direction!
It must have been pretty scary, finding a lump in your breast. Sounds like a big "help" lesson, too.
Great point about allowing other people to benefit from helping out, and again with learning how to accept a compliment.

M+B - Ha!! Another comedian!! Smarty pants :-P

Jeanie - Yep, the automatic responses aren't always helpful, are they? "I can do it myself!" is probably a big (somewhat unconscious) factor for me. And I wonder where Miss V gets it from!

Tinoneetiger - I am really struggling with the whole "I can't do this" thing. Every fibre of me is screaming - "YES I CAN!!" LOL! I guess the lesson I am trying to learn is that I don't HAVE to do it all myself and it's OK to accept help and make things easy on myself.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I would just say 'too bad' t you and pitch in and help anyway. I know what it's like to be a 'no, I am OK'er,' I am one myself.

Anonymous said...

Hey Alison
Got a love broken bones. I broke my ankle in three places last year, and what a change that created to me and the husband. Walking frames, (crutches and me dont mix), wheelchair and new home for Birdwing. AHHHH
Accepting help is not easy, but often these things come for some sort of lesson. I know I had to slow down, and eleven months later I am still wearing the physical cost of my workaholism! Take care of you
Keran at Birdwing

Megan from Imaginif said...

Ummmmm...perhaps this is why the foot was broken. A lesson that hadn't yet been learned has swooped you off your feet and carried you away to learning land.

A...just consider that if your no doesn't really mean no, how will people know when your yes really does mean yes.
Not wanting somebody's help doesn't mean you don't need somebody's help.
You don't need a hand, you need somebody with two sturdy feet!!

How's the underarms. Crutches hurt!

And as for hippie version of Mary Poppins probably wouldn't look much different to the Walk Disney version of Mary. Did you know that the author of Mary Poppins was an abused child? I'll blog about it.

All of my love to you Little Women. I wish I was there to give you a hand and a foot.


Alison said...

LOL Rhubarb - If it were someone else I would do exactly the same, pitch in and help anyway!

Hi Keran :-)
OUCH to your ankle!! I hope it continues to mend and stops giving you trouble (unless you need the occasional reminder to slow down!).
Yes, this has come to teach me a lesson. Hopefully the kewl girls will get to do some kewl learning with me (and without the broken bones!).

Alison said...

Megan - I am going to accept my invitation to learning land a LOT sooner next time!!!
Thanks for your words of wisdom. I'm also learning that not only do people not know when your yes really means yes - if you keep saying "no" pretty soon people will stop offering.
Lucky I hang around smart people. LOL
The underarms are OK and I'll at least have a great set of biceps by the end of this! Me and crutches are old friends from the circus. Although we did have a lot more fun when the base of the crutches was curved and there was no actual injury involved.

I didn't know that about Mary Poppins! I'm looking forward to a blog post about it!!
The girls said to tell you that our Mary has kewler hair (dreadlocks) and doesn't believe in sugar OR medicine.
They also send you their love :-)

PreSchool Mama said...

So sorry about your foot. I've been out of commission for a while, not as bad as a broken foot, though) so i can imagine the turmoil...
Missed the Kewl Girls! l love that new picture ...those electrifying blue eyes....

Alison said...

Hi Preschool Mama, great to see you again :)
We missed you, too!

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

It's a skill, saying "yes". I too suck at it. And have paid for it. Having had three knee reconstructions with two anklebiters, I had to depend on SSB to help. It wasn;t pretty.

The thing to remember is: am I making this whole exercise harder (and more drawn out as said ailment doesn;t heal as fast because you are DOING TOO MUCH on it) by not letting people lend me their shoulder? Trust me, it's a strength in allowing people to pitch in - plus it usually makes them feel GREAT. Double bonus.


baby~amore' said...

I don't know how you manage to do it alone even without a fractured foot -
say yes my dear and graciously let others gift you their help.
Yes I agree with BB it makes them feel good too.

Alison said...

BB - Three knee reconstructions!!! OMG!!! That must have been bloody painful!
You're right, by over doing things I am making this harder and prolonging the healing process. I am getting better at accepting help though. Kind of..

Trish - Hi! I m much better at graciously declining, than graciously accepting - But I'm starting to even it up! I have to admit.. It does make managing easier.