My Uncanny Convos interview with Grandma Kitty back in June has been by far one of my most popular blog posts. I totally get it! I mean, Grandma Kitty is pretty freaking awesome if I don’t say so myself.
She’s lived a long, happy, fulfilling life and I think everyone wants to know her secrets.
So the other day in my Women’s Wellness & Empowerment group the question came up “why is it so hard for women to ask for help?” And it got us all thinking…I wonder if it’s ALWAYS been hard for women to ask for help? Which has led me to asking the coolest person I know.
So here’s Grandma Kitty’s answer:
Ashley: So grandma, I was with my women’s group the other day and the question came up, why is it so damn hard for women to ask for help? And it got us all wondering if for generations it’s always been hard for women to ask for help. So as a young woman raising 5 kids, was it hard for you to ask for help?
Grandma Kitty: Yes it was difficult for me to ask for help as a young woman, but help was always offered to me. My cousin came and lived with me for 2 weeks when my twins were born, but now at the age I am  it’s EASY to ask for help! Even if someone asks to take my cart back to the grocery store, I kindly say yes that would be great! I need all the help I can get!
A: That’s exactly what we were wondering!
GK: But yes, as a young woman it was hard to ask for help because you just want to feel so independent as a young woman.
A: Were you overwhelmed grandma? Raising 5 kids and all?
GK: Well, I must have been, but I didn’t realize it at the time. We just did what we had to do. It was almost like I was too busy to be overwhelmed if that makes sense?
A: It makes a lot of sense, actually. You were too busy to even recognize or identify what you were feeling was overwhelm? Like you were just going through the motions?
GK: Sounds about right.
A: Looking back on that time grandma and knowing what you know now, would you ask for help?
GK: You know honey, honestly I am not sure if I would. I had a lot of help from what the doctor prescribed me during that time, but I also wouldn’t feel ashamed about asking for help if I needed it. So I would tell young women today to not be ashamed to ask for help. Everyone needs help at one point or another!
(Side note!! We now know that what grandma was prescribed were legal amphetamines. Basically, speed. It’s kind of comical and we all laugh about it now, including her, especially about the story of her hosing down the driveway at 2 in the morning when my dad got home one night. Aw, how times have changed. P.S. this is not an invitation to self-medicate in order to ‘get it all done.’ Grandma insists, ask for help before engaging in any potentially harmful behavior!)
A: What do you think the difference is when it comes to the ease of asking for help? Do you think it’s age?
GK: Hmm, I think it must be. I am a lot smarter now than I was back then. I’ve learned a lot honey!
(I laugh hysterically as she sips her whiskey-water)
GK: I think it comes down to feeling independent and strong as a young able-bodied woman. In my day, that’s how we were raised, to be independent and strong and that must have carried through to these generations (points at dad and me).
A: If you needed help with your laundry would you ask for it?
GK: No honey, I would much rather offer my help than to ask for it. At the age I am now I like to be able to do what I am capable of doing. Like laundry. I can do my laundry. But getting the mail everyday is more of a challenge and taking the trash can out, so that’s when I ask for help from one of my kids.
(Phone rings. Grandma talks to Karl for about 30 seconds, who’s 93, about grange and how his new cane is working.)
A: Why do you think it’s easier to give help than to receive it?
GK: Well giving just always feels so dang good. Women are nurturers and I think it comes natural for us to give. But I think it’s important not to give too much of ourselves and to give to the right people, honey.
I think grandma makes a couple great points here: naturally it feels so good to give, but giving to the people and organizations that we care about and love is most important. So be picky with who you give to!
Also, it’s important for women (and men!) to feel independent and strong – I think a lot of us value those things immensely, and understandably so!
But what’s also important to know and be aware of is that fine line when the ego gets in the way telling us ‘push through! Be strong! Don’t ask for help! Don’t be a weakling!’ when we are literally dying inside.
Asking for help is not weakness, it’s actually strength, because it requires us to step out of the ego mind (the one that pushes us until we break!) and step into the softness of vulnerability. And when we take the risk to be vulnerable, we get much, much stronger.