Sunday, March 20, 2016

Help, You Need Somebody

I'm not good at asking for help. I spent my childhood needing help because of asthma and extreme shyness, so I think I went too far in the opposite direction as an adult. I like to show that I can do things, I can take care of myself, I can be successful on my own.

But it's not always possible, is it.

Sometimes you have to ask for help. I'm not good at that. My book, for example. So many friends and family wanted me to put out a book of my comic strips, I finally decided to self-publish a collection. I worked really hard at that book. I edited and re-edited. I retouched some of my earlier strips. I even had to rescan the very first strips I made, because I used a low resolution when I was learning how to post them online. And when I finally got it all together and put the book out, I was embarrassed to promote myself, but I was also embarrassed to ask others to promote it. The result of all this was that the comic didn't do as well as it might have, and I burnt myself out to the point where I doubt I will do the complete collection. Most of the strips are still available here, but I'm pretty sure I missed that sweet spot for publishing.

This isn't meant to sound like a pity party. I'm glad I had the experience of publishing and I'm grateful to those of you who bought and enjoyed my book. The main lesson I got from it is that I need to respect my limitations, and I need to ask for help when I can't do it all.

I find that a lot of parents in the homeschooling community are like me. Maybe it's why we homeschool. We want to do it all, and we don't want any help from the outside. But help is necessary when it is the difference between having a rewarding homeschooling career with your children or languishing and burning out and taking your children down with you. Support groups in your community or online help get you through the rough patches by connecting with others who know how you feel. Extended family and tutors can help with subjects you don't feel able to teach your children. Libraries were my way of finding curriculum without paying for materials (just return them on time). If you are tired, find a friend or family member to watch your kids for an hour or two and use that time for yourself, not errands. Asking for help is not weakness. It shows you are committed enough to educating your own that you are willing to look beyond yourself for answers to make homeschooling work for your family.


Kez said...

I'm the same and I'm learning to finally ask for help. I'm more than happy to help someone else when they ask a favour (eg dropping their child home from something), but I still think I'm putting people out by doing the same. In my case I think it's been passed down through the generations - my parents were the same, and I'm pretty sure my grandparents were as well. And it's still only something I do when I have no alternative!

jugglingpaynes said...

Kez, I think that self-sufficiency gene is common in home educators. And you are right. We can be asking for the same exact help we give others, but we think we are putting people out. If we don't feel put out, we shouldn't second guess others.

Inner Elder said...

A very wise blog. Realizing you need help is very mature and deeply spiritual. I love you! Mom

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