Monday, April 25, 2016

Asking for Help...

Last Thursday I had a meeting.  A building leadership meeting that I so, so, did not want to go to.  I have been avoiding everyone in my building lately.  I'm stressed out, overwhelmed with my job, and know I'm a miserable mess... Not something that I wanted to bring to my team in this meeting. But there I was, sitting in the leadership meeting.  So I chose to be quiet.  I knew if I opened my mouth, negativity was going to fly out.  I did it, I got through the meeting without contributing a ton, but stayed after to have a short chat with my principal. 

With a heavy heart that I was carrying it didn't take more than three words before I was in tears with a laundry list of reasons why I was feeling this way.  It's not me, well, not the 'me' that I like to show the world.  Mrs. Adamson-Baer (my principal) listened, took notes and asked me what I could do to take care of myself.  I tossed out an answer of doing more yoga calm, or mindful breathing... all of which I know could help me but the thought of putting time aside for that overwhelmed me even more.  Her words, what can you do for you... kept ringing through my ears. 

I talked to my husband about the miserable day I had, how the kids are really starting to loose it.  Behaviors down, I don't want to be at work... so on and so on.  He listened, hugged me, and repeated Mrs. Adamson-Baer's words, what can you do for yourself to help you out of this funk. 

Early Friday morning I let myself be more vulnerable than I ever have. I got up at 5 am and wrote an email to my whole staff.  I explained that I was feeling overwhelmed and could use some help.  I listed a few items that were on my to-do list that I could use spare volunteers for.  Within the hour, I had half of our staff write me back offering to donate their prep, suggestions of volunteers, and real solutions for my tasks. 

Our amazing office staff put out an all call to parent volunteers.  The result was quality help scheduled this week.  

Teachers with more fluid schedules donated 10 minutes here and there to come in and help out kids, so I could direct the volunteers walking into my door.

I was honest with my students asked and them for help too... I had student helpers taking their role seriously and helping one another with kindness and success.

Our amazing health clerk and parent liaison helped dismantle our 'March Madness' display to allow for parent volunteers to come in this week and display new art.  I also had some 'regular volunteers' continue with the mass amount of firings that are required after clay week.  That has been such a help.

And then there was this... Mrs. Adamson-Baer emailed me with a time she could come in to help.  She was willing to do anything so I had her load the kiln (keep in mind, I'm allergic to clay so I can't help with the greenware). She came in a filled learned how to load the kiln, and did the very labor intense task of moving clay for me. POWERFUL!! The whole day was amazing.  I have always felt supported but I have never had so many people hold out their hand and offer to help in the way they did on Friday.  But when have I ever asked for it?  When have I let myself be vulnerable, share that the job I have is too big.  When have I showed my co-workers that sometimes I can't do it all on my own.

In this beautiful experience, my life was changed.  I learned to reach out to the ones that care, the people around me.  I learned to show that I'm not perfect, I need help and sometimes this job gets too big.  I was teared up on Thursday because I was overwhelmed and teared up on Friday because I felt so supported and accepted. Ask for help if you need it... take care of you... create the work atmosphere that you need.


  1. I'm so glad to see that you have so many wonderful colleagues. I'm a music teacher and I often feel isolated at my school. Many people see how "fun" our jobs can be, but don't often understand how labor intensive it is. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself.

  2. This was a great read! I think we all feel like this from time to time and we just keep going. You definitely have a work family that has your back!

  3. Even the shining stars, and you my friend are absolutely one of the brightest stars, have those moments when you feel things coming down around you. It can be so overwhelming when you try to do it all yourself. I am so glad that you opened up to your team, your school family, that you were struggling and needed help. It takes a lot to open up about that. I am so glad your team can lift you up when you are down. Shine brite and never be afraid to, as Samwise from Lord of the Rings said, "share the load".

    1. What kinds words Con. Thank you so much. It took a lot but I'm so, so glad I asked!

  4. This was a wonderful post. I am so very happy for you that you are surrounded with people who are there for you. What a wonderful feeling to realize that all you had to do was ask and you received all the help you needed.

  5. We've all been there, and when we are used to being thought of as superstars, it's hard to learn that it's ok to ask for help. But we are just people, and sometimes doing a good job means learning to say no, letting people help, and taking the time to take care of yourself, go to that yoga class, or go to book club with some girlfriends, or do a painting, or anything that is something to restore you.

    Great post, and don't forget that it's ok to be human! Taking care of your own needs makes you better for taking care of your family and your job. Even on an airplane, they remind you in an emergency to put on your own oxygen before you tend to your children. Hugs!

  6. PHYL, "Even on an airplane, they remind you in an emergency to put on your own oxygen before you tend to your children. " Powerful words! Thanks friend.