FRANCE: I need “help” and that’s Ok

FRANCE: I need “help” and that’s Ok

mirjam_texgramAs far back as I can remember I always had a clear idea of what a strong woman is and how she should behave. A strong woman would do whatever she could to have all situations under control, would not need help and would not ask for it either, would manage on her own and would succeed alone.

This was before. Before what?

Before I had no other choice than say “I need help”. I need help to go through the day. I need help to wake up, stand up and live. I need help to overcome my fears, doubts. I need help to love my child. I need help to face past memories. I need help to rebuild my life. I need help to forgive. I need help to love myself.

And my idea of what a strong woman is changed.

We often think that asking for help is a proof of our inability to face life and its challenges.

If you ask mums, friends, people around you, I bet that the answer you’ll hear most of the time will be something like this “I don’t want to ask for help. I’m fine. I’ll deal with it like a big girl”.

Why can’t “being a big girl” and “asking for help” go together? Why do we, women, mums, think that if we ask for help, people will consider us failures?

I took the step of asking for help, feeling lost and guilty at first. But what I received out of it was worth the try. People who were there, at any time of the day (and night) reassured me – this was the first step towards a better life for me and my child. There was no judgement on their side, only kindness and the assurance that I had made the right choice by reaching out to them.

As women and mums, we have a lot to deal with. Our kids count on us. People count on us, from our partner to our boss, our parents to our friends. And we do make it an important part of the deal that we are the ones in charge. But when something gets in the way, would we rather keep going until we fall or ask somebody to take our turn for a while?

Nowadays, I believe that a strong woman is a woman who knows her limits, who can acknowledge her weaknesses and still feel proud of who she is and who could ask for help knowing that this is the best for her and her family at any given time. A strong woman knows when she can’t take it anymore and feel like her duty to take care of herself, in order to take good care of the ones she loves afterwards.

Your turn, world moms, how do you feel about asking for help? Are you good at it? Or are you finding it hard to do?

This is an original post for World Moms Network written by Marie in France.

Marie Kléber

Marie is from France and is living near Paris, after spending 6 years in Irlande. She is a single mum of one, sharing her time between work, family life and writing, her passion. She already wrote 6 books in her native langage. She loves reading, photography, meeting friends and sharing life experiences. She blogs about domestic abuse, parenting and poetry @

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CANADA: In Good Times And Bad

CANADA: In Good Times And Bad

DSC_0214A little over four years ago, I stood up in a church, surrounded by the warm glow of friends and family, and promised to love one man for the rest of my life. In sickness and health, for richer or poorer, in good times and bad. My husband and I knew, when we got married, that we would last the distance. We had been together for a long time, borne two children together, and endured a lot of hardship. We had survived the deaths of both of our fathers, my postpartum depression which lasted for almost two years, and my son’s autism diagnosis. I had lost a job, and we had been on the brink of financial crisis. A lot of things had happened. Big, stressful, life-changing things.

Fourteen years into our relationship and four years into our marriage, we have recently been wading through something that many people would see as a disaster: the loss of the industrial unit that my husband worked out of for fifteen years, as well as the charity youth recording studio that it housed. We had a little less than a month to move fifteen years’ worth of product, materials, tools and equipment out of the unit, with no place to move it to. We had to turn our home upside down, empty our garage and beg for favours from friends who might have a bit of storage space to spare.

We had to strip the studio bare – the studio that we put thousands of dollars and tons of love and care into – and we had to see it empty of everything but memories.

Through the heat of July, we moved load upon load of stuff. There has been heavy lifting and carrying, rearranging, decluttering and a great deal of stress and anxiety. While all of this has been going on, I have been keeping my fledgling freelance business alive – helping my husband during the day, working through the night and grabbing catnaps on the couch from time to time. For a month, I abandoned my running, ignored my friends and forgot about things I’d said I would do. My two boys spent countless hours working with us, packing boxes, carrying things into the house, helping us find space where we thought there was none.

It has been physically gruelling, mind-blowingly stressful and absolutely fantastic. It is fantastic because we have an opportunity to rebuild our charity youth studio into something bigger and better than it was before. It is fantastic because my husband gets to recreate his business, drawing from its strengths and learning from the challenges it has faced in the past. It is fantastic because we have had offers of help from friends when we’ve most needed it: someone lent us a pickup truck when our van broke down, someone else has taken on the task of putting together a crowdfunding campaign for the youth studio, and many people showed up to do heavy lifting with us.

Most of all, it is fantastic because we – my husband, my sons and myself – have experienced what it truly means to be a family. Where others might have turned against one another, we have come together as one strong, cohesive unit.

It has been an absolute joy for us all to be there for each other, working together and learning from each other’s strengths. Yes, there has been some snapping and irritation, because we are, after all, human. But there has also been a lot of laughter and fun, and most of all, respect.

To say that my kids have been amazing through all of this doesn’t do it justice. My younger son has demonstrated maturity and empathy well beyond his years, as he has tirelessly helped and constantly shown concern for the wellbeing of those around him. My older son – my autism boy for whom change is so challenging – has been immensely brave through the routine changes and the drastic alterations to the space he lives in. I am so proud of them both that I could cry.

We have emerged from the worst of the craziness. The taking apart and moving out is done, and now we can start the exciting process of rebuilding. I can resume a more humane schedule, my exhausted husband can take a break and catch his breath, and my kids can play. And we can all look at each other and smile, overflowing with happiness, because we have each other. My husband and I know that we will always be there for each other, in good times and bad. And that makes us rich in a way that money never could.

Have you and your family had to deal with adversity? How did you and your kids cope with it?

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Kirsten Doyle of Running for Autism. Photo credit to the author.


Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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