When I was younger, I went to overnight camp for 12 summers. It was my favorite place in the world; there was no place I’d rather be. I then discovered Israel, and realized there were other places where I needed to spend my time, but I still take many friendships and carry lessons I learned at camp with me everyday.
As part of a teen leadership program that I participated in at camp, we did an exercise called “the help triangle”. Spoiler alert for those who have not done this activity yet** Basically, everyone is led blindfolded in between three trees that are roped off into the shape of a triangle. Participants are given a spot on the rope and told they have to “figure a way out”. You hold onto the rope and walk along helplessly. Most people try and look for a physical way “out”, but the catch is that you are only allowed “out” once you ask for help. Many of us were left in the triangle for almost an hour, as we were feeling around, high and low, trying to find the magical escape route, when really, all we had to do was get over our egos and ask someone to help us. This activity really made a strong impact on me, and I think of it often, even in my role as a parent.
Oftentimes, we find ourselves struggling because we are too “proud” to ask for help. We don’t want to admit that we can’t do it on our own. Well, they say it takes a village to raise a child, and I think it might take an entire city to raise two kids under two. I’m very blessed that people offer their help more often than I even need to ask for it, but I’ve learned that if you don’t ask, you can’t expect to receive, and if you don’t have help, you’re on your own.
Being alone can be very isolating, and I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone, especially a woman 10 weeks postpartum, to feel isolated and alone. Therefore, I have put my “I can do it” mentality aside, and I ask for help. Whether it is from my husband, inviting ourselves out for Shabbat meals, or asking my 14 month old daughter to play nicely by herself so mommy can go to the bathroom, help is help, and it always makes the load a little bit lighter.
I encourage everyone, especially young mommies, to ask for help. Get a cleaning lady, a babysitter or just simply call on a friend to listen to you vent over the phone. H-shem didn’t want Adam to be alone in the world so He gave him Chava (Eve). There aren’t 7 billion people on this planet so that we can each live our own, individual lives. We are meant to be together and work as a community. And I am thankful for my village (or city) each and every day.