Just before the Fourth of July this year, my family convinced me to do something adventurous.
They urged me to ride ATVs in the mountains in Breckenridge, Colorado.
I am kind of a scaredy cat, so doing this was a little outside my comfort zone. Of course, my fears were proven correct when I fell off the 4–wheeler and broke my arm.
The rest of the vacation was a bummer, but I never expected to learn something from my accident and subsequent surgery to repair a fractured humerus.
As a teacher, mom, writer and wife, I'm a busy person. I should ask for help more, but sometimes I have trouble doing so. I’d rather let the house get messy (which it does) or ask for an extension on a work deadline rather than reach out to a friend or colleague to pick up the slack.
However, a funny thing happened after my accident — I was forced to ask for help.
There were doctor appointments I couldn’t drive to. I had an 8-year-old who needed to experience summer outside of our house. I couldn’t put my hair in a ponytail or lift more than a pound. Friends reached out and I humbly had to start saying, “Yes. I need help. Thank you.”
Not only did my accident make me realize it was OK to ask for help, but it also opened my eyes to all the amazing friends and family I have.
The family of my daughter’s classmate included her in so many summer outings and activities. My parents and my daughter’s babysitter carted me to doctor’s appointments before I could drive. My husband did everything to make the house run smoothly even though he was at work full time. My colleagues at work helped me set up my classroom when I couldn’t move my teacher desk in the correct spot or carry student materials for the week. I asked my writing clients for time and others to help me with research and editing when I was unable to keep up with my workload that I had committed to prior to my accident.
In our society, “doing it all” and being “super mom” is worn like a badge of honor. But it doesn't always have to be that way.
After my accident, I had to learn that being in control and trying to do everything in my life — even when I am well — is not necessarily brave. It took more courage for me to ask others to help out in my work, family and personal life.
All that I ask is that the kind individuals who helped me these last couple of months ask me for help whenever they need it.
Jen Schneider is a local middle school teacher and mom to two children.