The Importance of Helping When You Know You Can

Ponder this: If you knew in your heart that something needed to be done to help someone, and you had the tools to do it, but you knew it would take up your time and require some effort on your part-would you do it?

Now ponder this: if you knew something needed to be done to help several people, and you had the tools to do it, but knew it would take up your time and require effort-would you do it?

I was in this scenario and it kept coming back to me. When the universe knocks again and again you can’t help but pay attention.

We’re all trying to manage our day to day lives and each day presents it’s own set of challenges. Back in November, I took a part time job that allowed me more time with my family, flexibility, and more sleep. Being part-time also means that I have to schedule my day right. You see I’ve set my hours so that I have one hour in between to do something for myself before I pick up my sons. I’m failing miserably at truly using that hour for myself and it’s frustrating. It has to be my job to figure out the why. I have the tools to fix this for myself and only I alone can fix this issue. Did you catch that? I HAVE THE TOOLS TO FIX THIS. It’s something in my psyche that blocks me from doing things for myself. It requires some effort and of course time on my part to understand the why and how of it and to kick the negative voice out of my head.

When you’ve got the tools to fix something that needs fixing- naturally – it’s a no brainer. But I’m here to tell you-it ain’t that easy. Sometimes we need signs to repetitiously tell us just how we’re needed; it’s the universe blatantly pushing us to hurry up and do something. When it relates to ourselves it’s not as clear sometimes how to fix the problem because we can’t be objective. When it relates to others,  it’s so much easier to see and devise a plan for resolve.

Here is an example of exactly this below.

I have had hundreds (maybe even a thousand honestly) of moms let me know that the main reason they are looking to join the working moms group I facilitate on Facebook is for connection and friendship. You see each time someone requests to join my group I ask what they are hoping to gain from joining.  More and more in the last year the answers read in almost the exact same fashion.

“I’m looking to connect with other moms, I am new to the area and don’t have many friends.”

“I’m looking for moms with children the same age as mine for play dates and also friendship.”

“I’m looking for friendship, it’s isolating having a baby sometimes.”

“I need to get out with other moms for sanity and I’m curious how they all juggle this.”

Do you see a common denominator? There is an epidemic of isolation and loneliness taking place and it showed up on my doorstep with the universe begging the question,

“So what are you gonna do about it Amber?”

I knew that me simply adding these women to the group would not give them what they were seeking. This knowledge was based on two things I had already tried in the past that ended up flopping : summer playgroups and monthly mom’s nights out.

For the summer playgroups Facebook messenger was the platform I had tried using by creating groups by town and ages of children. I had to draw diagrams that dissected towns by gender and ages of the kids before setting up each group in a chat which took hours and hours of my time.

On the other hand, the mom’s nights began very successfully and on average 8 to 12 moms would show. Gradually, that number waned and the last year of mom’s dinners has resulted in 2, maybe 3, women showing up. Clearly there had been a shift in the way to go about getting people together. These women needed something more tangible, more intimate, and a way to chat via text to arrange get togethers and playdates. I had to help these moms and I had to figure out the right way to do it so it was not too cumbersome. Of course it would take up quite a bit of my time and effort. But I had the tools- a computer, access to each mom, and a conscience. I knew that simply adding them to the group would not provide them instant access to friendship and connection. Knowing this and doing nothing about it felt irresponsible. Ignoring their call for help felt morally wrong.

During a time of brainstorming in terms of  what would be the right platform, I had a work meeting on a Sunday afternoon in which I was going to introduce myself to an au pair and her host family as their new counselor. After the meeting was over, I was on my way out the door and I asked the au pair what she had ended up doing over the weekend. She mentioned she had connected with some other au pairs on the WhatsApp app and they had all arranged to hang out. My mind held onto that sentence- almost as if it was in bold type. I had this app she mentioned, but had only used it once or twice to text with a friend who got spotty cell service at work. I felt it was too coincidental for the au pair to have mentioned that app in her conversation with me as I was walking out the door.

As soon as I got home, I looked up all of the apps offerings. Unbelievably, I discovered quickly that this was the PERFECT platform for my mom connection idea. Fast forward and I’ve launched mini connection groups for several towns. Each group needs/has a leader to help take charge and organize the get togethers. Out of the groups created, a few are stagnant while the others are really taking off. They’ve had many playdates and even a mom’s night with decent attendance. This was also all within the first few weeks of being up and running.

To see this makes my heart incredibly happy. My time spent was worth it because these moms are developing friendships, getting out of their houses with and without their babies, and some sunshine is back in their lives again.

I’m thinking fathers could really benefit from this type of outlet as well. Something I’m toying with and a story for another time.

Is there someone in your life you know you could be helping but you haven’t yet because your plate is too full? When it’s so blatant that you have the tools to do something whether it be for yourself or others -do you ignore it? There is always more we can be doing for ourselves, but listen when I tell you how fulfilling it is to help others.

Picture the beautiful enveloping warm sun on your face. This is comparable to how you feel on the inside when you set aside what you have going on and spend the time using your tools to help someone else.

Next up, I’ll be trying to use my tools to carve out me time and not schedule over it every.single.day. I’ll be writing about why I do this to myself (yes, I’ve recently discovered why) and how I’m going to try and tackle it next.

What tools do you possess that you’re not using to help yourself or others? Are you paying attention to the signs the universe is giving you on just how to use them? Think about it friends…

 

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