Ask Jenny – “Help! I am So Overwhelmed.”

As promised, it is “Relationship Building Tool Monday”  – and instead of me coming up with ideas to share with you, I thought it would be more fun and productive to get questions from my readers, and do my best to answer them here.

So here is our first question to kick this new series off:

Dear Janette,
I am so overwhelmed.  I have 2 small kids, and a husband who’s always working, so I have to do everything around the house.  And if I don’t keep the house perfectly clean, he complains.  I wish he’d help, but he says, “I’m at work all day.  I don’t ask you to come help me on my job.  Taking care of the house is your job.”

I didn’t come from a very organized family, so I’m not really good at keeping everything perfect.  I wish he would help, but he won’t.

I live 1000 miles away from my family, so there’s nobody around to watch the kids when I need a break.  I have friends, but I don’t want to be a burden to them, either.  I tend to be the one who helps other people, but I have no one to help me.

I feel tired, burnt out.  But everybody needs me, and I can’t let them down.  How do I keep everybody happy without killing myself doing it?

~ Lea

Dear Lea,

I want to acknowledge your courage in reaching out and sharing what you are dealing with.  It is A LOT.  Many of us moms feel that is OUR responsibility to take care of the home AND at the same time do it perfectly: keep the house clean and in perfect order, take care of all the children’s physical AND emotional needs; and have all meals prepared and laundry done and folded.

It seems impossible….and it is.

No one person can do all of these things AND do them well.  Something has to give.

Here are some questions I have for you that may help you move forward in figuring out the best way for you to deal with what is going on.

One word that kept coming up in your description is the word ‘help.’ I get this feeling like you are trapped – and you, like all people, require help right now – but you seem to feel stuck on how to get it.

  • What is the one thing you could use the most help with right now?
  • How will you go about getting the help that you require?

You mentioned that asking for help from others makes you feel like a “burden to them.”

  • How are you benefiting from this kind of ‘self-talk’?

Lea  – you ARE good enough and you ARE doing the best that you can.  ALL of us require help.  Nobody can do everything perfectly all of the time.  It is OK to ask for help.  No one will think any less of you.  In fact, it takes much more courage and strength to ask for help, than it does to keep everything inside, and let it fester inside of you until you explode – at your kids, your spouse, or yourself.

Be kind and gentle with yourself.  Have the courage to be imperfect.  Ask for the support that you require.

Make a list of the things that come easily to you, that you enjoy doing, and the things you do not like to do, or that seem the hardest for you to take care of right now.

Sit down with your husband.  Have a conversation with him without any interruption – no t.v., computer, cellphone, or kids – just you and him together, without any distractions.

Taking the time to be fully present with one another in this way for only a few minutes can lead to very powerful connecting.

In this conversation with your husband, express to him how you are really feeling, get in touch with what is real for you, and let him know what you require right now.  Acknowledge how hard he works and express your appreciation for all the work that he does for the family (from his perspective – he works hard for the family too.)  Tell him what is hard for you and ask him to brainstorm with you to find a solution that can work for everyone.

A conversation like this may be very new to you and your husband.  If this is the case, take baby steps by practicing saying what is real for you and using ‘I messages’ as much as possible when speaking with him.  Speaking from this perspective lessens the chances of your spouse becoming defensive and increases the chances of him being more willing to hear your side of the story.


Have a question? Feeling stuck in your life, or with your family or personal relationships?

Send me an e-mail with your question to:

No questions will ever be published without the explicit permission of the sender.


Be sure to check back here next Monday to read up on the latest question by our readers.

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Career & Relationship Coach | Leadership Trainer | Founder of UnleashingU!

Hi, I'm Jenny Sassoon, founder of UnleashingU! I guide professionals, students, entrepreneurs, and executives to move forward and thrive in their career, business, leadership and life in a way that is right and authentic for them. To schedule your complimentary consultation to learn more about how I can help you, click on the 'contact' tab above.

2 Responses

  1. Jenny

    Kate – First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to show your support to our readers.

    Secondly, I agree with you, taking care of the house and children is a double full-time job! I have too felt in my own life the feeling of ‘I have to get out of here before I go crazy.’ And the feeling of entrapment when I know that I cannot get away. It is very stressful and overwhelming.

    What I found to be the most helpful, is learning how to express my real wants and needs in an effective way, and working with someone to find solutions to help me get a break when I require it.

  2. Kate

    Here is my opinion:

    Taking care of the house + taking care of the children = TWO jobs. And unlike your husband’s job, which he gets to come home from and (hopefully) unplug/decompress from, being mom is never something that you can “leave at the office.” You never leave your office! It is not a fair comparison and it makes me crazy when people try to equate going out to work with the ACTUAL DIFFICULT WORK of raising/sustaining human beings.

    The house also you can’t get away from, because there is always something (laundry, dishes, etc) to do because they accumulate on a daily basis.

    Please don’t sacrifice your own happiness (read: sanity) for the sake of a perfect house! Something has to be done: money for a housekeeper; a babysitting co-op; dedicated chore time for your husband (or both of you together). Certainly don’t be afraid to ask for help organizing…there are professionals who can help with that.

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