April 14, 2021

Asking For Big Help (And The Best Ways To Give It)

Why is it so hard to ask for big help, especially when we’re usually grateful to be able to assist a friend in need? How can we become “askable friends” and better helpers? How can we prepare for the big help times in our own lives before they arrive?


We’ve all been in moments when we have to make a Big Ask. As in: it’s 2 a.m. The baby is throwing up and spiking a high fever. Your partner is out of town. Your other kid is asleep upstairs. Who are you going to call in the middle of the night? Making that ask is never easy.

But why? Why is it so hard to ask for big help, especially when we’re usually grateful to be able to assist a friend in need? Anyone who’s been a parent long enough has been on both the giving and receiving side of that Big Help ask. And when we’re on the receiving end of that kind of request, from a friend we know is struggling, we’re usually really happy– even grateful– to be able to help. 

So how can we become “askable friends” and better helpers?

And how can we prepare for the big help times in our own lives before they arrive? 

In this episode, we discuss

  • the reasons why asking for help can be so hard, especially for mothers
  • when asking for big help is “justified” (and making asking for small help okay)
  • acute needs vs. chronic needs
  • how to really help a struggling friend, rather than saying “let me know if you need anything”
  • some useful ways to help a friend grieving a loss
  • and how we can make that short list of friends, and offer to BE on that short list of friends, before the time comes.


In the end, asking for big help is about showing up for ourselves. Here’s how our listener Jennifer put it: 

“I can ask for help, even if I can technically handle it, but I just want, or need a break. I don't need to drive myself to the edge of the cliff before I ask.”


Here are links to some of the writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode: 

Mayday: Asking For Help In Times Of Need, by Nora Bouchard

lotsahelpinghands.com (@lotsahelpinghands on Twitter)

Enjoli fragrance commercial


Special thanks to this month's sponsors:  

Jane.com is a boutique marketplace featuring the latest in women’s fashion, accessories, home decor, children’s clothing, and more. You will not believe the prices! Visit jane.com/laughing.

Pharmaca is a source you can trust for herbal and homeopathic formulas, high-quality vitamins, and organic cruelty-free beauty. Go to Pharmaca.com/laughing right now to save 20% off your first order!

Workplace Comedy Podcast is a hilarious new improv podcast set in a fictional water bottling company, hosted by Emmy Laybourne and Tracy Vilar and a lineup of amazing comedy guests. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts!

Betterhelp allows you to connect with a counselor over text, phone, or video — and everything you say is confidential. Start living a happier life today! Get 10% off your first month by visiting betterhelp.com/fresh.

KiwiCo projects make science, technology, engineering, art, and math super fun! Get 50% off your first month plus FREE shipping on any crate line at kiwico.com with code MOTHERHOOD.

StoryWorth  gives your loved ones the gift of spending time together, wherever you live! Go to storyworth.com/whatfreshhell to get $10 off.  

Bright Cellars is the wine subscription box that pairs you with wine you'll love, delivered to your door. Get 50% off your first 6 bottle order by heading to brightcellars.com/fresh.

Membrasin is the totally natural, estrogen-free, clinically proven feminine dryness formula. It works! Go to membrasinlife.com and use the code FRESH to get 10% off.

Prose is the healthy hair regimen with your name all over it!  Get 15% off your first order today! Go to prose.com/laughing

Barre3’s workouts combine cardio, strength conditioning, and mindfulness in one workout. Go to barre3.com/FRESH and enter promo code FRESH to unlock 75% off monthly and annual subscriptions.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices