I read an article the other day written by a stay-at-home-mom.
She let a little complaint slip out about how her kid peed on the couch and her house was a mess and she was tired.
I was shocked by the responses.
So many critical voices in reply saying things like “Another SAHM article…can we just stop?” or “You think that’s hard, try working all day then coming home to take care of kids” or “Be grateful. I’d love to be home with my kids.”
And I’m wondering why we do that??
Why do we do that to each other???
Why do we feel the need to take someone else’s story and prop it up against our own and compare??
Why do we diminish the very real feelings and struggles of another mother because her story can’t possibly be as hard as our own??
Does this make our OWN situation easier??
Does this somehow make us superior??
If we have the hardest story? If we struggle the most?? Does that somehow make us BETTER???
I mean, isn’t hard…HARD?
I’ve been a working mom who averaged 80 hours per week with two kids under three at home while my husband was in and out of drug rehab.
I’ve been a part-time working mom who averaged 30 hours per week with three kids under five at home while taking evening and weekend call and doing all my own hospital work.
And currently I’m working only two shifts per month while raising five kids ranging from toddler to teen.
I still don’t really know what the correct balance is!!!
I can tell you working long hours was hard. I was exhausted all the time and constantly felt guilty because I was missing stuff at home.
I can also tell you working only very, very part time can be hard. I’m well rested and available for kid stuff at home but somehow I still feel guilty because I’m not working.
Either way that guilt and constant second-guessing myself is RIGHT THERE.
I’m constantly wondering if I should be doing MORE.
I’m constantly wondering when to go back to work regularly.
I’m constantly wondering how many days per week I can work while somehow balancing the activities of five kids.
I’m constantly wondering if I’m doing this right?
I just DON’T KNOW.
I don’t know what the ‘right’ balance is.
The truth is I can’t even say what works best for MYSELF let alone anyone else!!!
This is what I know…
We are all living a different story.
We all have a different history.
Each of us has various strengths and weaknesses and situational challenges.
And we are all doing the very best we can with what we have and the only way we know how.
Every last one of us longs to be SEEN.
We want to know we MATTER.
Whether working mom or single mom or SAHM or helicopter mom or foster mom or fur-baby mom.
We long to feel validated.
Humans, in general, long to feel validated.
And you know what isn’t very validating???
Taking another person’s story, throwing it in the mud, and trampling all over it.
Can we stop doing that to one another??
Can we decide instead to look each other in the eyes…and SEE?
Can we stop criticizing for a moment to listen…and HEAR?
Can we empathize and avoid the temptation to compare?
Can we decide instead to grab hands and live this messy life the only way it’s supposed to be lived???
Come on, Moms.
It’s all hard. Let’s do this hard, messy life together.