Far too many times in the past, I have been part of a group discussion with mommas that seems to be a competition for who is more stressed, more tired, most underappreciated, least messy, and so on. Every time this conversation happens, I feel as though I am the worst offender – it does nothing to boost my mood.
For this reason, I try my best to stay away from those conversations. Every single one of us has our own level of stress and huge list of responsibilities. I don’t need to compare to anyone else to know that I have too much to do and way too much that I “should” be doing. We really need to focus on supporting each other rather than comparing.
That being said, every once in a while, I just want to lash out at some poor soul who really doesn’t deserve it.
Just this week, I was having wonderful chat with a young, single college student who does not have children and works part-time to get through school. This student was telling me about a conversation he had with one of his professors about feeling overwhelmed. He has asked the professor for an extension on his project deadline.
The professor said no.
At this point, he began to list the many reason he was overwhelmed. He was working on multiple year-end projects, interviewing for jobs after graduation, going through rehabilitation for a sports injury, and working part-time. And one of his year-end projects was a group project where nobody else was pulling their load.
Now, this student knew that I had absolutely no influence over this decision and could not change the end result. For this reason, I believe he just needed a sympathetic ear. And I tried… I really, really tried!
All I could hear in my head was this incredible, silent primal scream.
(This is usually the scream that I hear in my head when we have 5 minutes to get to school and my beautiful middle child needs to re-arrange her socks and tie the perfect knot in her shoelace.)
- There is no way that this student could know that I had been dealing with 3 children with influenza for 6 days at this point. (Not a bad cold – for real, diagnosed, influenza.)
- He could not know that I was behind on a number of work projects due to “the plague” running through my house.
- He wouldn’t know that I had not slept much for the past five nights due to coughing, fevers, sore throats, bloody noses, and “I need to be cuddled right now.”
- No one else could see the mountain of dishes left in my sink from all of the attempts to feed my children something they would actually eat, but end up refusing because nothing tastes good.
- I had not told anyone the panic running through my head because I am launching two new businesses and a full week of less than optimal work makes a huge financial dent.
What I wanted to do was to tell this dedicated young student to just shut up and quit whining. I wanted to yell and cry about all the stress and worry and pain I felt about my children and life. I wanted someone else to recognize the work and effort I was putting into simply existing that week.
What I hope I was able to do was offer that student the reassurance he needed. I hope that the few suggestions I gave him to prioritize the work load were helpful. I also hope the questions I answered for him about one of his projects were useful.
Mommas, I promise that when you tell me about your stressful day, or your long night, or your demanding boss, or your stubborn child, I will do my best to listen and offer support and reassurance. And if you need a primal scream, I will join you!