“At least you get to stay at home with your kid every day and don’t have to go to work like me.”
“At least you don’t have THREE boys like I do.”
“At least you have family nearby to help you. I have no one.”
“At least you can have kids.”
I’ve read a lot of articles and comments lately that... well, they suck. Something to the tune of, “my plight in motherhood is harder than yours” or "my struggle in life is worse, so you should essentially shut up." Articles like THIS talking about how women whose husbands travel for work a lot are NOT single moms and should stop acting like it’s the same thing. That they should check their “married mom privilege" and stop complaining. Yes, apparently married mom privilege is a thing. I’m not sure where this movement came from, but it collectively needs to stop.
And I also won’t say I’m not guilty of it myself. Recently, I may or may not have been watching an episode of the Kardashians. I'm not saying I'm proud of that, just giving you the facts. Anyways, two of the sisters were banging on about how hard Kim’s life was because of her recent robbery, finding out she couldn’t have any more kids, and then something about Kanye having a breakdown. All of this…said from a private jet on their way to Cabo, while nannies were on hand for the kids. I 100% rolled my eyes. I was like, “Sure bitch, your life is super hard.” That’s kind of why I wrote this blog. Because truth is, I was the bitch. My struggles in life, whatever they may be, don’t negate someone, and in this case, yes, Kim Kardashian’s pain. This isn’t some competition that we all should be entering with each other. My struggle isn't worse than Kim's. It's just different. Pain and suffering are incredibly subjective to personal experience.
As most of you know at this point, my little brother died way too young. I remember people trying to console me after his death saying "they knew how I felt because they’d lost a grandparent." I remember wanting to say, “No…that’s not the same thing. My pain is worse.” But in reality, I suppose someone else who lost both parents in a car accident could say the same to me. Or someone who lost their whole family could say the same to them. Truth is, someone else’s pain will never undo yours. Someone else’s struggle will not magically make it better for you. So why do we keep bringing it up?
Yes. There are single moms out there who have it hard. But I also have a friend whose husband is gone 3 weeks out of every month and I see her struggles. I see how many times she reaches the breaking point while he’s gone. Day in and day out, it wears her down. I see the dark circles under her eyes, the trembling in her voice knowing she's got another week to go, the look of pure exhaustion and stress that there's no one to help. Her pain is real and the truth is, hearing a story about some single mother, won’t make it better for her.
Now this part may be touchy to some, but eh… let's do this. I believe the same goes for pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. I had a horrible first pregnancy. I complained a lot. I felt like I was dying 93% of the time. I had people say to me I should just be thankful I could get pregnant b/c they knew someone who couldn’t. Or that I should be more sensitive when blogging about how much pregnancy sucks because some women out there just miscarried. And then there was my shitshow of a labor where I had a full episiotomy and vacuum extraction with zero pain meds while on Pitocin and enduring back labor. I was then reminded that I should be thankful I at least had a healthy baby and at least he wasn’t in the NICU like other parents might be dealing with. Every step of the way I’ve been reminded of how my struggle didn’t matter because someone else’s situation was worse. Even more, I was made to feel guilty for even bringing it up.
There’s always going to be situations in life that are worse or better than yours. Always. But can we just agree to just bottle it? Can we step down from the ivory towers and in that moment, when someone comes to you with their pain, can we just be there for each other instead of reminding them someone else has it worse? Because their pain is relevant and very real. And frankly, these kinds of things are exhausting to hear and pointless to say. My friend who’s on her own most days will never feel better just because she's told some poor mom is on her own always. At some point, we have to start lifting each other up and stop competing. Because honestly, what’s the point? Whatever stage of motherhood you’re in, IT IS HARD. It’s hard. Plain and simple. It's hard. It’s so awesome, but it’s so hard. Pregnancy is hard. Labor is hard. Those first few newborn months are super hard. It’s hard. It’s hard for single mothers. It’s hard for married mothers. And yes, it’s hard for married mothers who even have both grandparents who live nearby.
Please stop with the “Oh you should try having THREE kids if you think that's bad” or the “Yea well at least you get to stay at home with your kids". And for the love of God if a woman seems disappointed that she’s having a third boy instead of a girl, do not say, “At least he’s healthy.” Just be there for your friend. Gender disappointment is real and do we really need one more thing in life to feel guilty and be shamed for?
So I’m not gonna judge Kim. She may have nannies and a shitload of money, but I’m sure being a mom is hard for her too. Maybe not as hard as the single mother working two jobs, but that just doesn’t matter. We’re all in this club. Be it foster, adoptive, birth, or whatever parents. We are parents. We’re all just trying our best. We all have struggles...and they're very real. Just try and be in the moment with your mom friend, and offer a kind word. It'll cost you absolutely nothing.