June 27, 2019

Parenting Is Hard! Don't Make It Harder

“My sweet friend, sitting across my dining room table with her hands wrapped around a cup of coffee, tears up as she shares her parenting stress. She has two children, and the weight of motherhood is wearing her down today. I see it in her eyes — that dull ache of everything just being “too much” this week, of feeling like she is failing on every front. I have been there repeatedly — and sometimes feel as if I live perpetually in that state of mind. I reach out to offer empathy and watch her snap back.

“I’m sorry,” she says, “I don’t even know why I am complaining. I have only two kids, and I don’t work. You have four, and work, and twins . . . and I don’t know why I am complaining.” The empathy I felt for my friend falters for a second, and I feel shame. Have I led her to feel this way? That her struggle isn’t struggle enough for me to commiserate?

On the surface, I get it. Our four little loves are an anomaly in today’s world, where the average American family has 1.9 kids. Our oldest is 7, followed closely by twins 24 months later, and our baby, the little surprise exclamation point to our family’s love story, is not yet 1. We are a moving ball of chaos, and when people ask me, “How do you do it all?” I laugh maniacally because I am not sure what “it all” is that I am supposedly doing.”

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