A few weeks ago I was having this really amazing conversation with a dear friend of mine and she brought up how everyone has “hard days”. Sometimes when I’m venting about a hard day, in comparison to others- it’s rather small and insignificant. But each day the level changes. Moms, I know you feel me right? One day we can ignore our child’s whines and cries for hours on end and still manage to put them to bed with grace and patience and on a totally separate day we can be screaming at them and losing our temper before breakfast is even done.
For the sake of this blog we will refer to those days- the ones where you’re wanting a big glass of wine and bedtime to last for 36 hours- Levels of 10- you’ve reached your max. If you have to hear one more whine or clean up pee hidden in a corner again in the next hour, you’re likely to combust and burst. That’s a 10. The days where the deep breathing doesn’t work, that’s a 10. Everyone agree? Everyone have those before? Okay good- moving on.
The problem with levels of 10 is when we get into the comparison game with other moms. It’s when one party thinks that people’s “levels of 10” are eye roll worthy. When the other person can’t honestly think that they have it hard. I’ll give you some examples. When a parent of one child is complaining about how they never have a moment alone to a parent of three children all under the age of 5. Conversations typically go like this:
Mom of 1: “I’m so exhausted, I just want a minute of freaking peace for 5 minutes. Just 5 minutes. I’m tired of the crying. I’m tired of the whining. I’m tired of losing my temper”
Mom of 3: “Try having 3 kids….I haven’t had a break since 2012. You only have 1 kid, how hard could your day actually be?”
We’ve all had those, I know we have. It’s that comparison game- where we make the person who is experiencing a level 10 day feel like total shit. I’ve certainly been guilty of making that person feel less than before. I’m human, I make mistakes just like everyone else. And after the fact, I’ve felt awful about it and owned up to it. But on the flip side- I have frequently been the person being made to feel small and as if my complaints are nothing compared to someone else’s life. It isn’t a nice feeling being made to feel less than.
What we should do as mothers is instead of jumping into the whole “who’s life is worse” battle- we should respond with remarks of how to help that mom get her level of 10 back down to below 5. I’ll use some examples for you:
- Offer to watch her kids for an hour so she can get some peace in quiet
- Call her on the phone and talk her down from the ledge
- Remind her that this day will be over by tomorrow and everything will look different after a nights rest
- Tell her everyone has those days
- Come over with wine or chocolate or whatever
- Schedule a playdate
- Schedule a girl’s night
Because the thing is with Levels of 10- is that everyone breaks. And everyone’s life is important. Everyone’s life deserves validation. Their feelings deserve validation. They deserve to be heard, listened to and empathized. Because when we start to lose those things- that’s where humanity starts to fall apart. So don’t make someone else’s level of 10 feel insignificant or unimportant.
Do you agree?
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