who has the hardest “hard”? Who cares?

You know how, once in a while, you read something and not only do you want to share it on Facebook, you want to staple it to your forehead and hand out copies to everyone you meet, thrusting it into their hands, saying, “This. THIS.” ? You know that feeling?

I’m feeling that after reading Your Hard is Hard on the blog The Extraordinary Ordinary. Heather is a nail-on-the-head writer pretty much all the time, but this. THIS. Heather talks about having once been a mother of one who complained of a sleepless night to two mothers of three, who rolled their eyes and laughed at her:

I got a message–they had it harder than I did–and in that moment I felt foolish for feeling tired or maybe even for having feelings…

I hesitate in venting because when I’m doing that it so often seems that other mothers assume I’m saying I win the Hardest Award, or that I’m wishing away my life. But I’m not. I’m just talking. I’m seeking validation and there is nothing more refreshing than another mother who simply sees me and acknowledges The Hard and nods and says, Yes, it’s so hard, isn’t it? The End.

But who hasn’t reached out to another mother seeking validation, and gotten a smack-down instead? Who hasn’t had that sanctimommy chuckling “You ain’t seen nothing yet” in her face? And how much does that suck?

Your hard is hard. Even when you’re sitting next to someone whose troubles make you feel guilty about ever complaining at all. And it’s so helpful when someone gives you permission to feel that way.

When I posted last week that I felt so stupid, crying over my son’s general anesthesia for oral surgery when other parents in that OR waiting room had children that were really ill, fellow blogger Alan at Always Jacked wrote back:

Never beat yourself up for being concerned about your kids. You were strong in front of him and crying away from him. So what WHAT it was for.

and I teared up all over again because I don’t even know this person in real life but he gave my feelings validation. He told me it was okay. Thank goodness for blogs and the people who read them.

It’s true that there are other parents with much, much harder rows to hoe than I do, and I am grateful for that daily. But my “hard” doesn’t take away from theirs. Or theirs from mine. My hard is hard, and I shouldn’t seek validation for that by making others feel like their problems are smaller than mine. As Liv at The Saturated Palette said in the comments on Heather’s post,

One child takes 100% of your time, 2 kids take 100% of your time, and three kids take 100% of your time.

All motherhood is hard. It’s great and it’s hard. Who has the hardest “hard”? Who cares? More Heather:

…when I set aside my insecurity and give myself the credit I deserve and the validation I’m seeking… it’s in there already. I don’t need to try to steal yours. This is what will make me into one of those refreshing mother-friends, one who says I see you and I hear you and this is hard and you are goodThe End.

I hope to go be one of those “refreshing mother-friends” today.

Who is that person for you?

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Auditions for Listen To Your Mother: NYC have just been announced for the end of February. Nine other cities are holding auditions next month as well.  If you write about motherhood, LTYM wants you! 

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