So I was perusing Facebook today (like most days) and I saw a bit of a running theme within my friends' status updates that didn't sit quite right with me. I saw a few different women post about the terrible day that they had, which was obviously caused by their chaotic (though I'm sure still lovable) children. At first, this gave me a little bit of comfort, seeing as how I fought my baby for two hours this afternoon to take a nap that he actually never ended up taking, which resulted in tears on both ends. But as I read further, I saw the aforementioned theme emerge.
Naturally, I'd expect to see other women, particularly mothers, consoling their friends or relating to this experience. No biggie. But a couple of these women (who originally posted her parenting woes) felt the need to make sure that her friends knew that her problems were monumentally bigger than their consoling friend(s) could ever understand.
I'm talking about pulling out the "I have more kids than you" card.
What is it about women, particularly mothers, that make us think that if we one-up our friends that it somehow makes us smarter, prettier, wealthier, a better parent and all-around much more awesome?
On one particular status, this friend, who just had her second baby, jokingly posted about having another mental breakdown. A friend of hers (who I do not know) commented that she'd been "having more of those since becoming a mother", to which my friend replied, "Try having two. Then we'll talk. LOL" (as if the "LOL" made the comment any less rude... but that's a pet peeve for another day).
I'm not saying that this friend meant to be intentionally rude, and maybe it's just the mother-of-one in me being a little sensitive, but motherhood is hard. Period. What kind of good does it do to cut others down just because you have more kids than they do, as if they can't understand your parenting frustrations? Does it make your problems more important? Or your triumphs more successful? Does it mean that they are less of a mother because their attention is less divided?
I think it's perfectly okay to feel sorry for yourself every once in a while, because hey, things get rough sometimes. As long as you aren't dwelling in it, I see no real harm. The harm comes when you make others feel like their feelings or experiences are somehow less important simply because they haven't quite reached the stage of parenthood that you have reached.
Having even one kid is a hard adjustment. You went from being able to spend your time, energy, money and emotions the way that you wanted to (for the most part) to having a little one demand every ounce of your time, energy, money and emotions. I'm not doubting that having two kids is harder than having one. You have two little people who are now demanding it all. But at least you are already used to the parenthood gig by this point (unless you have twins first). And I'm guessing that adding any number of children to your family is a big adjustment. But sometimes, I think that parents with more than one child tend to forget that rocky transition from merely couple status to family of three.
So why the rudeness? Motherhood is hard for all of us. We all have good days and we all have bad days. One thing that we all need is a little more support.