Poor Me, The Pity Party Playdate


I've noticed recently posts or articles where moms open up about being overwhelmed seem to be the ones with the most comments and shares on social media. 

That's likely because they're not only relatable but also reassuring. I enjoy reading them. It's oddly humbling to hear other moms feeling like they might have their own meltdown or hit their breaking point. 

However, on one end I do find some parents can often pity themselves too often. I am guilty as charged. 

I've been thinking about this ever since a friend said when he was over visiting awhile ago:

Everyone is busy. Everyone has it tough. It seems like everyone is competing for the, ‘I’m the busiest and have it the hardest title.’

The same can be said when you look at just parenting on its own. We’re all running off our feet, whether we have one, two or 10 children (OK no one has 10 kids anymore).

Pity parties often happen during playdates, probably because it's the one and only chance you get to vent with other parents who understand, sympathize and might actually be considerate. 

Sorry, but grandparents don't often quite get it as they're well past the tantrum days. Their grandkids can do no wrong. And friends without children, they can be great listeners but they're just not there yet. 

Sometimes I feel like rants can take over and even sometimes ruin what could have been a fun visit.  

I will realize often when I get in the car after to leave, 'Geez, I must have sounded like a Debbie Downer.'

When you're ready to dive into a major vent about how hard your life is, think about this first:

There is a very good chance that person you’re chatting with has had it just as hard or harder than you recently.

They may be going through something you don’t even know about. Your rant may remind them or just simply upset them.

I've been there. I've listened to someone talk about how busy their life was meanwhile I was almost at my breaking point with my own children. I was one more tantrum away from taking a trip to the fourth floor.

But again I won't act for a second like I don’t host my own pity parties. I'm a pretty stellar hostess sometimes. 

My vent sessions are mostly directed to my mom who I must give a big thanks for lending her ear. Even though she's in the grandparent category of 'Your kids are perfect no matter what they do,' she's still a wonderful listener. 

I rant to friends too. I feel sorry for myself. I dwell on difficult times.

Sometimes just talking about our challenges helps us get through the tough times. Sometimes all we need is someone to pat us on our back and say, ‘Yes that must be so hard, I can’t even imagine.’

Sometimes it's great to hear others are in the same boat. 

And that’s OK. I think we need to remind ourselves more often we're not alone. We need to look at the big picture and consider how others might feel.

It’s a great way to help us get through our own tough times and forget about pitying ourselves.

And it’s probably good practice to use the disclaimer before or after: ‘I know everyone goes through this and I’m not the only one but I’m just having a really hard time this week.’

If you just have to, go ahead and rant and don't hold back. 

But remind yourself: you're not the only one. 

Ash Degraaf