With all that moms, like myself , have been through in the past year–we are burned out and fed up. We have short fuses right now and it takes every ounce of our sleep-deprived exhausted patience to not let it out on those we love.

But something I’ve noticed creeping up in my convos with my fellow tough and strong survival mode-mommas is the ever so subtle “one up” game.

 I share honestly and vulnerably how things are hard for me. Having two kids under four is a lot: a busy spirited preschool boy and a extroverted cuddle bug 7-month-old little guy is a lot to handle without a pandemic (and all else we have experienced). I share how taxed my time is, how exhausted I am, how little “me” is left for “me” or my husband, how “done” I am with the yo-yo of restrictions vs openings and how it affects our routine and my children’s temperament. How hard it is to cling with only the tips of my fingers to any sense of fulfillment (aka work/career/volunteering) beyond the four walls I call home and those that call me “mom”. I could go on.

I grieve the responses I used to get-you know before the 20  . . . ‘s started . When I heard:  “me too”, received smiles (I could actually see) AND hugs, cups of coffee over stories of “been there and done that” which made me laugh in relief. I felt seen, heard, I walked away encouraged; knowing I am not alone: mothers are a joint force to be reckoned with.

Now when I express my honest concerns to my “tribe” I feel “one-upded” I hear: “you think you have it bad . . . “ . I feel challenged to a game of “beat that” or expected to “pass” my turn and stay silent.

I understand what my fellow mom-friends are saying. “Please do not share about your problems because I can barely manage my own: I CAN’T HANDLE ANYMORE.” We are still in survival mode and the needs do not go away-there is no relief or break. I know this is true for the non-parents out there as well too.

However, the “one up game” is dangerous. It really doesn’t make us feel better about our own problems or others. It separate us instead of bonds us together. Let’s be real: we have all had it hard. Sure my “difficult year” is different from yours. But let’s respond with “ I’m sorry-I get it. That is so tough-I hear you.” Let’s acknowledge each other’s tough moments-before sharing our own-and without the “one upping game”.

Because we’ve lost so much this past year-let’s not lose our village-the ones that can say “me too” and encourage us..

Whether you are a parent or not, you understand these feelings: so lets not let this season tear us down or isolate us further than it already has. Let’s acknowledge one another’s hardships AND share our own. There’s time and room for both. We still need each other. This has been tough on all of us-but we are not alone. Let’s remember that and find ways to be kind to each other acknowledge one another’s struggles and to continue to share our stories.

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