Women stupidly inflict guilt on each other. It’s so stupid, and yet so rampant that I need to talk about it. Say for instance, Sofia is a stay-at-home mom, and Solange works at a nice paying corporate gig. They’re both stressed, because really none of those jobs are easy. But in conversation Solange says to Sofia, “you’re so lucky, you get to stay home all day long.” Sofia will probably say something like, “well yes, but it’s hard,”…and then try explain the things the crazy kids (she can’t believe she birthed) do on a regular annoying basis. Solange will then say, “Oh yes, I know, I come home to little Billy every afternoon so I understand.” So then Sofia feels guilty that Solange “does it all”.
WHY??? Why should Sofia care if Solange do it all? Sofia is doing HER. Sofia is living HER life with HER choices. WHY does she have to feel guilty? Working moms also feel guilt when mothers who don’t go to a workplace say, “You have TIME to work too? When do you spend time with your kids?”
This is just a standard scenario, but it comes in so many different forms, and is inflicted by many different women including friends, sisters, mothers and those closest to us. It’s basically, “you’re so lucky because you get to do this while the rest of us are slaving away.” So slave then! Do what YOU want to do with your time and your day. That’s YOUR choice and circumstance. Stop trying to make other women feel bad by comparing yourself to them. You’re not her/them.
I’ve witnessed this in so many forums but when it’s directed towards mothers, it makes me want to barf in the face of the person saying it. And it comes in very sneaky “little” ways. And the person saying it a lot of times feel like they’ve done you a favor. And the person receiving it, doesn’t speak up because they’re busy feeling bad about themselves.
We don’t know other people’s journey or struggles, and even if we do, if we happen to be their friend, we still don’t get to guilt them for not living how we think they ought to live. They get to choose that. And perhaps they’re not happy or satisfied with their current situation. Does it make them feel better that we expound on that? Or perhaps they are totally happy. Which means we are still being judgey and stupid and worse, they don’t care.
So, in conclusion, we’ve all been guilty (see my pun!) of doing this at some point, in some way, but we can choose to lift our fellow sisters up. Don’t compare yourself to them. Don’t try to make them feel bad so they can pity/give you more attention. Don’t try to make them feel bad because you think they should do more/better.
Meet them where they are, see how you can help, and lift them(her) up. And they will probably lift you up too. And even if they don’t lift you up, you’ve done your best to distill some kindness that we all need. If the feeling of kindness is not enough, the unfollow button is a click away.