Ladies, Let’s Stop Comparing Our Hards


hardLast month I was on a group text with five of my friends. We were trying to nail down a date for dinner. One of my friends wrote, “I can barely schedule a week out” and another friend replied to her by saying, “Jane! If I can make it happen around several kids and a lawyer’s schedule, you can totally do this! I want to see you!” Ladies, let’s stop comparing our hards or having a competition for who is the busiest.

My friend’s text may have seemed harmless, but it’s not. My friend with several children was comparing her life to my friend’s without children. Implying that her life and schedule were harder than our other friend’s. Most of us would assume being a childless adult would leave you with more free time (and fewer hardships) than an adult with several children, but that’s not the point. What we see on the surface is only a small part of what’s going on in a person’s actual life. And does it really matter who is busier?

Maybe my child-free friend was swamped at work, pursuing a new hobby, or having health issues. Maybe my friend with multiple children has a nanny and doesn’t work outside the house. Assuming your life is harder or busier than someone else’s is a dangerous road to travel. 

Hard is hard, and everything is relative. Before we had our daughter, I thought I was busy. I was. Once I had her, I realized just how much free time I had before her. Go figure, right?

My life felt hard before her. My life feels hard with her. I can only experience the hard of others–like having three children and a husband who is rarely home– if my life were to unfold that way, but it hasn’t, so why make comparisons or assumptions? Let’s stop comparing our hards.

In a TED Talk given by Ash Beckham, Beckham states:

Hard is hard. Who can tell me that explaining to someone you’ve just declared bankruptcy is harder than telling someone you just cheated on them? Who can tell me that his coming-out story is harder than telling your five-year-old you’re getting a divorce? There is no harder, there is just hard. We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to make us feel better or worse…”

My child-free friend ended up making it to that dinner. Turns out she was leaving for an out-of-town trip that next morning and had started a new job as well. The six of us enjoyed our dinner in a nearby downtown local restaurant. I haven’t forgotten, the implicit comparison, though. When I catch myself doing it, thinking, “How can you be so busy?” or “Her life seems so easy,” I stop myself. I only know what I see, and the comparisons and internal comments say more about me than them. Ladies, let’s all do ourselves a favor and stop comparing our hards.