Comparing Challenges


This week I got 15 minutes snatches of sleep between tending the needs of a sick kindergartener, a sick preschooler, a sick toddler, and a sick baby.

During a rare quiet moment in bed tending my own sick needs I thought back to my days when I was single. I can hear myself saying,

“I had such a rough night! My congestion was so bad I couldn’t sleep and had to prop myself up with pillows!”

Oh poor me. I didn’t know how lucky I was to only have myself to worry about!

Then I thought that there is probably a mother somewhere who can’t sleep because there are bombs going of that threaten the life of her children.

She’d probably give anything to stay up all night tending her sick children in a safe place.

While comparisons like this can help remind us to be grateful, it struck me that it doesn’t necessarily help us find the strength to get through our current struggle.

As a single person, loosing a night’s sleep to sickness is hard.

As a mother, taking care of 1 or more sick kids is hard.

Life is Like Running

Imagine telling an exhausted runner in the last 2 miles of a marathon, “You’re such a wimp! Ultra-marathoners wouldn’t be half-way done with their race yet!”

Or telling someone who has just started running and can’t make it down the block, “You think you’re in pain? Think of marathoners!”

In running, you’re really racing yourself. Can you do better than you did before? Expecting anything else from your body is insanity.

No matter what shape you’re in, what will encourage a runner is this:

“Would you like a drink?”

Offer Help

I remember when I had only one child the relief and gratitude I felt every time someone offered to take my baby for a walk so I could do something for myself.

I don’t get nearly that amount of time now, but that’s okay, I have more endurance as a mother now, too.

So stop comparing your challenges and difficulties to others. Offer help where you can.

If someone belittles your difficulties without offering help, then be polite but don’t share your struggles with that person again – he’s too inside himself to see you.

I wish you much strength and joy in your work today!

2 thoughts on “Comparing Challenges”

  1. What a great insight! It’s helpful to use comparisons to get yourself out of self-pity, but I really like your running analogy to illustrate how offering help (or even letting yourself ask for help) is better.

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