Not a week goes by when I don’t find myself at my wit’s end, annoyed by a colleague or friend or neighbor’s bellyaching over being overwhelmed. It’s not just that these complainers grumble. It’s that, in my mind, they have far more luxurious lives than I do — and therefore scant reason to gripe.
Cases in point: A friend spent our entire lunch date whining that she was tired because she had to rise at 6:30 am (a full hour after my alarm is set). I mumble under my breath when the neighborhood mom says it’s too hard to work because her kids are under age 5 (just like mine). And my blood pressure spikes and I fire up the silent treatment when my childless boyfriend suggests we rendezvous at my place (yet again) because he doesn’t have time to clean his (say what?).
I am not alone in my disgust-by-comparison. I hear women complain all the time about others’ inability to be as prolific in their daily and monthly tasks, large and small. If you’re a successful, professional woman, there is a very good chance that you are more productive than other people you know. Also a mom? Then you’re definitely packing more into each day.
Me? I’m a professional single mom, so I win.
That is what I tell myself in our rat race culture that values — it seems — productivity above all else.
Which is all well and good if you are an apparent winner in a competition that has no apparent spectators, but it can also be maddening when others around you are less productive — or worse: complain endlessly about their self-perceived hardships.
But I have it all wrong and you likely do, too. Here is why, and what to do about it.