“The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” 

I’ve been struggling a lot lately to understand the nature of competitive parents. I’m sure I’ve done it, unknowingly, or maybe even knowingly. I’m not sure. If I have, I’m sorry.

I find myself really pushing to be understanding, sympathetic, and empathetic lately. But I can’t tell you how often I see parents saying things like “just wait until this…” or “we never had that problem” or “you’re doing it wrong.”

Parenting is hard, dudes. And ladies, who I also call dudes. Why do we have to make it harder by competing with each other? Why do we have to be so judge-y? What is so hard about respect and showing some kindness?

Can’t we just say “yeah, I totally get it! I hope your situation improves soon. That has to be hard”? Why do we have to put ourselves on soap boxes pretending our parenting methods are better than the parenting methods of others?

I have a friend, who shall remain anonymous. (I’m sure she might read this, so hey girl!) She hasn’t slept through the night in a year. I mean, every 2 hours she’s up. Anyone that knows us can tell you that our son has not been a good sleeper either, but usually not to that extent anymore. So, when I talk to her… yeah, I understand. Am I in the same boat? Not often these days. But can I listen, be supportive, and offer some encouragement without asking “have you done this_______?” Heck yes I can. I can say, I remember what it’s like to be that sleep deprived, and it is HARD and I hope that your little guy starts SNOOZIN LIKE A PRO STAT!

Empathy-Four-ElementsSo here’s my challenge to everyone parenting (including caretakers,) let’s get on the same level and stop belittling one another. Yeah? Just really think before you speak, or type on some forum where you can hide behind your computer screen. What would you want to hear? What would make you feel better?

We’re good parents. We have healthy babies. There are hard times, but hopefully we can mostly remember the good. We need a little understanding, and some empathy can go a long way.

Here are some smart kids talking about empathy. They get it. Let’s get it, too.