Pam was drowning in the stresses of a recent health issue, two small children at home, managing her career, and general stresses at home. While she really wanted to make time for her friends, she just had to prioritize and right now, friends were last on the list. She hated to admit that, but it was true. Kids’ and spouse’s needs came first, then her health, her work and so forth.
Finally one night she makes it out with her friends for dinner and they took turns updating everyone on their own lives. Pam started and laughed through her story about all her current stresses. She was trying to downplay what all was happening but it was clear to the other ladies, sitting across the table, that she was drowning.
How did they know this? Pam never really seemed that interested in what they had to say about their own lives. She asked, what seemed like superficial questions, that really had no thought behind it. It was clear to the other friends that Pam just did not have the capacity to be there for them, at that point.
While we all realize that there is a natural ebb and flow of friendships/relationships as time progresses, it appeared to these ladies that Pam was so over her head in the drama of her everyday life, she could not get out of her own ‘tornado of stress’.
What should the friends have done? Should they have politely said, with love in their voices, “We are concerned”? Or should they have let Pam ‘save face’ knowing with time she will recover? It did not help that Pam always prided herself on being able to do so much and without help!
While this is not a one-or-the-other-type of question, I wonder what we should do when we witness, first hand, what stress is doing to our friends. Of course, every day stress is part of the ballgame called Motherhood. But as teammates of this game, what should we do? I assume it will always vary on the situation and the person involved.
While pondering this situation, I wanted to take stock of my own capacity. Am I so involved in my own tornado of stress that I just don’t have to capacity to do anything else? What could I be missing out on, by being too prideful to ask for help or show any “weakness”?
Pam was very prideful and always had an issue with showing any signs of weakness. Her friends felt that it was best to let this go, yet committed to ‘keep an eye’ on Pam. With time, Pam recovered and ‘came to’….she admitted that her life always seems so stressful but that her good friends keep her grounded.
Whether we are looking out for each other or ourselves…do we have the capacity to do what we really should be doing? Or are we suffocating from our own tornado of stress? And do we allow opportunity for help?