There should be some rules about trying to cheer people up, particularly sleep-deprived mothers of young children. Suggested activities and phrases follow below for those who might feel challenged in this area.
If someone is having a rough day, here are some helpful things to do:
1. Bring her lunch. Better yet, bring her lunch and dinner. And a craft activity to do with her three-year-old.
2. Bring her a donut from 7-11 that is shaped like a heart. And a diet coke.
3. Offer to take over with the children so she can get a break and change out of her pajamas, which she is still wearing at 2:00 in the afternoon.
4. Do nothing, but say something sympathetic, like “Oh, wow, that’s rough…so sorry you’re dealing with that!”
Here are some unhelpful ideas. If this sounds like what you were planning to do the next time your friend has a rough day, please consider trying something from the list above instead.
1. Say, “Oh, it isn’t that bad. Just change your attitude and it will get better. Turn that frown upside down!”
2. Say, “Oh, man, I had it so much worse than you do, and here’s my lame story about how hard my day was.”
3. Say, “I’ll pray for you…and, by the way, here’s why my day is much worse than yours.”
4. Reference the fact that she waited a long time to have children and tell her she should be grateful.
5. Tell her you think she complains too much.
6. Suggest that she take a nap or exercise to lift her mood (without offering to help watch the crying children so she can do those things).
7. Tell her you’d help, but you have so many other things to do, like yoga class, a run in the park, a pedicure, a quiet dinner with your husband, and shopping for new shoes.
Just some food for thought on this Beautiful, Sunny Thursday. And now, I’m off make my best effort to comfort the inconsolable ones.