I pride myself on not complaining much. I make a conscious effort to not drag on and on about how hard things can seem or how exhausted I am to my friends and family because—what’s the point?

Everyone is tired or frustrated or stressed about something at different moments throughout the day, throughout the week. No matter how rich you are, how beautiful you are, how fit you are, how “together” you are, it doesn’t matter. Bad things still happen, stress is still present and challenges still get in your way. You can’t throw money at a tantrum. Your student loan debt doesn’t care about the number on the scale (just the number on your bill.)

No one is excused from problems, issues, stressors or challenges—they happen to everyone.

So since everyone has their own stuff going on, why should anyone else care about mine? (Except my husband—he has to care. )

Well, because sometimes you just have to vent, to just let it all out—in a safe, judgement-free zone. And if you want to be the vent-er, you have to be able to be the vent-ee, too.

It’s nice to be able to be the friend who listens. I will commiserate with my BFF when she texts about the five consecutive nights they’ve had with rough bedtimes. I will nod and “amen!” throughout my sister’s rant about feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything that’s expected of us.

I’m happy to know my friends feel comfortable enough with me to let loose; to let their anger, worries, frustrations out.

And it’s always nice to know who your go-to person is that you can go to day or night with any complaint that you just need to get off your chest—knowing you won’t be judged.

So to my person—thank you.

Thank you for letting me come over and basically yell at you (but not at you) about someone who really ticked me off. You have saved me from lashing out at that person at the height of my frustration and instead allowed me to calm down a bit before I address it with them directly.

Thank you for letting me complain about the way my haircut turned out or the gray eyebrow hair I found or the way I’m feeling about my body on a bad day. You have saved me from continuing to obsess about these things in my own mind.

Thank you for letting me text you 10 messages in a row detailing what my kiddo is melting down over. Multiple times. At various points on various days. You have saved me from thousands of meltdowns, too.

Thank you for letting me grumble about how tired I am some days or how much I have to do or how everything seems to be piling up on me—when I know you have the same stuff going on in your life, too. We’re both in the thick of parenting young kids but you always hear me out and make me feel like my worries are legitimate. Quite frankly, you’ve saved me from feeling like I’m losing it.

Thank you for letting me hash out a problem that’s really bothering me. You have saved me from letting negative feelings bubble up inside me. Letting it out with you is better than an explosion at them, right?

Sometimes I really do just have to lay it all out there. To say what I need to say to someone I trust with my feelings. To feel heard. To help sort through my worries and fears.

As my 4-year-old daughter said tonight in a overly exhausted mini-meltdown, “Whining just helps me calm down, Mom.”

Whining/complaining/venting helps me think through something I need help processing or allows me to say something that I feel like I need to say to someone but that someone probably shouldn’t hear it, so you get to hear it instead.

I have my occasional vent sesh here and there and then, I try to move on. Because I feel like if I dwell in the Land of Complaints, then I get stuck. And I definitely don’t want to be stuck feeling sorry for myself or being pitied.

I want to—and I want to teach my children to—pick myself up by the bootstraps and soldier on. Life is great and I am lucky to be here. Sure, sometimes things will bother me—and I can and should acknowledge them—but ultimately, I’d rather focus on the positive than the negative.

So, I guess whining helps me calm down sometimes, too. And while I’m not going to whine all the time and I’m not going to whine to just anyone—I am really glad I have you to whine to, my friend.