Motherhood and Resentment

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All right. We all know it’s there. Rearing it’s ugly head. Resentment. Resentment towards our partners, our kids, other women, even. I’ve had one of those days.

Deep breaths.

I remember when my kids were newborns - those last couple of hours before my husband came home from work seemed like an eternity. Every day. That first year, especially, is just so incredibly hard, right? To those of you in that phase of parenting: it does get easier, and harder. Eventually, you have more control over your own sleeping hours, so there’s that.

Whatever your living situation, family structure, or work situation may be, because they do vary wildly, mothers just carry a heavier burden than others in the family. I’m not talking about housework, cooking, driving, or work hours outside the home. There are too many configurations and family arrangements to make a sweeping statement about those aspects, and I know what I’m saying isn’t universal, but I’m sure I’m not alone.

It’s all the little stuff that I’m feeling really resentful about today. I have rearranged every minute of my personal schedule around my children’s schedules, for 12 years now, and still, as happened today, mine is the only schedule in the household that can be completely derailed by one of the other three people I live with. All it takes is for each of them to forget one thing, that one thing that is, to them, no big deal, to add up to something much greater than the sum of its parts: my day unraveling.

That’s what happened today. Three smallish things, one for each person, that’s all it took.

Waves of resentment came and went all day. Why is it that my schedule is less important than theirs? Why am I the one on whose head it falls? How can they be so ungrateful? Inconsiderate? And on and on. Over and over again. With “normal,” non-resentful time in between, thank goodness.

“It’s the job” is one way to frame it, but I say bollux to that. It’s MY LIFE god damnit! I deserve just as much free time, just as much respect, just as much latitude to make mistakes, just as much support and coverage as my kids and my husband do. To suggest that I don’t is completely mental. Of course my family agrees that I deserve these things, but the reality of daily life is that I don’t get them in anywhere near equal measure.

I’m not talking about equations to even everything out. What I am saying is that motherhood may just very well be inherently unfair, and that today, I feel resentment about that.

Motherhood is a lot of other things, too, but I’ll save those words for another day. Resentment reared it’s ugly head today, but knowing that I’m not alone, I can process it a little bit more quickly and easily. It’ll still be there in some measure when I go to bed, but I’ll wake up feeling better for having written it down here, for acknowledging it was part of my day. Better to bring it out in the light of day than to keep lashing out, projecting, blaming, and have it settle in. I may even feel a little regret tomorrow for having posted this publicly, but I’ll take that risk, because I know I’m not alone.

If you’re a mother, and struggling tonight, know that you’re not alone.

 

Jennifer Winther