Mom Struggle: Resentment

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I totally resent my husband.

Yep, the sweet and wonderful man I married – I simply want to strangle him sometimes, and it makes me miserable. Here’s what happens (maybe you can relate)…

He showers alone – I resent him. He sleeps through the night – I resent him. He leaves the house without me – I resent him. He goes to the bathroom with the door closed – I resent him. He does something social – I resent him. He picks up a new healthy hobby like running – I resent him.

Please tell me I am not alone. Please tell me I am not the only mama who thinks ‘For the love of all things, why does it take so long to go to the bathroom?!?! Must be nice to have that luxury. I haven’t gone to the bathroom with the door closed since the last time I…well…I can’t remember.’ Please tell me you have also thought about how maddening miraculous it is that he is capable of sleeping through every terrible season of teething, every stomach bug, every accident, and every single ear infection. Part of me wishes that you have also longed to trade places with your husband for a day (or a year if he’d go for it!). But then I realize that I wouldn’t wish this battle on anyone.

You see friends, the resentment doesn’t stop at my precious husband. I resent moms who work outside the home, moms who are happy and fulfilled staying at home, moms who have grandparents to help care for their children regularly, and moms who get to go to the gynecologist without their toddlers in tow. I resent married people who don’t have kids and single people who aren’t yet married with kids. Yeah, so there it is. I pretty much resent everyone. Yuck.

There’s my ugly (well, part of it at least). There’s the darkness that resides in the corners of my heart. So mama friends, I’m going to turn on the light in here and share with you what I’m learning about why I feel this way and what I am going to do about it.

Resentment is rooted in discontent. Discontent stems from comparison.
And comparison steals my joy right out from under my nose.

Let’s take that one step at a time…

Resentment is rooted in discontent. Why on earth am I discontent? I have two absolutely wonderful and healthy children, a husband that genuinely tries never to hurt me, and a God who is big enough to handle all my crazy.

Well, I’m discontent because I’m not content. I spend more time thinking about what I don’t have than what I do have. I waste precious minutes wishing these precious minutes away, longing for shorter days and a different season of life.

I’m discontent because I’m jealous. What do I have to be jealous of? I’m jealous of the moms who have littles and aren’t losing their minds like I am. You know, the ones who are smiling and singing to their kiddos who ride calmly in the cart through the grocery. The ones who somehow have stylish clothes and accessories that don’t immediately make them identifiable as a mom (including rain gear – I mean come on!).

And, big breath friends, I’m discontent because I compare my life to others. There are more than a couple problems with comparison, but the big one is that I am likely not comparing with reality anyway. Chances are that what I see and perceive are not actually the whole story. But even if it is the whole story and the people I’m comparing myself to really are that happy and put together, then shouldn’t I be thrilled for them instead of sad for myself? But you see, I can’t be happy because the comparison is stealing my joy. I mean really, it’s impossible to be happy when I am wishing for someone else’s life, because I look at their life and I see what I perceive them to have and I compare it to what I have which (since I’m living in my life and not just watching it) never measures up.

Yeah, this is an ugly place to be – and I don’t intend to stay here – so here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. Choose to be grateful. I’m going to look for things and list them out, and then I am going to share them with someone. And when I’m in the fog of battle and I can’t see out, I’m going to ask my kiddos what we can be grateful for because they’re awesome at telling me what they’re “thanky for”.
  2. Ask for grace. I’ll make a list of one thing I need each week that will help me be less resentful, and I’m going to share it with my husband (I think I’ll start with having the luxury of going to the bathroom with the door closed once in awhile 😉 ).
  3. Limit my intake of social media. Mmhmm, I said it. I have to change my perception that everyone else’s life is better than mine and that starts by seeing less of their lives online and more of their lives in, well, life.
  4. Focus on the future. Sometimes I’m so in the now that I miss the not yet. I forget that I’m playing the long game and that results really shouldn’t be expected for at least another 14 years. We see glimpses today that they’re getting it, but it’s little by little. Some days victory looks like all of us just making it out alive, and that has to be ok.
  5. Change my expectations. I’m going to consider what is reasonable for this season of life, for our family. I’ll partner with my husband, pray about it, and confer with down-to-earth people I know (whose lives are also imperfect) and come up with reasonable measures for success.

These changes are not going to happen overnight. Like anything that’s healthy, they will have to be built into my rhythm and practiced regularly in order to really take root. They are choices that will have to be made, regardless of my feelings because the life I choose today determines the life I live tomorrow. I choose a life that allows me to be fully engaged in my own moments rather than longing for someone else’s. I choose a life that is free from comparison and full of joy. I choose contentment instead of resentment because there are only so many moments, and I don’t want to miss them.

How do you keep focused on the long game?  
How do you battle the temptation to compare?  
I’d love to know!

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. You are SO not alone on these feelings! I can’t tell you how many times I think to myself “must be nice! ” when I see my husband doing things I can’t do without an infant attached to me. Thank you for reminding me that I have things to be grateful for. Maybe even for things that my husband may be resentful of. Imagine that! For instance, the bond that I have with our son when I’m breast-feeding him. Or the fact that because my little one spends most of his time with me, I’m usually who he turns to for comfort and snuggles. Not that his daddy doesn’t get that as well, but I definitely receive the larger portion of that type of affection. Always a good feeling to know that others share in your experience as a mommy.

    • Thank you Aimee! I’m working hard to get these yucky feelings under control. You are right, it has very little to do with what my husband does or doesn’t do (for me anyway) – it has everything to do with the filter I use to see it, and my filter needs to be A LOT more grateful.

  2. Oh my yes. This is my life. I have a high needs baby that I go to bed with very night at 6pm. On a mattress on the floor in his nursery. My husband gets to watch tv, use the bathroom, sleep without waking every single hour of every single night.

    I’m so lucky and grateful for my life. But I’m so resentful too.

    It’s hard. So very hard.

    • Karin, I hear you girl! It is SO hard, and it is a choice multiple times a day to keep my head out of that space! I hope some of the things I suggested might be helpful for you in terms of staying positive and moving through this season with hope instead of bitterness (because I know that feeling those feelings for too long can be crippling).

      Know that you are not alone, and that what you are doing for your kiddo matters a great deal. No one may see it but you, so let me say “Thank you!” for the sacrifice you are making for your kiddo. Thank you for being up in the night and giving of yourself so tirelessly. You matter Karin. You are valuable and what you are doing is valuable.

      Hang in there sweet mama! New challenges and joys are just around the corner!

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