Sunday, April 26, 2009

Parenting Dilemma: Resentment

I was not prepared for resentment to be a part of my motherhood experience. Resentment is like Motherhood's dirty little secret lurking in the shadows of unsuspecting places. I knew motherhood would be hard and require sacrifice, but I assumed I'd joyfully sacrifice for my little ones and that they, in this ideal scenario, would quickly and perfectly respond to my efforts to quiet and calm them.

I knew that I would sacrifice sleep as my little ones would wake in the night with needs ranging from hunger and diaper changes to soft, comforting words after a bad dream. I was so unprepared to resent them for stealing my precious sleep from me and then being so uncooperative by not returning immediately to sleep. I was also unprepared for the resentment I'd feel toward my darling husband who can peacefully sleep through just about anything.

I find myself resenting the constant need for attention every detail of my life seems to require. The moment my mind takes a break from even the smallest detail it immediately requires my full and undivided attention. I woke at 5:00 am with a stuffy nose, unable to breath, and heard the heater running. My fuzzy brain seemed to recall seeing the thermostat set high because yesterday was a cold, wet day. But when I went to bed, I didn't think to check the thermostat and reset it for a comfortable night's sleep. I resent the dumb thermostat that is ridiculously difficult to set and therefore requires daily, even hourly, attention during the volatile spring weather we have in Utah.

I didn't realize that I had so many hobbies and interests that are not directly related to caring for my babies. I also didn't realize how little time I would have to devote to them, or even to enjoy them on occasion. I resent that it takes me a month or more to read a book, if I even have the energy to get my hands on a book I want to read. I resent the ordeal associated with trying to sew and that by the time I have everything set up and ready to go, it's time to clean it up and make dinner.

And even though I am choosing to be a stay-at-home mom while my husband works and goes to school to prepare for his career, I resent that he gets to leave the house carefree each day. He has only himself to get ready and then he's off to his responsibilities. Whereas I have three people to get ready in order to leave the house and it's always a production, from missing shoes to dirty diapers to messy clothes to one more trip to the potty. And when we finally find ourselves walking out the door, I look down to discover I am wearing my slippers!

I resent that all this came flooding out of me on a Sunday morning when I would much rather enjoy the peace of the Sabbath day than vent my frustrations. I was not aware that I would find it so difficult to make time for my spiritual self. While getting ready to go to church still fills me with the anticipation of the calm and strength I find there, it is also a busy, chaotic rush to get ready and I miss the quiet time of getting ready by myself that allowed me to also prepare spiritually.

But I would choose it again. Even as I wrote all these moments of resentment, I smiled as I remembered the sweetness of my precious little ones and the kindness of my husband, who, upon returning home, shoos me from the kitchen so I can have a moment to myself while he finishes dinner.

I don't know how this story ends, but I think, I pray I've reached the climax of this chapter.


Jenny said...

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Sarai said...

Amber, I just found your blog and I love it!I so very much relate to this entry, but the difference is I have not figuered it out. Everyday I feel so not qualified for the job. I want to be the type of mom that provides her kids with fun learning experiences everyday, not just entertained and I find it so hard to do, it's my everyday struggle and challenge. I'm so glad I found your blog! Great job!

kelli said...

With 2 under 2 (and 2 older ones) I know what you mean some days it is hard to have to give constantly! But What a great reminder to stop and enjoy where we are right now!

SkylarKD said...

I think so many of us are dealing with this, and I admire your honest to write it down and out it out there!
I've also majorly resented my Hubby's ability to sleep through almost anything, and to fall asleep within 30 seconds! "Me time" is hard to come by between caring for C and work, and I've complained to Hubby about the frustration of not being able to take a shower without someone else coming into the bathroom!
But then Hubby offers me a foot massage and my girl gives me a great big bear hug and I know that the inconveniences pale in comparisons to the joy my family brings me. :)

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Amber said...

Thank you all for your kind words and support. I'm so glad to know that I'm not alone. I'm also glad to hear encouraging words to savor the moment when our children are little. I'm in awe of how much they've grown and I already feel like I've forgotten so much of the first weeks of each girl's life. I'm excited for the memories we are making now!

Vanessa said...

Sundays are a really really hard day for me too.

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