Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Resentment Trap

The other day I was reading a letter written by "Distressed Wife" where she wrote about her desperate pain as a SAHM. I can feel and understand her pain. She sounds like she is at the end of her tether now, thinking of ".........divorce and leaving the kids with him." I think she wants to give a loud wake-up call to her man. What she really wants to say is "WHY DON'T YOU PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES AND DO WHAT I DO FOR A CHANGE!" No mother wants to leave her children. The fact that she can even think about it shows her frustration.

I have no good advise for her but I can truly understand her pain and desperation. She has been getting all sorts of advice from "train your kids to do the housework", to "spend couple time with your husband" etc but it is all too easy to say than do.

I think that as a SAHM or housewife, we need to shift our focus (and I am not talking about her, I am referring to myself) to ourselves instead of our spouse. We should think about how we can improve things for ourselves and how we can better take care of ourselves so we can take care of the household and the family instead of focussing on how much he is not doing.

Many times, I do feel the pang of resentment, when I feel that my husband is making an unreasonable request about the way I handle things. Sometimes the request may not even be unreasonable but it is tough to handle and carry out for example.

I too want to shout out, "WHY DON"T YOU DO IT!" I feel resentful, when I rush about handling the kids while he has a warm cuppa and lies in bed watching tv because he needs to go to work the next day. I feel resentful when he asks me to train the kids to go to the toilet in the morning or make sure they get enough sleep and go to bed early and tells me "JUST DO IT. DON'T GIVE EXCUSES." I feel resentful when I am rushing to help one kid with his/her school work and the other with his/her music practise and he tells me "You are being biased. spending too much time on this kid and less time on the other." Hey! I do know what I am doing and I know that I am being fair and I rush around to help both as best I can without favour.

It is all very well when everything is going smoothly. Work, money coming in, everyone healthy, you have the time for holidays, gifts, each other.

However, under stressful conditions, like when your doctor tells you that you have a hormonal imbalance and your kid starts having a seizure and is diagnosed with epilepsy and starts taking medicine, the same medicine that you are taking. And the whole family is sick with coughs and colds for two months and the kids have ear infections and nasal problems etc etc. And you never seem to have time for anything. And you never seem to celebrate your wedding anniversaries or birthdays because there is always something more important or pressing that you have to think about like how your kid will react to anticonvulsant medicines or whether you can still keep your job as the single breadwinner because you have imsomnia and it is affecting you.

And you wanted to buy the kid a birthday cake to bring to school because it so happens they are having a party in school for Teacher's Day but the spouse tells you "No, I have other more important things to worry about." The problem is .... there is always something more important to worry about!!!

Under such conditions, then you have to rely on yourself to not fall into the resentment trap. You have to remember all the goodness in your spouse that you have stopped seeing because you are under stress. You have to remember how to remain a good spouse yourself  because once you give up and stop doing that than your relationship will go down the drain as swift as water.

The girl was hopeful to have the birthday cake because she said when she asked teacher whether she could bring a cake for her birthday, teacher said yes and everyone looked at her and now she is no longer afraid to sing in front of the class because now everyone knows her. A cake with everyone singing to her would surely make her happy but then... no... you have to let it go or have the biggest argument with your spouse over a silly cake. So you tell yourself, nevermind, she is only 8, she won't even remember if she had a cake in school when she grows up.

Yes, you have to learn to let go of things like that. You have to learn to make yourself happy. You have to learn to make your spouse happy. You have to learn to make your children happy. You have to learn to let go of building resentment. You have to learn to take care of yourself so that you can take care of those around you. Sometimes the overated and much suggested, go out shopping with girlfriends, or have date nights with your spouse or take a holiday, have a break, go for a spa whatever just isn't possible. Sure anyone would love it if they could do those things to rejuvenate but it is not always practical or possible. In that case, you have to do a mental shift. Talk to yourself and turn your resentment around. Be happy with yourself in your mind. Do things for yourself at home in your own solitude like crap in your blog for example. :P

Ok enough said. I am writing this silly, long crappy post because I am having a hormonal imbalance. I think I should go and do some exercises now to release some endorphins. And hopefully, I will be myself again soon.

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  1. Reading this, ladies will have qualms of getting married.. :)

    I do understand cos I have been there before, years ago.. getting married is a wonderful moment, keeping the marriage alive is otherwise, challenging and it takes 2 to make the journey easier and smoother..
    I have been single for fourteen years now, bringing up 3 kids while they were only 3, 6, 9.. now 14 yrs later, all I can say, if I can do it, anyone else surely can..
    hey, i m not encouraging anyone to be single.. what i mean to say is, most mothers are special.. we can overcome obstacles along the way, no matter how tough they are.. and i hope your friend or anyone will not give up on anything.. Work it out with your spouses, if not possible, we ladies will make it through..
    by the way, i m separated with my husband not thru divorce but by heaven and earth.

  2. I'm sure your post is a relieve to many SAHM as they will feel that they are not alone with the same feelings. I cant imagine how difficult it must be in your situation. Good that you are blogging & exercising as it will give you some relieve. Hugs!

  3. Ahh... just the other day I read a blog post where one mummy seemed on the verge of breakdown and was considering giving up her beloved creative activites, and fellow mommy-commenters were going along the lines of: "kid's are your first priority!"

    This quite annoyed busybody me who wanted to scream "No, mommy first!" but settled for a milder "feed your soul first".

    Must motherhood equals martyrdom/masochism? Oh, where's the love?

    The boring but truthful answer is to strike a healthy BALANCE. It's only hard if you set impossible standards for yourself and/or aim to please everyone, all the time.


  4. claire,
    You are amazing and your kids are living proof.

    Its just one of those days. Haha.

    You are so right. Motherhood does not equal matyrdom. However quite often, my scales tend to tip towards that end! And thats when I shout ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. :P The idea is to strike a balance. To feed our souls like you said. We must love ourselves first so we can love others. Motherhood is NOT a sacrifice. You don't give up the things you love to be a mother and wife. You don't give up on yourself or you will end up feeling bitter and resentful.

  5. While I'm not a SAHM, but I can understand where you're coming from. In fact, it got very bad for me at one stage because I work, and then I have to do the work at home and then tutor the kid while the man could go out and exercise. I had hormonal imbalance, was breaking out and was constantly angry; the family almost came apart then.

    Fortunately, things changed. I reflected and decided to change my behaviour - stop resenting. My husband is also taking a more active role and sharing the work. I was so surprised he offered to help me mop the floor and all.

    I also tried to let go...don't be such a perfectionist. If the house is dirty, let it go. If the kid wants a bit of space, let him be. It's not so easy of course but I think it has to start from ourselves. We have to let go of some of our baggage and not hang on to them; we have to stop demanding so much from ourselves.

    I've been very happy since. I did a detox and that helped my hormonal imbalance too. I am rebounding on a trampoline almost daily so that I can have some exercise. I try to spend more time with my family then on my PC.

    So yeah, don't build the resentment. Let it go. Let yourself be free. Do things for yourself.

  6. i understand what how you feel, MG because this is exactly how i feel everyday. I try hard to shift my mind, to make myself happy but it goes back to ground zero. I hope I can find a solution before I go crazy.

  7. mommy to chumsy,
    I too am going crazy now... add to my hormonal imbalance, now the radiologist who did a chest x-ray on me says I have Active TB! I am indeed going crazy with worry etc. When will it all end? I guess never, just have to learn to cope.


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