Hey Mama! Here’s what you can expect in this post: learn about resentment as a new mom and how it can build up silently inside of you until you finally burst. Practice acceptance of your new role as a mom and embrace your new found freedom.
Resentment as a New Mom
Oh how I completely misjudged my transition into becoming a new mom. I had the expectation that it would be challenging. Like yeah, I knew I had better appreciate the heck out of my full nights of sleep (the best you can get while pregnant, anyway) because they were about to be a thing of the past. Sure, I should hang out with friends while I could before bringing a permanent plus 1 around. I got it. No surprises… right?
Holy moly. All kinds of feelings hit me like a ton of bricks. Envy for someone’s perfect abs, bitterness for others using the weekend to relax, and impatience for the constant 3 AM feedings.
Those feelings I felt all boil down to resentment. Resentment is really just bitterness that we hold on to when we feel we’ve been wronged. It’s a joy-sucker and a “poor me” attitude that is just bleh. And oh boy, did I have enough bleh for the whole neighborhood!
Often, these feelings became specifically targeted at my husband. He got to go back to work a week after our son was born and genuinely loves what he does. He got to go back to his normal for 8+ hours a day while my whole world second by second had been flipped upside down. Not to mention he still tried to do his normal weekly activities, play video games with his friends on the weekends, and overall didn’t seem to understand how different it is to become a parent.
That’s not to say my husband isn’t also the best dad: he is! He changes all kinds of funky diapers, roughhouses with our son, and basically shoves me out the door to take some time for myself. He is (almost) always considerate of my needs and gets me ice water quite literally whenever I ask. He’s the best.
But I couldn’t help feeling abandoned in learning about day-to-day motherhood solo and having 7,000 responsibilities to complete each day. Only one of us can make breastmilk, and no matter what he did, the responsibility for those middle of the night feedings fell totally on me.
While all mamas have every reason to be resentful, it just leads to arguments, under-appreciation, and feeling sorry for yourself. The unfortunate thing about resentment as a new mom is this: it steals your joy in this new phase with your sweet baby and really just ends up punishing you! Don’t do this to yourself, mama!
It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the things you’ve given up or all of the new responsibilities you have that your partner may not. Being a mom is just different than other roles in that baby’s life. It’s hard to explain, but if you’re already a mom, you may understand. There are just certain things only mommy can do.
In my worst moments, I’m focused on making sure my husband knows the differences in our responsibilities. I’m desperately wanting him to admit that I have it harder. We get into a competition of “who has it worse” and both of us end up feeling unappreciated and unheard.
And you know what? Even when he says I have it harder, it doesn’t make me feel any better. The resentment lingers and honestly probably magnifies since my efforts to release it aren’t working.
Eventually, I learned that I needed to stop blaming him for the changes, and start taking responsibility for my own feelings.
Flipping the Script
Let’s make a pact together, mamas. Let’s flip the script. Instead of harboring resentment as a new mom, be grateful.
Take some of these examples:
- Instead of resenting your partner for going back to work, you can be grateful that him working has allowed you to stay home and bond with your baby.
- Rather than being angry that you have to do all of the night feedings, be grateful that you can breastfeed at all. Or if you aren’t/can’t breastfeed, be grateful that your partner is willing to get up with you and help in the ways he can.
- When you’re feeling bitter about seeing your friends out together while you haven’t showered in days and have spit-up down your shirt, be grateful for your current stage in life.
Finding something to be grateful for in most cases isn’t terribly difficult. Take the examples above! Thinking at least I have help or I’m grateful that I can stay home aren’t big stretches.
Sometimes, however, it’s hard to find an area to show gratitude. Just remember it doesn’t have to be anything big. You can simply be grateful that you’re working on combatting your resentment by changing your thinking.
Try this Journal Question: What are some of the things you’ve noticed cause resentment in you? How can you show more gratitude to these situations instead of harboring the resentment inside?
How Does Gratitude Help with Resentment?
When you start combatting your resentful thoughts with gratitude, your brain changes. You start to see things through a more positive lens and are more likely to continue using this lens in the future.
It also increases your feelings of positivity toward others, specifically your partner if that’s where the resentment gets targeted. You start to see the best in people rather than all of the things they have and you don’t.
And best of all, it takes away the bitterness that you’re holding onto. No one is doing this to you. Resentment is a choice at the end of the day, and if you really want to release these feelings from your heart, you need to make the choice to choose gratitude.
Also hear this: habit change takes effort and time! Keep trying, mama. When you feel those resentful feelings and thoughts starting to creep in, try to find something to be grateful about. Big or small, you’re doing something for you and at the end of the day, that’s worth celebrating!
Go On with Gratitude!
Resentment as a new mom is SO common, but know that you can fight it by simply choosing gratitude. While you’re working, be sure you’re keeping up with your self-care. Check out this post for some ideas.
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WANT A REMINDER? PIN THIS FOR LATER! YOU’LL BE GRATEFUL THAT YOU DID.