What have you done for me lately?
You know the drill. Your son asks you to leave the office early to pick him up at basketball practice and run him over to his friend’s house where they will throw together the science project they should have started last month. It’s due tomorrow!
And he hates to ask, but he’d love it if you could be back in 90 minutes to run him over to school for the fall musical rehearsal. Did he tell you he got the lead role? No? Well, he did, and now he needs a ride. Lots of rides, in fact. Isn’t that great?
Oh, and by the way, his feet grew a size since this morning and the new shoes you bought him for P.E. are too small. Can you buy new shoes in a bigger size? Thanks, Mom!
Truthfully, it’s a confusing cocktail of joy, pride and amazement with just a splash of stress and overwhelm thrown in to keep things interesting. He is your boy and you want to help him evolve into the wonderful person he is becoming.
You kick into gear and perform some inter-office gymnastics that would put Nadia Comaneci to shame. You reschedule two meetings, eat lunch at your desk, and peel out of the office parking lot to pick him up with moments to spare.
You make a quick dash to the gym between science project and fall musical, where you have time for a push up and two squats before running home to take a shower and eat dinner over the sink. As you get back in the car to drive back to school for the third time in five hours, you ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
But now you are tired. Your work is piled up, you didn’t get a good workout, and you haven’t had any time to breathe. The dog was not walked, the mail is unopened on the counter, and if you don’t vacuum soon, you may drown in the cloud of dust bunnies that is replicating under your bed.
Do you feel resentful?
If you spend too many days like this, you will find resentment is a part of daily life. Who needs it? It’s just as important to fill up your reserve tanks of good will, patience, and energy as it is to be there when your children need you. And yes, you can do both.
Take these three steps to keep resentment out of your life:
- The next time resentment creeps into your life, take a moment to feel it fully. Get familiar with it and you’ll be able to nip it in the bud as soon as it starts to happen.
- Know your limits and basic needs. Maybe you can go a week without going to the gym, but you may find that longer amounts of time between workouts causes you to fray a bit around the edges. Perhaps you have the ability to miss a few episodes of your favorite show, but if missing an entire season of Downtown Abbey will make you feel like you’re living in the 19th Century, it’s going to take more than loosening the strings on your corset to feel human again. Nip it in the bud.
- Explain your limits to your child before you feel resentful. Explain that you can run the gauntlet between school, science project, and the fall production rehearsal today, but tomorrow you need to take some time for yourself.
Motherhood is a gift and a challenge. It forces us to look at ourselves and to be more vulnerable than we ever expected was possible. What an opportunity to grow, learn – and in so doing – help our child find their own balance. After all, your child will need to kick resentment to the curb one day too. Help them learn from the master!
What would you add to this list? What helps you to keep resentment out of your life when your family’s schedule gets overwhelming?