When people ask me what the hardest thing has been about becoming a parent, I say it’s the relationship. It’s not the sleep deprivation, it’s not the feeding, it’s not the changes in the body, it’s not, not knowing what to do. And don’t get me wrong, all of this is hard, bloody hard. But the hardest thing has been the adjustment to our relationship and the intense level of resentment that comes with it. And the guilt.
Call me naive but its like we have to start our relationship all over again. I think I took a lot of things for granted when it was just the two of us. The things that didn’t matter back then, now matter. The things that did matter, don’t matter. My Values have changed. My expectations have changed. At what point do you actually sit down with your partner and talk through this stuff? Who tells you to do this? Should you do this? When do you find the time to do this?
I have never felt guilt and resentment like I do now, after having a baby. I’m sorry but I’m stamping it as a F*CKIN FACT god damn it. This shit is REAL. I remember people saying, if you can travel with your partner you can get through anything. If you can live with your partner you can get through anything. If you renovate with your partner you can get through anything.
Now I’ve been with the guy with the ears for over 16 years (married for 5) and we have been through a lot of ups and downs, like any relationship. But I have some news…
Having a baby has been the hardest thing we will EVER go through. And if we can have a baby together…We will be able to get through anything.
No one prepared me for this devil of a thing called RESENTMENT!!! Like wholly fricken cow. This shit is really f*kt up.
And I don’t think people talk about the resentment feeling, or how much it changes your relationship because of the stigma attached to “becoming new parents”.
Stigma (those nasty voices in my head): You both chose to have a baby so you must look like you enjoy it and should play happy families. You can’t talk negatively about being a parent or about how your relationship is failing because society will judge you. A baby will bring you closer together they said? (insert 1000 shocked face emoji’s).
Reality (from my perspective(as a mum)): Trying to keep your relationship on track and full of love, fun and happiness is fricken hard. Let alone find time for each other. Its bloody hectic. Your both learning on the job without any form of training. All that time you once had for each other – is GONE!!! When you both used to get home from work, you would just cruise the night in. Not really worrying about when you eat, what you eat, when to talk, what to talk about, when to shower, when to shit, what to watch on tele. Just being in the company of each other was all that mattered and all you needed. You could actually snuggle in bed, maybe even play ‘find the sausage’, WHEN EVER YOU WANTED!!!!
But now, you want to be affectionate, but to be honest, you have just had every ounce of energy sucked out of you by the thinking, planning, anxiety, and build up of resentment that you have against your hubby for taking a nice LONG hot shower. And if you have 5 minutes spare after doing all the parenting and household activities, you want to either, sleep, shower, eat something, not think, have a big f*ck off glass of anything alcoholic, NOT have another human hanging off you, or take a shit. The last thing you want to do is have someone all up in your grill, literally.
I mean the poor buggar (the hubby that is). I resent him for being able to have a shit longer than 3 milliseconds without being interrupted. When he comes out of the toilet, in my head, its like
have a nice, long, uninterrupted shit babe?
Oh that’s good, because when I take a shit, I have to wait until the last second when I know I will be able to snap one off within 3 milliseconds before the short one cracks it and I need to attend to him because he can’t reach his toy, or he’s hungry, or he has just woken up and needs a capable human to rescue him.
I’ve got to plan when to shit.
And I know it eventually gets better. But as a new parent, I felt like I needed to have my “shit” together. If I was to leave my child crying for longer than 30 seconds, it meant I’m not looking after him or attending to his needs. That’s my other little favourite feeling called GUILT. The bloody guilt kicks in. If your mid poo and your baby is crying.
GET OFF THE F*CKIN TOILET (finish the poo later) AND GET THE BABY!!!
Why can’t I just have a guilt free, resentment free shit?
And why we are on the topic of poo. It’s pretty ironic really. Because after giving birth and you leave the hospital. They make a clear point to tell you – make sure you don’t strain when you’re having a poo in the first few weeks, otherwise all your insides will potentially fall out. Well, I’m sorry, but F*CK ME, I would have to get shares in laxatives if I had to not strain when trying to do a 4 millisecond poo.
Anyway, enough of the poo talk.
There are clear scientific reasons for why we’re pregnant for 9 months. So the baby can grow, obviously.
But I’m pretty sure there is a mental part of this 9 months that no one talks about.
Not being able to drink what you want, eat what you want, wear what you want, do exercise when you want, sleep when you want, for that 9 months (give or take). That’s got to have a toll on your mental state right?
I think the feeling of resentment starts during pregnancy. Gives you a little taster. The mind preparing you for the HUGE amount of resentment you will feel once the baby arrives.
Looking back I didn’t talk about these feelings. I think because I didn’t want to be a “jealous” crazy wife and deep down I wanted to be that really “cool” pregnant wife that just goes with the flow. (Until about week 33/34 that is. Then you don’t give a flying f*ck about anything but food, a comfortable position and being a stone throw away from a toilet). But I remember getting really angry at the hubby out of the blue. And now that I have a clear picture on what resentment feels like, I know why I was so angry.
I was resenting the things that he was able to do around me, that I wasnt able to do. And it’s not his fault. Its no-ones fault. It’s just apart of the process. I don’t think I would call it jealousy. Or maybe it was. Jealousy has such a negative connotation for some reason. I had to look it up and I guess it’s a mix.
So what’s the difference between Resentment and Jealousy?
Resentment Wikipedia meaning: Resentment (also called ranklement or bitterness) is a mixture of disappointment, anger, and fear. It comprises the three basic emotions of disgust, sadness and surprise—the perception of injustice.
Jealousy Wikipedia meaning: Jealousy is an emotion; the term generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value…
So yeah, I guess if I’m going to be honest with myself, I was disappointed and angry that I couldn’t do the things that meant a lot to me. And they were small things, and silly things. But it did mean a lot to me. The things that make me who I am. Loving any type of food. Loving a good party. Loving exercise without hurting yourself. I like to be comfortable. God damn it. I just like having my independence and to be in control of my own body and mind. And I couldn’t, well not 100% anyway.
Like wanting to stay later at a party. I bloody love party’s.
I would LOVE to stay for another 40 minutes babe. But hang on. I barely sleep as it is. And I’m surrounded by a bunch of drunk people who love talking about the same thing over and over ( and yes I have also been one of these drunk people talking to a prego). And by the time I drive home and drop off half of Perth, go through Maccas, get home and position myself in bed at 40% comfort after going to the toilet at least 4 times. It will be 4am. Then I will have to wake up (if i even sleep) and go to another amazing seafood lunch and not be able to eat anything or drink anything all over again!!!
Now that sounds fun.
But ok, sure I will stay for another 40 minutes and then drop everyone home. No problems because I’m such a great pregnant wife!!! And I love being surrounded by all the things that I love to do but can’t.
(if you didn’t pick up on it. There is a huge level of sarcasm there)
Yeah I know a little dramatic. But at times I would go through this. 9 months is a long bloody time. I’m not ashamed to say that it was bloody hard being pregnant and being surrounded by all the things I love but I couldn’t have. And its the same after the baby arrives, but its like 100 times worse. Its relentless. After many arguments (yes we are human and we do argue), I realised that when the hubby wanted to do something (go to the gym, out with the guys, work on the car, have a sleep-in) I would say “yeah sure whatever”.
From a guy’s point of view this is me saying “sure babe, I don’t mind”.
But really, what I mean when I say “yeah sure whatever” , I mean;
last night the mini human woke up like 18 times, so while you were enjoying your beautiful 8 hours sleep, I was battling with Godzilla next door. And then, when I entered the kitchen in the morning, where I spend 40% of my life, and noticed a dirty plate on the bench, not in the dishwasher (because the dishwasher is so far away and its pretty hard to open it), you can imagine I hadn’t really had a good start to the day, because I love the fact that you think I have time to clean up after you because I don’t do anything all day. But it just got better. Because while you were at work where you can talk to actual adults and talk about how many farts you dropped as you walked through the office, and have a good laugh, and have a nice HOT coffee. I had to portion out my 1-2 COLD cups of coffee across the day so my breast milk wouldn’t turn into a caffeine drip. The short one also decided to crack it in Kmart while I was getting some all important Kmart activities and I nearly had a meltdown in the carpark while my coffee spilt all over the pram. Then I got all the red lights on the way home while he was screaming his lungs off.
And yeah I probably smell and look tired because I haven’t had time to have a shower or nap because in between all the parental activities I had about 14 loads of washing to do.
So, I would really like you to just stay home. Maybe even cook some dinner. Help with the bath time/bedtime activities while I can shit, shower and shave without feeling guilty, and then pour a massive glass of red, and we can sit on the couch together and have an adult conversation without being engulfed by our phones and everyone’s amazing lives on Facebook?
That’s what I really mean when I say “yeah sure whatever”.
But I feel guilty for even thinking that. Because in my head I think. He needs a break too and I should be a supporting wife, and encourage some time out.
Honestly what is up with that?
F*CK YOU GUILT.
I need a break too. But the thing I’ve figured out.
Do you know why I haven’t had a break?
Because I haven’t asked for one.
And I know that your thinking “well we shouldn’t have to ask for one”. But we do. We can’t read people minds, so why should we expect our partners to?
I don’t think the resentment or guilt feelings are going to go away any time soon. It’s just how the mind and body works. But I have helped the intensity of these feelings with a few little solutions that seem to be working for me and us. For now anyway 🙂
What do I do to cope with resentment?
- I speak up. It feels so much better just talking about it, even if its silly. I’ve learnt that the hubby doesn’t think like I do (which is a good thing), and I need to stop expecting him to. I put my expectations on him, in my head, and then I get angry and resentful when he doesn’t fulfil them. Honestly, how the f*ck can he fulfil something that he doesn’t know about? And if I say I’m happy with him doing something then I get angry that he has done it, how can I blame him for thinking I’m a crazy wild banshee?
- We lock in alternating ‘me’ time activities (1-2 hours to do what we want). We alternate Monday night activities, I have Tuesday, he has Wednesday, I have Thursday, he has Friday, and the weekend we go with the flow. Activities like; sport, gym, taking the short-one swimming, any appointments, beers with guys, wines/dinner with the girls, working on the car, working on the blog. A little bit of selfish time. So bloody important for both of us to have some ‘scheduled’ time out from the day-to-day of work, household and parenting activities to be able to recharge – GUILT FREE.
- If the hubby can tell I have had a shit day and can tell that I can’t really be bothered doing anything (he can usually pick up on this by the way I look or the tone in my voice). I asked him to encourage me to go and do something for myself. Often just go to the gym or a walk or something. For some reason I feel guilty if I ask to do something for myself. But if he suggests it, I don’t feel guilty. It’s like a massive silent way of them acknowledging that they know we need a break. It doesn’t happen often. But when it does. ITS AMAZING!!!
I love surfing and hadn’t been for over 16 months. I missed it so much. And I really wanted to go for a surf. But it was just too hard, and I found myself making excuses to not go. Like I was worried I forgot how to. I was worried I wouldn’t fit in my wetsuit and it would make me feel worse. It was too cold. It was sharky. There was no one else out. I felt bad for wanting to do something for myself (god damn GUILT). But the hubby forced me to go because he knew that I just needed it. And that it would make me feel better.
I was so thankful that he forced me. It was so bloody liberating and I felt like I got my independence back. It made me feel so free. I felt like I could still do the things that I used to do. I will never forget that moment.
You can still have a life with a baby. You can squash the resentment by being open. By asking for help. By asking your partner, friend, parents to encourage you when your down to do the things that you LOVE. The things that make you who you are.
(DISCLAIMER: A reminder this is just me sharing my HONEST, Real, Raw & a little crazy perspective. I am not a negative person nor do I want to portray parenting as a negative thing. I think its important to share the REALITY of parenthood. I LOVE being a mum and wouldn’t change anything. It is the most challenging, fascinating, rewarding learning experience of my life. I’m sharing my story and solutions to help others through the “challenging” parts of parenthood. Sometimes all we need is to have someone or something to relate too that isn’t from google, a book, or an opinionated know-all.)