If you’re a working Mom, you have plenty of things to feel resentful about. Not only do you have to get work done in the office, you also have kids who need to be fed, laundry that needs to be cleaned, and a to-do list as long as your arm. Who wouldn’t feel resentful with this never-ending workload? But resentment isn’t a good feeling and it doesn’t create a balanced life. In this blog post, we discuss the long-term solution for letting go of resentment so you can enjoy more balance in your life.
Below is the podcast version of this article. Subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Why It’s Not Your Fault
This is the second blog post on a two-part series on resentment. If you haven’t yet read/listened to the first part, click here to learn WHY it’s not your fault that you feel resentful.
You had a hard day of work, with a ton of meetings and too much work to do in one day. You’re exhausted from overworking.
You come home. The kids are tired so they do what tired kids do — they’re wild.
You’ve got to make dinner and help the kids do homework.
Oh yeah. And the family is totally out of clean underwear. If you don’t do a wash tonight, tomorrow’s not going to be pretty (or smell good).
But you’re beat and feeling resentful.
This all feels like too much.
How can you shift from feeling resentful to something more positive?
Don’t Put A Band-Aid on a Gunshot Wound
This blog post wasn’t easy for me to put together. The reason why I’m talking about it is because people in our community kept begging me to address this.
It’s hard for me to address this because there are so many reasons why you may be feeling resentful.
I’m going to share my overall strategy and I think you’ll find it helpful.
And you already know me so…
You know that I’m not going to give you a feel-good answer and tell you something that’ll make you want to gag. Like “Look for something to be grateful for.” Or “Count your blessings.” Yuck.
That’d be unhelpful and it’s not going to work, either.
It’s like putting a band-aid on a gun-shot wound. It’s avoiding the real problem.
And it’s also demeaning. When someone has a gunshot, it’s offensive to tell them to just put a band-aid on it.
We’re not going to do that.
So what’s the answer? If it’s not a feel-good response. Not a quick affirmation.
How’s it possible to shift from being resentful when that’s how you really feel? You ARE resentful at having to do so much and be everything for everyone.
So how do you let go of it?
Identify What’s Causing the Resentment
First, you need to figure out what you’re resentful about. If I was coaching you, this is the first thing I’d do.
Resentment is an overall feeling so focusing on specifics can be really hard to do.
When you notice yourself feeling resentful, start thinking about what you’re resentful about.
In our example at the begging of this post, was it:
– Having to do the laundry? OR
– Having to make dinner every night? OR
– Having too much responsibility in the office?
Get really specific and then start thinking about how you can solve each of the problems.
Remember, we’re not doing a band-aid here. We’re fixing the actual problem so we need to identify it first.
Change Your Attitude
Next, we’re going to approach resolving what’s making you resentful with a can-do attitude.
I know, this is easier said than done.
This is hard to do because when you’re filled with resentment, you’re not in a frame of mind that’s conducive to fixing problems.
But picture this. You feel like you’re doing a million things more than your spouse.
So you have a talk with him or her and the talk turns into a fight. He or she thinks they do a lot. You think you do a lot and he or she does almost nothing.
This is not helpful.
But I want you to remember that it’s not your fault you’re feeling resentful.
Our society is not set up for working Moms.
We do have too much to do and not enough resources to get everything done.
So instead of blaming your spouse, your work, your children, know that the things that are causing your resentment can get better.
Instead, let’s come at it from an “Everything is figureoutable attitude.” (Thanks Marie Forleo!)
Figure it Out
When you come from a place where you put aside your resentment and anger and instead you work on figuring out a solution, that’s when things start changing.
Let’s look at the example from the beginning of this post. The Mom was tired from having too much work to do in the office.
She then had to make dinner.
She then had to do laundry.
She then had to help her kids with homework.
I see a lot here that the Mom could have fixed things before it got to that point. And when I work with Moms one-and-one, this is what we do. We go into every area of her life and we fix things one-by-one,
Without feeling badly about past mistakes.
We go in and we fix each part of her life so she can feel more balanced, which also means letting go of resentment.
Systems and Routines
Let’s use an example of what this would look like.
For example, one of the things the Mom was resentful about was needing to do laundry on a night when she was already tired.
But why was laundry a crisis?
I suspect it was because something wasn’t right with her systems or something else was going on in her life.
The issue could even have been something totally unrelated to laundry.
For example, it could have been the weekend was over-scheduled so there was no time to do laundry.
It could have been that she’s having a hard time getting her kids to do their chores so she’s doing her teenager’s laundry.
Or maybe she simply forgot.
It’s important to figure out what the core problem is so you can start solving it so the resentment can naturally dissipate.
In this example:
Perhaps she’d schedule less on Sundays so she’d have more time to do it.
Or maybe her kids would start putting away their own clothes so it would be less work for her.
It’s important to address the core issues one by one, trying different solutions till something works and there’s no need for her to feel resentment because the core problem is resolved.
Let’s use another example, this time involving relationships.
In Part I of this series, I confessed that I felt resentful towards my husband for going to orchestra once a week and I had a tough time getting the kids to bed while he was out.
If I’d been calm and talked to him about it, perhaps a solution could have been made.
When you’re calm and coming from an energy of trying to fix the problem, you can start seeing easy solutions.
For the solution, what if the next night, the day after he went to orchestra, could have been for me to rest?. If every Monday he has to go out for the whole evening. What if on Tuesdays I get to relax for a few hours while he took care of the kids while I watched TV and chilled?
Or what if I asked him to take a half-hour of leave and come home early and make dinner on Monday nights before he goes out?
I can honestly tell you that before I started this work, these simple solutions would never have occurred to me.
Instead, I would have sat in my high-horses seething about how hard life was for me. When I’m in that energy, I can’t think straight. I’m so angry that these simple solutions feel impossible.
To resolve resentment, you first need to get clear on the specific things that are causing you to feel resentment.
A general feeling of resentment doesn’t help with problem-solving. Getting as specific as you can is more helpful.
Next, work on coming to a solution coming from an attitude of “everything is figureoutable” rather than blame.
And then, one by one, try to fix the situations that are causing the problem.
This answer isn’t quick. It’s not a band-aid.
But when I think of what’s worked for me and the women I work with, getting rid of resentment is only accomplished when you deal with the problem.
You need to go through all areas of your life and fix the things that cause overwhelm and resentment so you can feel balanced.
What do you think?
Does this resonate with you?
I hope it does because it gets to the core of what I teach on this blog and podcast.
I teach that it IS possible to be better balanced. And to be better balanced, you have to change things. You have to figure out what isn’t working and try doing things a different way.
It’s important that you keep trying solutions. Sometimes what you try works the first time, sometimes it takes 5 times. But don’t give up.
Because the reward on the other side is a happier more balanced life.
And that’s my ultimate goal for you.
To replace the resentment and frustration with pride and joy in the life you’ve built and let the resentment go — not because you’re covering it up, but because you’ve fixed the core problems that caused it.
Wishing you a life filled with better balance.