What About Me? Moms, Stop Feeling Resentment Towards Your Kids

What About Me? Stop Feeling Resentment Towards Your Kids With These Self-Care Tips

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated 2/11/2019

 

So, you’re a parent.

That probably means you haven’t had sleep, money, time, or energy for yourself in…. how old is your oldest? That many years. Plus about 9 months for the pregnancy.

That much dedication is draining.

It can zap our will to keep going.

woman laying on bed

Here’s the worst case scenario when this kind of draining lifestyle goes too far:

Parents who are too emotionally drained start wondering where they lost themselves to the demands of their children. Then they feel terrible, because what kind of a selfish person would take good care of themselves when their kids’ every whim goes unmet?

So they buckle down and make themselves focus on the kids even more. The feelings of wishing for something better keeps coming back, followed by the mommy- or daddy-guilt. This cycle eventually builds into resentment towards the child for keeping you from your hopes and dreams AND for keeping you in a constant state of guilt for not being the perfect parent. But the parent keeps trying to be a good parent.

They flip flop between resentment, which causes them to be impatient and harsh towards their children, and the guilt, which causes them to coddle and pamper their children in an attempt to fix the resentment with false love. The kids are confused because of this flip flopping and don’t know what to expect from mom or dad. This can cause the children to act out, which frustrates the parent.

The parent continues in a vicious spiral downward until they stop and fix the initial problem.

(By the way, I’m not dramatizing this. I’ve seen it in action and it’s a scary thing. It can cause child abuse, suicide, and other scary side effects when this cycle has taken its tole for an extended period of time.)

Please note- depression or anxiety disorders may need professional help of a doctor and/or counselor.  These steps should not take the place of professional help.

Free Self Care Guide 2

Click here to receive your FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care! 

And what is the problem?

We all need things. The basics include food, water, and shelter- you know, survival stuff.

But there are other needs that are just as important- like feeling emotionally connected with people, feeling sexually fulfilled, feeling safe, feeling competent, feeling proud of yourself, etc.

Click the image below!
Meet Maslow: How Understanding the Priorities of Those Around Us Can Lead To Harmony And Improvement

And every parent needs a reminder to take care of those things for themselves. And a reminder that taking care of themselves is not selfish.

I believe that every parent has felt twinges of resentment towards their children at times.

After all, they do keep us from doing things we want, and that’s not fun.

So here’s what I do when I start to notice the beginnings of resentment in my parenting. Act fast- Don’t let those feelings fester!

1) Don’t React

Like, you know, yelling or swearing or whatever other less-than-perfect discipline strategies I use when I respond without thinking.

That’s the first step for me- Don’t react.

If I do, I get myself and my kids deeper into a negative situation. Then, I have to deal with that before I can leave to take care of my own needs- which often means that I’m drained and resentful while trying to manage my way through a delicate parenting situation.

It just doesn’t work.

So the best situation is to wait to react. Then I don’t make things worse right when I really need a break the most.

Of course, this is so much easier said than done.

I usually realize that I have some unmet needs when I flip a lid for no good reason. Only then do I stop to ask myself, “What is really going on here?”

That’s when I realize how drained I am.

It’s not the best method, and I’m working on fixing it, but the silver lining is that I usually can stop myself from flipping a lid in the future once I’m aware of my own needs.

So one bad moment can prevent future bad moments.

2) Listen to Myself

A better solution is to be aware of my needs before I flip a lid.

I find that my body and mind give me clues to my own stability constantly- but they are easy to miss if I’m busy. These clues could be things like:

  • A headache

man covering his eye

  • Forgetting to eat or drink
  • Letting my kids get away with things that they usually wouldn’t get away with
  • Forgetfulness
  • Being late for things
  • Not putting effort into daily things- like getting dressed or putting on makeup
  • Short temper with my kids and my husband
  • Assuming that people around me have bad intentions in the things they do

Of course, not all of these things will apply to everyone, but these are some of the warning signs that tell me I’m forgetting to take care of myself.

If I can catch these things sooner, I can take action to fix the problem before I melt down.

When things get busy, it is hard to stop to evaluate yourself.

Self-evaluations can be difficult. People often don’t notice the effects of burnout in yourself until it’s done, even though there are warning signs. I often think to myself, “I can handle this. I can keep going.”

But that’s the problem. It’s like swimming out into the ocean. If I swim until I can’t swim any more, I will have no energy to get back to shore. I have to force myself to take a break before I am at the point where I can’t keep going.

For some great stress management tools, click the images below!

5-Minute Stress Managment: 7 Fast Acting Tension Killer Methods

The Magic of Happiness: How To Reduce Stress And Be Happy Every Day.: (How to be happy, Anti-stress picture book, Happiness, Positive Thinking, Stress Managment, Live stress-free, Overcome stress)

Pattern Coloring Book for Adults: Relax with this Calming, Stress Managment, Adult Coloring Book of Hand Drawn and Geometric Patterns (Adult Coloring Books) (Volume 3)

So, don’t be afraid to give yourself the relief you need early on. This will help prevent burnout rather than recovering from it.

3) Assess My Children’s Situation

This is the part of the process where you have to balance your responsibilities as a parent and your individuality as a human being.

That’s really tricky.

I have two rules of thumb about how to proceeded from here.

First rule- Once I have identified a need in myself, I next need to assess the severity of the need.

The ideal is that I would catch it soon so that I have a few days to find a good time for myself. If I can do that, I can take the steps I need to fix it. These could include:

  • Arranging a babysitter
  • Giving my husband a heads up that he might need to take the kids for an evening
  • Shopping for a treat
  • Finding quiet time after the kids are in bed
  • Arranging an outing

If I don’t catch it in time, I might only have hours or minutes to take care of myself before I have a freak out.

Second rule- Take care of the kids’ needs, not ALL their wants.

Click the image below!
Need It Or Want It? (Little World Social Studies)

Now is no time to be a super mom.

Now is time to simplify.

Again, this is balancing between parenting responsibilities and my own well being.

I can’t neglect the kids and I can’t neglect myself. So I have to figure out the difference between what HAS to happen and what COULD happen. I do a lot of extra things during the day that can be cut out during times of crisis. These might include:

  • Shopping (Usually there’s enough bits and pieces around the house to scrounge up a meal or having a few things in the freezer can save you on bad days.)
  • Cleaning (It can wait til tomorrow.)
  • Laundry (There’s always something to wear in the back of the closet.)
  • Dishes (That’s what paper plates are for!!)
  • Errands
  • Cooking (Cereal for dinner is just fine once and a while!)

Eliminating even one of these things might be enough to lighten the load.

There are things in my routine that I never will give up, even on hard days. You’ll have to make your own list of what is important to you and remember those essentials.

These are the only things I have to worry about during a crisis:

  • Hygiene for everyone (kids and myself)
  • School and homework
  • Meals (I mean that the kids won’t go hungry- but I still stand by my comment about cereal for dinner.)
  • Work (As in my work and my husband’s work- we still gotta have jobs to support our family!)
  • Safety

That’s it. Bare bones. These are the things we absolutely need to survive and retain our standing as responsible parents.

combat knife on tree trunk

It’s strangely relieving to simplify.

Just switching my focus is sometimes enough to give me the break I need. Just remembering that I don’t HAVE to do it all can give me the strength to do the essentials.

  • EXTREME Moments:

I want to take a minute to talk about those times when I only have hours or minutes to take care of myself or I’ll lose it.

There’s no time to plan a getaway.

And this usually happens in the thick of things, so the kids are usually right there and they need me.

And there is the problem. They need me, but I have nothing to give.

Stick to the same two rules- Assess the severity of your needs (we now know that this instance is very severe) and take care of the kids’ needs, not wants.

That means your kids’ needs within the next 10 minutes, which are usually very simple. They just need to be safe for 10 minutes. They don’t have to have their lunch in the next 10 minutes, so feel free to postpone eating. They don’t have to finish their homework in the next 10 minutes, so feel free to take a break from it.

Start there. Try to stay calm. Where is safe for them while you have some quiet time? What activities will keep them occupied so that you can get 5 minutes of peace?

man sitting on gray dock

This is where the good ol’ tactic of putting a movie on comes in handy. My kids don’t watch a lot of TV, so it holds their attention very well.

If you have a fenced backyard, you might send them outside.

Or maybe it’s best for them to go to their room for a while.

Whatever it is, simplify your mindset of what needs to happen. If you are at that point where you only have minutes, the only need that matters is that they stay safe for a sec.

That really frees up your options to meet your own needs. You can be a responsible parent and take care of yourself at the same time. There is no need to beat yourself up over 10 minutes of quiet in your room.

Besides the fact that you feel more rejuvenated after, you also set a good example for your child. They learned that when they are frustrated or overwhelmed, they can calmly take care of the necessities and then handle their own feelings in a safe and responsible way.

Children who know how to do this will become successful adults and model citizens.

4) Don’t Get Distracted

Be aware that your needs change every day, so a bubble bath isn’t going to fix the problem each time.

But it could be exactly what you need on some days!

Consider what you are craving at the moment. Here’s some of my favorites that fill my needs:

  • Eating a treat that I don’t usually get to enjoy
  • A cozy bath
  • A girl’s day with my best friends
  • A date night with my husband
  • Quiet time after the kids go to bed
  • A walk outside
  • Sitting around a campfire or being in nature
  • Getting dressed up and looking good
  • Having a clean house… or at least one clean room… even for 5 minutes
  • Going out to eat
  • Snuggling my husband
  • A warm cup of hot chocolate

Again, sometimes my needs are different so no single activity will solve all my problems. My poor husband often wants to help, but he can’t read my mind to know what to do for me.

I am in charge of communicating what I feel and what I need from him- in specific detail and in kind words.

I have made the mistake of asking him to pick up a treat, only to find that I wasn’t in the mood for what he brought home. It’s my job to make sure he knows if there is something specific I want or don’t want.

Don’t make the mistake of putting yourself off.

sleeping woman in train at daytime

Don’t swim until you’re exhausted- leave yourself energy to get back to shore. Don’t listen to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re fine right up until you’re not fine anymore.

You’re worth taking care of.

Really.

Besides, your well being directly affects your kids. See my post on Taking Care of Others When you Have Nothing Left to Give.

5) Don’t Forget your Significant Other

Although I am getting better at taking care of my own needs, I have to put extra effort into watching out for my husband.

grayscale photo of man and woman kissing each other

He has his own ups and downs in the parenting life and it’s my job to be a support to him when he needs a break, just like he supports me when I do.

So I’ve got to listen to him.

Not just his words, but I also watch him for signs that he might be getting burnt out. Some of my husband’s signs are the same as mine, such as irritability, but some are different.

  • Spending more time alone- like going outside or being on his phone
  • Comments about having a tough day at work- especially for several days in a row
  • Quiet, not talkative
  • Not laughing
  • Worries about money more than usual
  • Wants to buy things
  • Less interest in being healthy (poor diet and less exercise)

My husband’s warning signs are usually cured by some time away doing things he likes to do. Here are some things that usually fill my husband’s needs:

  • Fishing, camping, or other outdoors activities
  • Hanging out with the guys
  • Watching a movie (but not a chick flick- something he is excited about)
  • A good night’s sleep
  • A Saturday or a day off of work
  • A little lovin’ (Fun for me too!)
  • Date nights
  • Buying things like fishing gear
  • Going out to eat

It took some time and a lot of effort to learn these quirks about my husband, but I’m so glad I know them now!

Our life has been so much more balanced since we started being more aware of our individual needs and our needs as a couple. We look out for each other and give each other breaks OFTEN. We keep each other going. Our marriage is stronger and our kids are happier because we are happier. We are better parents.

black stacking stones on gray surface

I don’t always notice my husband’s burnout and he doesn’t always notice mine. We still have miscommunications about it. We still have to be patient with each other.

But things are better. We feel more balanced. We feel less strained.

It was so worth the effort to learn these things about my husband. If you have a partner, I strongly recommend this method!

 

Know that mommy/daddy guilt happens to every parent.

Catch it early and don’t let negative feelings fester.

Find out what you need as an individual and get those needs met. That will allow you to continue to have the strength to be a good parent over the long-term.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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Fill Yourself- Vital Tools for Balancing Parenting Life and Personal Life

Fill Yourself- 6 Vital Tools for Balancing Parent Life and Personal Life

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Updated- 2/1/2019

Hey, Parents!

Listen up, cause we need to talk about something.

  • Remember that day when you had free time all to yourself?
  • Remember when you got that super good night’s rest?
  • Remember that one time when you went out with your friends?
  • Remember when you took the time to make yourself look sexy?

Yeah, me neither…. That’s the problem.

I know that our kids need us and I’m not encouraging anyone to neglect their responsibilities to their kids.

But I wanna talk about balance as a parent. Specifically about taking care of yourself, inside and out.

(Please note- depression or anxiety disorders may need professional help of a doctor and/or counselor.  These steps should not take the place of professional help.)

Free Self Care Guide 2

Click here to receive your FREE Parent’s Guide to Self-Care! 

Fill Your Cup

Here’s an analogy to make my point.

Let’s say everybody has a cup that represents their needs- emotional, spiritual, physical, all of it. Each person is actively working to fill their cup. A full cup means that all of their needs and wants are being met. An empty cup means none of their needs and wants are being met.

Almost nobody has a full cup, because let’s face it, there’s always something else that we want. So it’s ok if our cup isn’t completely full.

As you go, you see people who have needs that you can fill. So you share some of your water with them.

That’s awfully nice of you! But what about your own cup?

It’s no big deal to share because you have ways of keeping your water levels up.

  • You go to work to get more money for groceries, so you don’t mind sharing a few dollars with a homeless man or that cup of sugar with your neighbor.
  • You listen to a friend’s venting, and in turn they let you vent to them. You’re both emotionally filled in the end.
  • You have a comfortable home, so you don’t mind letting your brother stay in the guest bedroom for a while until he has a place of his own.

Having all these needs met keeps your water up.

But it takes effort to keep it that way.

Glass Empty

So What??

You are constantly sharing your water with your kids. In fact, in proportion to other people, you give way more water to your kids than to anyone else! Again, this is no problem as long as you are replenishing your own water.

But every once and a while, you give ALL of your water to someone (maybe it’s your kids). And you are left with nothing.

Two things happen here:

  1. First, you feel drained and destitute because your needs aren’t being met. It takes significantly more work to refill an empty cup than it does to replenish bits of water here and there.
  2. Second, you are no longer capable of helping anyone else. You might want to, you might try to, but you can’t. I can’t stress this point enough- YOU CAN’T FILL ANYONE ELSE’S CUP, NOT EVEN A LITTLE, WHEN YOUR OWN CUP IS EMPTY.

coffee latte in white ceramic mug

As parents, we must take care of ourselves. Nobody else in the world cares for our kids the same way we do. Not their grandparents, not aunts and uncles, nobody. We must keep our cups full so that we can share our water with our kids, because nobody else will. At least, not like we do.

How do we recover from having an empty cup or a near empty cup?

First of all, let me say that this is different for everyone because each empty cup looks different. There are people who are rich, but their cups are still empty. I’ve seen people who have almost nothing, and yet they are happy. Their cups are full.

1) Get your Basic Needs Met

Material things are important- you know, basic necessities like food, water, shelter. Make sure you have the basic necessities in life first.

Then work on some of the following steps to fill your cup.

2) Your Purpose

Everyone needs a purpose in life.

It gives us drive, it gives us a will to carry on, it fills our cup.

So what is your purpose?

round white compass

Dig deep. Start by finding out what you care about. I recommend making a list of at least 50 things that you care about. I find that when I can’t think of any more items for my list, but I know I have to reach 50, I start to think harder about the question.

My answers start to get more and more creative and my true colors are revealed.

Once you have your list, step back and notice patterns.

What things are truly important to you?

  • Family?
  • Friends?
  • Success?
  • Financial Security?
  • Experiences?
  • Building a better world?
  • Religion?
  • Giving to others?

Once you know what you value, you have your direction. Do some research. Put some time and thought into what you can do NOW.

It’s good to have some overall goals, like “I want to get a promotion at work” or “I want to have a good relationship with my sister”. Goals like these take time to achieve, so it can be difficult to feel proud of your achievement right at this moment.

Those are good things to work for long-term, but make sure you have some goals that you can reach TODAY. This might be “I want to make my sister smile” or “I want to work for an extra 30 minutes to show my boss that I am invested in this company.”

person standing on arrow sign on road

If your cup is empty, you need some immediate wins to fill it back up. Make 1-2 goals that you can be successful at NOW. Then follow through.

Notice when you do well! Notice when you achieve something! Notice the good things you do.

And give yourself a reward! You earned it.

You would reward anyone else for doing something good, wouldn’t you? So reward yourself too!

It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to take time or money.

  • Even just an “I did it!” can be a reward.
  • Or maybe it’s “I’m going to stay up for an extra 20 minutes after the kids are sleeping and play my favorite game on my phone”.
  • Or “I’m gonna eat a piece of chocolate.”

It’s the small things that count.

Find a purpose, put in some effort, and reward yourself for your wins.

Click the image below for a great resource on having a purpose in life.

The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?

3) Your Look

Another cheap, easy thing you can do to fill your cup is to make yourself look pretty.

Seriously, this totally fills your cup.

Dress for your purpose. It’ll help you win at your goals. And it feels good to look good.

woman wearing pink long-sleeved dress standing inside building

  • Do you want to play with your kids more? Put on something that you can get paint on or muddy in.
  • Do you want to improve your performance at work? Look professional! Put your hair up, makeup on, shine those shoes, the whole nine yards!
  • Do you want to have a relationship with your teenage daughter? When was the last time you tried a new style? Maybe you can ask her to pick an outfit for you. Share in her tastes a little.

Your look says a lot. It really affects how you act. It affects how people perceive you. It affects your attitude.

Use that to your advantage!

Click the image below for some great (and inexpensive!) cosmetics that will help you feel gorgeous!

e.l.f. Assorted Mixed ELF Cosmetics Lot with No Duplicates (10 Piece)

SHANY All In One Harmony Makeup Kit – Ultimate Color Combination – New Edition

L.A. Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow, Nudes, 0.42 Ounce

6pcs Matte Velvety Liquid Lipstick Matte Liquid Lipgloss Waterproof Lip Gloss

SHANY Glamour Girl Makeup Kit – 48 Eyeshadow/4 Blush/6 Lip Glosses

4) Your Time

Time doesn’t cost any money. But it is a valuable and limited resource.

You’re splitting your time between your kids, your significant other, your job, your social life (if you have one- haha), sleep, chores, etc….

Oh, and I forgot, you need time for yourself.

selective focus photo of brown and blue hourglass on stones

And that’s just it.

Your water level can go down if you forget to take some time for yourself.

I love my time after my kids are all in bed. They’re down at 8pm every night so that I can have time with me and time with my husband.

Once I’ve got them down, I have to make sure that time is well spent. There are some nights that watching a movie is the perfect activity- I can turn my  brain off and relax and that’s exactly what I needed.

But there are other nights when watching a movie doesn’t do anything to fill my cup. I can’t afford to waste that precious alone time, so I need to be aware of my own needs.

I try to take the first 5 minutes after the kids go to sleep to think about the rest of my night. I ask myself, “What do I need in order to stay sane today?”

  • Do I need to snuggle my husband?
  • Do I need some chocolate?
  • Do I need a hot shower?
  • Do I need to read a book?
  • Do I need to play a game?
  • Do I need to get something done so that my to do list is shorter?
  • Do I need to turn off my brain for a while?

Once you know what you need, do that. Don’t get distracted. Let the dishes go. You’re more important than the dishes! 

Need a little extra help to organize your time? Click the image below!

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

5) Your Focus

Once you have done every reasonable thing that you can for yourself, start looking out for others.

Giving to others fills a need for you and is therefore necessary to have a full cup. That is the need to feel needed.

But this step must be saved for after you’ve got something in your cup again… So we are assuming that the previous steps have replenished your water levels a bit before you try this.

It also decreases the stress of worrying about all the things you wish were different about you. If you’re thinking about others, you’re not picking yourself apart.

This step cures those times when you are happy you’ve made progress, but you get down thinking about how far you have to go. Instead of focusing on your own road, start helping others along the way and you will get where you’re going before you even realize it.

man and woman holding hands on street

Again, you don’t want to give so much that you have nothing left to give. But you don’t want to be stingy or selfish either. You want to give a healthy amount.

How much is that?

I wish there was an easy answer, but the truth is that how much you can give changes based on how full your cup is at any given time.

You might be able to give more sometimes, but it’s ok to cut back if you need to fill your own cup for a while.

Pay attention to how you feel when you are giving to others and after you give to others.

  • Do you feel rejuvenated?
  • Like you want to do more?
  • Like you have new meaning in your life?
  • A sort of a glowing feeling that makes you want to find another person who needs  you so that you can help them too?

If you feel this way, you know you are sharing a healthy amount of water.

  • Do you feel drained?
  • Depleted?
  • Emotionally exhausted?

Then you are giving too much. Take a step back and help yourself. Then go ahead and offer what you can to others once you are built back up.

A focus on others can build us up. Just don’t let it wipe you out. Find balance.

6) Forgiveness

Nobody’s perfect, and that’s good.

Even if it’s cliché, it’s a good and true cliché.

person holding white petaled flower

But it doesn’t do you any good unless you really believe it.

  • If you really believe it, you can forgive yourself when you fail during this process.
  • You notice when your cup is empty or getting empty and you respond accordingly without beating yourself up for letting your cup fluctuate.
  • You accept the facts, try to understand what you can do to prevent problems in your future, learn from the situation, and move on.

Done.

Grudges against yourself (and others) drain your cup FAST!

So don’t let them sneak into your life.

Notice a problem. See it as a fact, not a personal fail. Make yourself better. No need to dwell on your mistakes.

These steps will help you fill your cup back up, and keep it full.

They help you have a healthy, balanced life even if you don’t have a lot of money or resources. And when you have that, you are in a good position to help others- especially your kids.

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

Please hare this post with any parent who needs to fill their cup!

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