The Single Mom’s Recipe for Kicking Resentment to the Curb

By Jamee Tenzer

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 them, 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 some more in a bigger size?  Thanks, Mom!

Your reaction?

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.  And you are happy once again, to belly up to the bar and throw back a few.  After all, he is your boy and you want to help him evolve into the wonderful person he is becoming.

So 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.

Then a quick dash to the gym between science project and fall musical, where you have time for a push up and 2 squats before running home to take a shower and eat dinner over the sink.

And as you get back in the car to drive back to school for the 3rd time in 5 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.  Plus 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.

Now is the time that a bit of resentment can find its way into that confusing cocktail.

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.

3 Steps to Keeping Resentment out of that Cocktail:

  1. The next time resentment darkens your door, take a moment to feel it fully.  Getting familiar with it is the best way to make sure you see it coming so you can nip it in the bud.
  2. Notice what your limits are and what your basic needs are.  Maybe you can go a week without going to the gym, but more than that and you begin 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 Downton Abbey is going to 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.
  3. Explain your limits to your child BEFORE you’ve had so many cocktails laced with resentment you begin to slur your words. 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.  Why not learn it from the master?