Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On resentment

My dad and stepmother are here for the Great Turkey Slaughter of 2006. SM and I spent several hours today looking for a decent interim dollhouse for Perp and a tea kettle for me. We found the kettle ("This is a righteous kettle!") but not the dollhouse. Alas. It's too bad because Perp only has enough toys to last her until she's 4.

As we drove hither and yon, SM accosted me about the idea of having another baby. Maybe. Some day. I don't know. It's not like I have to decide right now; I've got all these eggs laid by. Heh. Mostly her concern was that I would grow to resent the kids, perhaps the last one the most, and not fully realize my potential, whatever that means.

I pointed out that I already resent my kids from time to time, and adding another to the mix probably wouldn't make things a whole lot worse.

It makes me crazy in the head when I hear women say that motherhood is the best job they've ever had, that it's the most fulfilling experience they can imagine, and nothing can compare to the joys of being a mom.

Bullshit, I say. Bullshit! Yes, it's got moments of incredible joy and wonder, and I do enjoy myself immensely a lot of the time. Probably most of the time, in fact. But I wipe up shit. I catch puke in my hands. I listen to screaming, whining, and the same question six or seven times in a row all day. Every day. I don't think I complain about it much, the shit and puke part, at least. It's part of the job, after all. It's even in the job description.

But spending the day with a 2 year old and an infant (or just the toddler, actually) is tiring. And frustrating. And funny. And it is fulfilling, though not endlessly or totally. To suggest (by omission if not by actively saying so) that it's a lie of eternal bliss is to deny the real and deep feelings of, yes, resentment and despair that motherhood can bring.

If a mother tells you that she never resents her children, she's either lying or living in complete denial. I truly believe that. It's impossible to go from living your life as an independent adult who can engage in intelligent conversation and operate a lawnmower to a flabby-brained nutjob who can't remember to eat and who speaks in third person (you know you do it) without missing your former self and resenting her loss just a little bit. It's perfectly natural. It saddens me that more women won't admit their feelings and acknowledge the loss. I think overall it's a fair trade, but that doesn't mean I don't have moments of buyer's remorse.

When I talk with my other mom friends and hear them making frustrated noises, I make it a point to 'fess up to my feelings of inadequacy as a mother and of occasional resentment and anger toward my children. It does not mean I don't love them, or that I am somehow not a good mother. It means I am human and fallible and not afraid to admit it. Nothing wrong with that.


gearhead mama said...

Amen, sistah. As you well know, I've been spilling the blood and gore of resentment all over my blog lately. I dunno if it makes for good reading, but it sure makes me feel better ... to write it, and to read it from others.

Devan said...

heh, I take my resentment out on my husband, even when it's not his fault.
I'm only partly kidding.

Anyway, good points, I actually DO think that being a mother has brought me more joy than anything in life though.
Fulfilling as in stimulating intelluctually? Not so much.

And there are most definitely parts that are NOT joy filled. No doubt about it.
Puke, shit and sleep deprivation top the list of the bad parts of the job.

s@m said...

LOVE it! What a great post!

I take my resentment out on my husband. All. the. time.

LOL @ the "flabby-brained nut job" no truer words have been spoken.

Snoskred said...

Absolutely brilliant post. ;) What you've typed even speaks to someone like me who has decided not to have kids for my own selfish reasons. Well, maybe not so selfish. I just know it's not in me to do it. It is a big job, it's a huge commitment. I have cats, they're my kid substitutes. ;)

I'm trying to visit as many of the NaBloPoMo blogs as I can and I thought I'd say hi, I liked your blog.. :)