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SAHM goes back to work after 10 years - how do you cope with the resentment?

(127 Posts)
MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 10:19:31

So I yelled at DH this morning that I hated him and that I would keep telling him that until he left - I don't want him to leave (yes, I know v. unreasonable behaviour from me), I'm just finding it difficult to cope with my feelings of resentment. At least I think that's what I'm feeling.

AIBU to think that just because I only work part-time (so that the family continues to 'function') I shouldn't have to run the place!!! Yes, I know there are women that work full-time and run the home which is why I'm writing this in the hope of gaining some perspective.

This post could be epic so I'll stop now and write more throughout the thread as necessary. I'm a fairly regular poster but have name changed.

MrsLyman Tue 12-Feb-13 23:14:04

Sorry I know this thread ended a few days ago but it was still open on my phone and I just wanted to say thank you OP for starting it and for being so open about how you are trying to work through your feelings about your situation as it's really helped me gain some clarity about how I feel about my life at the moment.

My situation is quite different in that my children are both under 2 but the feelings of resentment are oh so familiar. My main issue revolves around moving from feeling like we were equal partners in a relationship, both our outside the home goals counted, we could both work as much as we wanted etc. Now 2 maternity leaves in close succession later I am behind in where I planned to be in work, whilst DH has been promoted. My life seems to revolve around nappies, dishes and washing and I feel guilty about anytime taken for myself.

There are days when I just want to stamp my feet and shout it's not fair over and over again until someone listens to me. The general attitude (or at least the one my head focuses on) seems to be that
because I'm a woman and I've had children my true ambition has been achieved. If I go out to work it should be through financial necessity not because I enjoy my job and have other goals I want to achieve. I am just so eaten up with envy that my DH gets to keep being him whilst I have to become someone new.

Although that is unfair as he has also made many changes to his lifestyle.

Anyway I'm rambling now but thanks once again OP and to the other wise posters who have given me much to think about in a very positive way.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 19:13:11

Thank you all very much for taking the time to post. I agree as does DH that something needs to change. Neither of us are sure what exactly that is at the moment.

I will take on board what you said Hesterton about the importance of being needed. I'm glad that you are in a happy place right now. Love the sound of your house and eating dahl and drinking wine...

MrsHoarder Sun 10-Feb-13 14:34:58

The first thing that jumps out is 12 journeys. How many of those are drop off, dash home, be there for 10 mins, come out again to pick up? Can you make an hour out for yourself in that, go to a cafe or pub with a book and have a nice quiet nonalcoholic drink?

And yes to writing everything down. If there is a list by the door of who needs what then at those ages they should remember if for themselves. Get a cleaner as you can afford it, don't just rail about the cleaning needing doing. And try to get the DC together logistically. So if there is a tiny tiny benefit from the 9yo going to a different school to the 11yo consider whether it is really worth the logistical headache of having to pickup from two schools etc. See if they can do sports clubs in the same place at the same time. See if a music teacher can come to you.

Finally as you have to drive everywhere I assume you live in a village? If so, is it time to consider moving to a town where the DC will be able to be more independent in terms of getting to activities from about 10-11yo instead of being dependent on you driving them everywhere until they pass their driving test?

Yes your current lifestyle isn't working, but it could be fairly small changes that would make it work. As long as you sustain your DC's education, and yours and DH's careers (not necessarily all in their current locations) then everything else can be changed if you want it to.

feelingdizzy Sun 10-Feb-13 13:56:20

Hissy,I was thinking the same,I really try and put myself in other peoples shoes and realise that things aren't always as they seem.

But I am like you parenting alone have done for many years,working full time,what gets me about these threads is that I don't find it that hard really,but couldn't imagine having the choices that are presented ,part-time,cleaner,dh sharing chores.

I don't want or need sympathy I have a fab life,but would really want people (op)to appreciate the choices they have and exercise that choice because sometimes its not always there.

Hesterton Sun 10-Feb-13 13:38:23

I agree Janey.

boodles Sun 10-Feb-13 13:34:41

Hesterton, I am nodding like mad at your posts.

janey68 Sun 10-Feb-13 13:33:55

Hesterton- yes children may survive having an unhappy parent. But surely most of us want more than survival?
My point is really that generally , children are pretty adaptable creatures and can deal with straightforward practical changes more readily than they can deal with the more abstract feelings of sensing that mum or dad isn't happy.

Hesterton Sun 10-Feb-13 13:27:11

Children often survive having an unhappy parent though... it shouldn't be another thing to beat ourselves up for as women. Ultimately I think it is down to self-awareness and the ability to think through these situations and try to put them right, as the OP is doing. Value them and communicate with the family as honestly as is appropriate for their ages.

I dislike the chorus of 'spolit princess', because if you were a nurse with two patients in pain, one with a double amputation and the other with agonising toothache, you would not deny pain relief to either. Both sets of pain are valid.

bigTillyMint Sun 10-Feb-13 13:20:28

Janey, I think that is so true - What's difficult and stressful for children isn't the practiclq childcare and home adjustments - its sensing that a parent isn't happy

janey68 Sun 10-Feb-13 13:15:36

You do sound as though you're reflecting on your behaviour and feelings and genuinely wanting things to be different.
Yes- the martyr mummy thing does add to the guilt and is extremely destructive . Children need to be loved , secure, encouraged. They dont need to be sent to the 'perfect' school, or to have mum
Ferrying them round for 3 hours a day. They really don't. I think the post upthread which describes how as these things have gradually crept up on you is spot on. You haven't intended this. But you've taken a big step
In recognising that you've created a situation which is making you frustrated and unhappy. And your dh and children (and you) deserve better

FWIW my own mum thought she was doing the 'right thing' by spending most of her adult life either at home or working in very part time jobs way beneath her true capability. I think she would have been happier seeking more fulfilling work outside the home. My siblings and I would have coped with having a front door key and getting our own tea a couple of times a week. What's difficult and stressful for children isn't the practiclq childcare and home adjustments - its sensing that a parent isn't happy

Hesterton Sun 10-Feb-13 13:12:43

Sorry I made you cry sad

I have been through various things (currently trying to get through the menopause!) but right now, I am siting in my clean, quiet, peaceful house with a bowl of dahl I just made and a glass of rose wine. The house is clean and elegant and lovely because a) my DP and I both work long hours and decided spending money on a cleaner was worth it and b) there are no DC here to claim space and c) My DC are financially independent and I am older and more senior at work so I can spend a bit more on having my home the way I like it.

Without children at home, my house feels a bit too quiet sometimes and I can't pretend I don't miss them and the hurly-burly of being needed. Being needed is more important than I realised... I know this now with hindsight. They're all doing so well though in their chosen fields, and I wouldn't want it any other way. My marriage to their dad didn't make it for a number of reasons, but I have a very lovely man who makes me feel valued, and work needs me!

You will be ok; make a pact with yourself though not to tell your DH that a) you hate him, or b) you want him to go unless you REALLY know you do. I think I probably did damage that way. I got so frustrated.

bigTillyMint Sun 10-Feb-13 13:11:25

The DC will be fine - it was a one-off melt-down.

And reorganise your lives so that it all works better!

mumblechum1 Sun 10-Feb-13 13:05:34

I've always worked PT and always done all the domestic stuff in the 22.5 hours that I have "free" while DH is working.

Seems fair to me.

If you are both working FT then you should either share the domestic stuff equally or both pay someone else to do it for you.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 13:01:49

janey68 I am sure there is some truth in this: "The trouble with martyr mummies is that once the resentment starts to surface as it is with you, it can totally backfire because all your intentions about wanting to sacrifice your life for the children are a waste once they realise how you feel."

It adds to the stress/gravity of it all.

Hissy Sun 10-Feb-13 13:00:25

I'm trying reeeely hard to be sympathetic. Honestl, I am, but the

"I tried working FT for a few months and it wasn't sustainable' comment meant I had to hide the knives.

I'm on my own, work FT, and have no-onme to help with either the school run, OR the funding of my childminders.

If working FT is not sustainable, wtf am I doing then?

Who shall I verbally abuse? I sincerely hope your DC didn't hear you. You should be ashamed of what you said. You have no idea how well your bread is buttered.

Look at the children's activities, and adjust as required to make them work for you. 1e8 wdm car journeys is a waste of resources. Could you walk/cycle/make a round trip of it? Your H could organise the dinner on the days he works from home, but it might mean you batch cook to achieve it.

Screaming at a man that actually does do a fair bit is not on.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 12:56:39

DCs are 5,9 and 11. They are good kids, no trouble and a fairly good help at home.

janey68 Sun 10-Feb-13 12:56:06

If you have decided to have 3 children and send them to 3 different schools because you think that's what's best, then you can't really complain and stamp your feet when that impacts on your daily life.

There are options here. You could move house. Ok, it's a major thing but your dh already commutes for nearly 2 hours and the school runs sound horrendous so yeah, you've created a monster which suits none of you. Or, you could do what many parents of several children do and accept that their lives involves some compromise. We decided on a primary for dc1, and frankly, dc2 had to fit into that. Obviously if he'd been really unhappy or ill suited we would have rethought, but we didn't go out of our way to scour all the other schools in the vicinity just in case there was one which suited him slightly better. Family life is all about compromise. You cannot possibly run a harmonious family while trying to meet every little detail of need for each child, regardless of how inconvenient that is. You sound tbh as though you've been a martyr mummy- deciding that you had to be at home for 10 years, that a cleaner was a sign of weakness, that you are failing your children unless they all go to different schools and do violin lessons... The trouble with martyr mummies is that once the resentment starts to surface as it is with you, it can totally backfire because all your intentions about wanting to sacrifice your life for the children are a waste once they realise how you feel.

Start living your own life and your dh and children will thank you for it

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 12:54:27

JumpingJackSprat, I did think that getting professional help might be the answer. Starting this thread is a way forward. I know that what I did was wrong, I'm not condoning it in any way.

gorionine Sun 10-Feb-13 12:51:43

How old are your Dcs? can they not contribute to household chores? appologies if you already answered it and I missed it.

simplesusan Sun 10-Feb-13 12:51:16

I do think that part of the problem is your desire to send your dcs to the best possible school. Sorry but there is a consequence to that- time.

You either accept that you will be trailing them around for a very long time or you send them to the nearest school.

I do get the frustration of organising though. I do the majority of this. If I leave dh to do the shopping then I have to accept he will not always shop around for the best price. Sometimes I get annoyed other times I just think well, trade off again, I save time but pay for it financially!

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 12:50:23

Hesterton, your post has made me cry. Thank you so much. Tell me more about where you are at now.

fluffyraggies Sun 10-Feb-13 12:49:47

2 of my 5 PT jobs were cleaning other peoples houses. I hated and resented doing it.

But that was my problem wink

Hesterton Sun 10-Feb-13 12:47:44

I get what you are saying, I think. Remember that you gradually learnt how to be a homemaker, one baby at a time, building in each school run/extra-curricular activity etc one at a time. You built up the skills to manage your life gradually. He's not in the same position as you. There is some expertise in managing a home, it isn't that easy, especially if you have a demanding lifestyle. It's a scrappy, juggling sort of life in ways, where you try and hold a dozen things in your head at any one time without really being able to focus on one thing deeply. Not everyone can do it well; there are three children, all of whom you both want to have interesting childhoods full of opportunities to manage as well as the home itself.

I called those days my cotton-wool-brain-days, and now they're passed my brain is much more settled. When I started back at work when the DC were between 7-13, I shone with the joy of the very focus of the workplace but resented the return to my bitty juggling home stuff, servicing everyone. No-one's fault, just how I felt. I'm sure it came out as anger sometimes.

Now you are experiencing the joy of being able to escape to a working life you clearly love, where you can concentrate - or rather, you should be able to concentrate - on work alone, as presumably he has done for years. But instead your head is still filled with the anxieties of arrangements and a hundred little threads you feel you shouldn't have to hold on to all the time. I think that's what you resent.

Really, if you can afford a cleaner, get one. It will make a huge difference, particularly in terms of resentment felt both ways. That's one reason why you work when what you're earning is not needed for the basic, basic stuff. You work to give yourself a better life balance, and to enjoy your non-working time as much as possible. You aren't enjoying yours.

Abd pare back a bit, the DC can get the bus everyday, can't they? Cut an activity or two? Get a visiting violin teacher? There mmust be strategies you can employ when you are feeling better and working together after this row.

MsGasket Sun 10-Feb-13 12:46:02

We really must get a cleaner. It was a New Year's Resolution to do so. I made myself feel better about doing so by suggesting we got one on a Friday so that the house could be tidy for the weekend for everyone to 'enjoy'.

There is nothing wrong with being a cleaner. My mum enjoyed her job and yes, it meant that she could work part-time during the day when we were at school.

Part of me feels that I should be able to clean my own mess. We've all tried being less messy, and everything has a place iykwim, all labour saving devices are installed etc but I just hate doing it. And I don't think it's because I'm lazy/can't be arsed.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 10-Feb-13 12:45:14

you need to stop this and now. your children wont remember the apology as much as they will remember you saying that in the first place. they were crying about it for fucks sake. you say you havent caused his self esteem issues but by god you cant be helping! you need to get some professional help from somewhere before you drive him away and break up your family.

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