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How do I get rid of the resentment?

(28 Posts)
OrmIrian Mon 04-Aug-08 13:16:27

I?ve posted on here before about how I feel a little resentful my DH for leaving me to be the main earner for years as well as the chief cook and bottle-washer and the school runner and the main carer. For various complex reasons that's the way it worked out. Now he's going to be a LSA - which is great as he can do the afternoon school run (small cheer!) and we won't have holiday childcare stress anymore (huge cheer!). But because he will get paid peanuts I have to go back to work full-time. I have worked all the time my children were little - taken basic maternity leave - and I only went part-time when my 3rd child was born. And, to be absolutely honest, I wanted to be a SAHM, or at least to have the chance to see if I was any good at it. I seem to have missed my children's early years in some ways - always thinking about what I had to the next day, working late if there was a problem, being too tired to be the constantly patient and involved mother I wanted to be. I hadn't honestly given any thought to whether I would work full-time again - I think in my heart I was still waiting for some miracle that meant maybe I could give up work altogether. And my youngest is now 5 and my eldest is off to secondary school in September. So bang goes that - babyhood, toddlerdom, all done and dusted and back to full-time work I go sad. DH (and many of my friends) have asked me if I'm OK with the situation - I've said that I was because I didn't want to get into discussions about it and because it was the only logical thing to do anyway. And I like to pretend to be logical...

Life is going to get easier. Much easier in many ways. I won't be trying to work and get to school in time for 3pm. I won't spend ages arranging summer holiday childcare and calling in favours from all and sundry. It will be lovely to come home to a house full of people and (if I'm very lucky) dinner cooking and lunchboxes sorted etc (hmm). So I should be happy. But I'm feeling so sad and a little angry. It's like a door has closed on part of my life before I had a chance to enjoy it.

How to get over this before it boils over and causes rows and pain?

RubyRioja Mon 04-Aug-08 13:19:13

I think maybe you shoudl talk to DH about having some regrets. It does not mean you made wrong choices, but every choice means some sacrifice.

It may well improve your family time at weekends too?

OrmIrian Mon 04-Aug-08 14:23:05

Thanks ruby. I suppose I could broach the subject. Carefully. It's all happened so fast I just went with the flow. Only just started to analyse what I feel about it.

RubyRioja Mon 04-Aug-08 14:42:24

I find it always helpful to voclaise this type of thing with DH. Even if I have to say, I know it is irrational but (if it is), or I don't expect you to 'fix' this, but this is the way I feel.

FWIW as a SAHM (mostly) I still feel their babyhood/toddlerhood has disappeared in a flash with me up to my ears in domestic stuff or hanging out with friends rather than being an earth mother. I can honestly say I was not the patient mum I expected to be, though involved in every tiny detail that they have no recollection of at all.

It may be that with your youngest being 5, you are moving to the next phase and that makes you nostalgic, which I think is true for everyone, even if there is a sense of relief with it.

Can you plan some lovely weekends from September doing things so you have them to look forward to and to set the tone of the new freer family unit?grin

HonoriaGlossop Mon 04-Aug-08 15:22:57

Orm I agree with Ruby that you do need to tell him how you feel. He needs to know that this has not come without cost to you. He sounds a very lucky man, too; I mean, I would LOVE to be an LSA at a school because then I could train as a teacher, which has been a dream of mine for ages. However DH can't support me to do that - I need to bring in a decent wage. So your husband is very, very lucky that he is able to take this job and I hope he knows it....

agree it's a very good way to say it that you don't expect him to fix it BUT you still want him to know.

elfsmum Mon 04-Aug-08 15:36:20

maybe the resentment isn't against DH maybe it's against the circumstances, as well as the children just getting older

As a full time working mum, again basic maternity, back at work by the time LO's were 4 months old, now they are 6 and 8 and I am so envy of the wives of men I work with who are SAHM and the mums I see at school who "appear" to be able to leisurely chat at the school gates whilst I'm making a mad dash from school to work, work to school etc they can get involved with school, I can't

two blokes I work with as soon as their wives got PG they decided not to work any more - oh how I'd have loved that choice, but we couldn't have paid our mortgage.

My baby making days are behind me, and before I've known it mine are growing up and independant and I feel like I've missed out.

we tried to see if I could take a part time job when DS2 was born and circumstances meant I couldn't, I looked at moving profession to work in a supermarket, and to be able to meet our bills I'd have had to work a 90 hour week, so I stayed in the profession i am in, i too have always been the higher earner - we looked at cutting back on all that was non essential but couldn't do it

so in short I guess I'm saying try not to blame DH for circumstances, and I'm sure if you talk to him and explain how you're feeling he probably feels the same

i try to focus on the time I do get with them and try to make that as "quality" as i can, really look forward to holidays and christmas.

I always remember my mum saying to me that once they can walk they don't need you as much and once they're in school you become no more than a social organiser of their diary

I think it's us that feel we've missed out, I'll bet our kids barely even notice, it all goes by far too quickly

OrmIrian Mon 04-Aug-08 21:22:44

"I think it's us that feel we've missed out, I'll bet our kids barely even notice, it all goes by far too quickly"
Thanks elfsmum, I'm sure that's true. But it's such a big thing to miss out on. The other day DD was catching thistledown. She wanted to make a wish. I never told her that it was called 'fairies' and that it was lucky to catch it... someone else did. And there are so many gaps in their lives where I feel I missed out. Not important but it hurts a, not her. As far as I know....maybe she will resent my absence later, who knows?

I must admit that some of the men at work with SAH partners are envious that I work as well. I always want to tell them that they're lucky to have someone there - our home is chaotic all the time.

honoria - I think the knows he's lucky. I once made a crack (under the influence of wine) to a friend that 'someone has to pay the bills so he can follow his dream'. Not kind but true. And I know he would have liked me to stay at home if I wanted to but it wasn't possible. Annoying thing is that he spent 4 years training as a teacher but never used his qualification...which adds to my annoyance a little hmmAnd since then he has had a succession of low-paid jobs that have been either shifts or long hours. I even suggested he stay at home to at least save me the childcare and school run stuf but he didn't want to. I have always plugged the gaps. And it rankles.

I think I must formulate a nice way of saying this without starting WWIII...

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 12:36:54

We had a quick chat last night. I kept it light and didn't go into the past. Expressed how I felt a bit short-changed about going back to work full-time. He was sympathetic but what can he really say? I am just going to have to swallow this and think about something else.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 05-Aug-08 17:37:01

Why can't he use his teaching qualification? Even if not as a teacher there are jobs at that level which pay much more. Why is it he's not ever earned more when clearly you would have liked some time at home in their early years? Why are you so easy on him?

<hope that doesn't sound anti - YOU, I think you sound like an angel - just genuinely can't see why it's all come down on you?>

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 19:33:37

Ahhhhh......I guess I'm easy on him because of the circumstances at the time he qualified. His dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer half way through Yr3 and DH got seriously depressed - prozac and counselling - and then died just after he qualified at which point DH basically had a sort of breakdown (just before DS#1 was born - FIL was a useless selfish arse who treated his poor family like sh*t - so true to form he managed to spoil that for DH too sad). So teaching a class of rowdy kids (he was in a really scary school) was not that easy for him. But I didn't really beleive that was it for ever! That he wouldn't ever teach again. But I've been nervous of broaching the subject. And he's reacted badly when I have. So we've stayed off it.... And telling a man he's a bloody useless provider doesn't usually go down to well IME.

I'm a cast-iron coper. I take up the slack whenever someone leaves any. Bad habit that I suppose I need to break.

Thanks for sticking with this tedious whinge. I suspect I'm a hopeless case. I do sometimes dream of finding a lovely rich man who would look after me.... but I don't suppose there's many going spare grin

moondog Tue 05-Aug-08 19:37:38

So he's arsed about and not done much in the home??? Christ, i would be livid.

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 19:38:36

My bloody mother has compounded it all this evening as well. 'Oh darling why don't you come and live near us. I'm sure DH could find another job as a....erm....thingy assistant. And the children could go to a nice school'. Yep mum and when you hand us a few 100k to buy a house in your area we'll move hmm After all we have so little going for us as it is. And our children are doing so badly at school. Just once, for her to say 'well done, you are doing an amazing job'.


RubyRioja Tue 05-Aug-08 19:43:49

Sounds like you were (both) coping with a lot at that time, and so maybe that is where the 'blame' lies for you feeling short changed. I know I felt my dd started school in less than perfect circs as my mum was terminal and my dad had just died. And I was pg.

Actually most of my life feels like getting by in half arsed fashion.

I think you sound as if doing a great job - had you pushed Dh at the time to teach ft, he might have become very ill and adversely affected your lives that way.

However, the future is a different matter - you can plan together for the life you want. Be the architect of your own life to pinch a phrase of 6 feet under!

Miggsie Tue 05-Aug-08 19:45:26

OrmIrian, even if you do not discuss it with DH I don't think you should let this niggle away inside you, it sounds like it may end up eating you up with regret.
I feel regret that I work and DD is in nursery while my best mate is a SAHM.
To this end I am going part time so I am there at the school gate but it's a massive drop in wages and I am currently chief wage earner so we have agreed to tighten our belts for a few years.
Even if you can't do this short hours yourself, talk to someone, even if you have to find a counsellor because this feeling won't disappear and it could cloud your life and negatively impact the way you feel about your DH (which is currently not very postive).

Are you begining to resent that he is in fact a child you also take care of? He'll let you do it as long as you do do it.
Could you reduce your hours and claim working tax credit to cover the difference while asking him to find some form of paying income?

You talk of this being a new stage in your life, what about DH's life? Surely he can take a little sea change too?

Good luck.

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 19:47:21

moondog - he has actually been working very hard. Long days, hard physical job. But earning v little and with huge expenses. But it was working hard not smart I guess.

moondog Tue 05-Aug-08 19:48:38

Well that's not on, not if he isn't pulling his weight in other ways. I can see logic of not earning/earning very little if you are a great homemaker but not otherwise..

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 19:51:41

He will be now. As he will now be working school hours. So I will be free of school run etc. So for the future things will be better. But I still feel sad and a little angry.

miggsie - I am going back to work full-time. I have been part-time for 5 yrs. But he's now taking on the part-time role.

rookiemater Tue 05-Aug-08 19:52:59

Is it absolutely vital to pay the bills that you go back f/t ?

It does sound as if you are always the one who holds things together and, even if it was only for a few months it would be nice for you to have the opportunity to enjoy an easier pace of life. Plus I suspect that your optimistic assumption that because your DH has more capacity he will be doing the lunchboxes, making dinner, doing more house work and organisation, may be just that, optimistic assumptions.

How do you get rid of the resentment? Darned if I know, I feel resentful enough about working 4 days a week and sorting out all child care and sorting out all housework even though DH has a good full time contract and does a reasonable amount about the house. Therefore in your situation I would be livid, I don't think continuing to keep quiet is the answer, you have valid needs and concerns and if you don't express them in a constructive fashion they will tumble out of you when you least want them to.

Orm, just a ton of sympthy coming your way from someone who's in a similar situation.

No answers, just keep talking though and try to find happiness for yourself in new ways all the time.

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 20:03:34

Yes rookie it is really. Otherwise money will be very tight and that will add to the tensions. I have made it very clear just how much I am looking forward to having help with the DCs in the am, and not having to do lunchboxes etc. He's got the message! I won't let things carry on as they are.

thanks rosemary. Nice to know I'm not the only one in this position smile

findtheriver Tue 05-Aug-08 20:05:31

I agree that it's important to talk to your DH about how you feel. Vocalising it is hugely important so that you feel understood.
Taking everything into account, it does sound as though you've both had a tough time, and that taking on the LSA job is really the right thing for your DH at the moment. It doesnt mean he wont ever teach again does it? He's just doing his best for the moment. (And incidentally, being a LSA is a really worthwhile job and men are like goldust, so it'll do wonders for his self esteem).
You've had five years of being part time, so try to look at the positives. A lot of couples have no choice but to both work full time from when their children are small. And I'm sure a lot of full time working dads sometimes feel that they are missing out on the home and children stuff. I think you need to let him know how you feel, and maybe talk in terms of reviewing in a few years time, but then go with the flow. There are some huge advantages. My DH was able to do the picking up from school for a few years due to his work commitments and our children have a really excellent close relationship with him. It made me realise how a lot of children actually miss out when it's always mum doing these things.

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 20:07:22

"It made me realise how a lot of children actually miss out when it's always mum doing these things."

That is true. And they love it when he turns up at school instead of me storming in late looking harrassed and refusing to buy them ice-creams.

DeeRiguer Tue 05-Aug-08 20:17:10

is part or any of it down to the fact that there are so many big changes are happening at to school/bigger school and you, in lead role as the cast iron coper (great phrase btw) are plugging the gaps around your dh's dreams hopes and limitations..again
without you being considered or heard?

its not crazy to want someone to be in the same team as you and feel the give and the take

fwiw i am sahm and would have given my eye teeth in some stages of this (ds 4 now) to have some other semblence of life other than nappies and the drudge the kitchen and the drudge .. repeat on constant cycle.. ad infintum....

what i am trying to say i guess is that i can see its a melancolic (sp) time right now
and maybe some of this feels magnified a bit..
your kids will need you as much as ever as they are older but differently and my idea of perfect motherhood would have been to keep my sanity some work and some sahm part time..iyswim..

i think it best to focus on future, plan for longer term where your dh can teach adults in evenning or do some other work to bring him in as the more full time earner in a few years?..
but a plan and a thing you both want and to work towards might be a good thing right now?

oi Tue 05-Aug-08 20:17:33

I agree with everyone else. If you haven't told him how you're feeling, he may not have realised what's going on.

It is hard, isn't it. Also doubly hard for you as you feel you are kissing goodbye to what you wanted and that's always difficult.

I think the sadness and anger also may be pent up emotion for how you think things might be (with you working full time and still having to do a lot of 'housework').

OrmIrian Tue 05-Aug-08 20:18:00

BTW thanks for your tolerance everyone. I keep expecting someone to give me a slap round the chops and tell me to stop being such a wimp. I have feeling like a f*ing victim - I always used to despise women who let themselves be walked over. But it sort of happened - as life so often does. I do sometimes thing that I would be better giving him the old heave-ho and making him cope without me for a while. How about National Service for middle-aged men....

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