Resentment In Motherhood And What It Can Teach Us

Aug 04, 2023

If you’ve experienced that simmer of resentment in motherhood, this post is for you. Spoiler alert: it’s not all bad.

Summertime, oh how I longed for your lack of structure.

And here we are, without structure, and I feel … what’s the word … unstable?

No matter what time of year, though, resentment seems to find a way to rear its ugly head. Maybe you can relate with the example I’m about to give you…

Resentment In Motherhood and What It Has To Teach Us

This week I’ve cobbled together some babysitting to give myself some fully focused time. But the amount of coverage I have doesn’t line up with the amount of work I want to accomplish.

Earlier this week, here’s what my husband’s day looked like:

  • Waking up on his own
  • A 3-hour flying lesson (a hobby he’s passionate about)
  • A solid stretch of uninterrupted focus work
  • A trail run
  • Getting cleaned up to go to a dinner for a volunteer organization he belongs to

Amazing day, right?

My day:

  • Waking up at 5 am with our 6 year old, after I had joined him at midnight
  • Being on the kids for four hours
  • Having 4 hours of sitter coverage, during 50% of which I actually focused
  • Being on the kids for three more hours, including taking them to a swim lesson
  • Finding out my husband was on a trail run instead of being ready to receive us and help with the kids’ showers so we wouldn’t feel rushed to go to HIS dinner that I agreed to but wasn’t actually enthusiastic about

Oh hello, Resentment, my old friend. Thanks for reminding me that only *I* am responsible for getting my needs met.

Two kids about to jump in the pool.

Analyzing My Own Resentment In Motherhood

So, let’s do a little break down and see what was going on here.

The self-coaching is about checking my thoughts and feelings against my values so I can make changes to my actions and get into alignment.

Sorry, no quick win in this post. This shit takes work.

Begrudging him for getting exercise?

That’s not in alignment with my values; of course I want him to get exercise. Looking at it a little closer: He assumed there was enough time for all he wanted to do, while I didn’t carve out the time for all I wanted to do.

Expecting him to help with the post-swim pre-dinner clean up but not communicating it?

That’s not in alignment with my values.

Mom helping her child wash their hands.

Feeling it was unfair that he got to do two extracurriculars (flying and running) and I didn’t get to do any?

That raises two points —

(1) I want the time I’m “on” the kids to be appreciated. Because I was on the kids and because I lined up some childcare, he got to do all that.

(2) I still believe I need to “justify” childcare by using it efficiently for productive work. Gentle reminder, self, I’m human. I’m going to be inefficient sometimes. I get to do things for me sometimes.

Begrudging time I’m spending with the kids instead of relishing it?!

Definitely not in my values. How lucky am I that I get to set my own hours and work from home. Self, remember, “prepared and present.” Live it and keep living it.

Agreeing to go to a function I didn’t actually want to go to — well, that’s in my values insofar as our participation is important to him, and I want to show up in ways that are important to him. The thing that went wrong here was “spending” my goodwill on resentment.

SO! Here we are, and here’s the thing: none of this is a big deal that requires a drastic overhaul. What’s called for is calibration and communication so we can make sure our needs are getting met.

Dad and son helping to wash dishes in the kitchen.

Resentment in motherhood, from a psychological perspective, can teach us several important lessons:

Needs and Desires

Resentment can highlight unmet needs or unfulfilled desires. Perhaps we’re prioritizing others’ needs above our own. It reminds us to stop compromising our self care and instead pay attention to our own wants and needs and to communicate them effectively.


Resentment often arises when our personal boundaries have been crossed or when we have allowed others to overstep our limits. It teaches us the importance of setting healthy boundaries and asserting ourselves in relationships.


Resentment often arises from unresolved conflicts or unexpressed emotions. It prompts us to improve our communication skills, to express our feelings and concerns openly, and to address conflicts in a constructive and assertive manner.

Forgiveness and Letting Go

Resentment can be a catalyst for personal growth and healing. It invites us to cultivate forgiveness and let go of past grievances, allowing us to move forward with a lighter emotional burden.

Dad helping to put his son's shoes on.

By understanding and reflecting on the lessons resentment in motherhood brings, we can reset our mom-life, prioritize our own well-being, and develop healthier relationships.

How did this take on resentment in motherhood land with you? Resonate? Off the mark? I’d love to know.


Yours truly,


This post was all about resentment in motherhood and what it can teach us.

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