Mastering Motherhood Podcast

Parent Resentment

March 15, 2020 Nicoll Novak Season 1 Episode 16
Mastering Motherhood Podcast
Parent Resentment
Mastering Motherhood Podcast
Parent Resentment
Mar 15, 2020 Season 1 Episode 16
Nicoll Novak

It's not something we talk about a whole lot, but have you ever felt resentment toward your partner or even your kids? In this episode, Rachel Bailey comes on the show to talk about how those feelings of resentment are normal and how we can work through them.

Find Rachel here:

For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit Or follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Music from
"Bossa Antigua" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Support the show (

Show Notes Transcript

It's not something we talk about a whole lot, but have you ever felt resentment toward your partner or even your kids? In this episode, Rachel Bailey comes on the show to talk about how those feelings of resentment are normal and how we can work through them.

Find Rachel here:

For more on pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood, visit Or follow on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

Music from
"Bossa Antigua" by Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY (

Support the show (

spk_0:   0:12
Hi, everybody. This is the mastering motherhood podcast, and I'm your host, Nicole. This show is made by a mom, me four moms covering pregnancy, postpartum and parenthood topics as we go through this motherhood journey together. Today we have Rachel on the show to talk about resentment that we might be experiencing. His parents. Rachel is a parenting specialist who's been serving parents for over a decade. She has a master's degree in clinical psychology and a certification in positive discipline. She currently teaches parents practical, long term tools for raising responsible, resilient, confident Children while also reducing the stress and guilt in parents lives.

spk_1:   1:03
Welcome, Rachel. Thank you for having me here. Yeah, tell the listeners a

spk_0:   1:08
little bit about you and your family.

spk_1:   1:10
So I have two daughters and husband and we live in outside of Washington, D. C and my family. I mean, we're things generally are going very well, but I will say that I have one daughter who allows me to do what I do for a living because she's not very easy to raise. And I think if I only had my other daughter would be like what her parents talking about this is so easy, but I do have one that is a constant challenge. So it really has nearly to a lot of the parents that I work with in support, I

spk_0:   1:40
have to ask, is the challenging daughter the older or the younger one,

spk_1:   1:44
the older audio ask

spk_0:   1:46
Because I have a theory. My mom gave it to me, which is that the first child is always so good that they trick you into having another one. And then the 2nd 1 is the challenge,

spk_1:   1:56
one not in my case, although that sounds like a really good theory. But no, in my case, it's my child, has a lot of big emotions and that if anyone's raising a child with big emotions who are sensitive and sort of strong willed, those things all tend to go together. She's a sweet child and really well intentions, but sometimes that it plays out in ways that are difficult to handle.

spk_0:   2:17
That's fair. I think that I have big emotions myself so I can relate to her. Yes, well, let's talk about resentment. So this is a sensitive topic. And while I feel like my mom, friends sometimes talk about the feelings of resentment that they may have, particularly how they might resent their partner or sometimes even there. Kids. I hate to say that, but it's always in private conversations, like with me or with their best friend. But they're certainly not having these conversations openly.

spk_1:   2:48
I absolutely agree, especially in this day and age where social media is all about, and I think it's gotten better. But social media tends to be about portraying this. My life is great rather than Oh my gosh, I want to, you know, just leave and get out of here and I need to escape. We don't We don't talk about that publicly.

spk_0:   3:06
So is resentment, parent resentment, something that you find is common. I find it

spk_1:   3:12
incredibly common not just among my friends in my personal life, but, you know, I work with parents for a living, and I'm talking to 2030 40 50 of them every week, and I hear it over and over and over. And that's why I really want to bring this topic, you know, out loud, because somebody was your feeling it, and the more we feel like we're the only ones feeling it the worst, it becomes when we realize that other people are feeling it as well, it actually decreases a little bit.

spk_0:   3:36
So what are the common ways that you see this kind of resentment manifest itself?

spk_1:   3:41
Resentment is usually I know that it's coming when a parent will get really frustrated that someone asking them to do something extra or they are, you know, complaining that someone's not doing enough because often parenting resentment. In fact, I would say the majority of the time parenting resentment comes from we are not setting boundaries. And so when a child, for example, that saved, um, you have a young child and they ask you for another bedtime story and you can really resentful that they asked you for another bedtime story. But the truth is, we usually don't say no. So our kids continue to ask and resentment, just build the militant We wish they would just wouldn't ask us. We get really frustrated. That's just a super simple example. What I mean by reset.

spk_0:   4:23
I like that example a lot. And when I think of resentment, I'll tell you, my challenge was so my son Assign is nine months old, so I don't right now. I'm not experiencing probably some of the child resentment yet, But when he was first born, what I really struggled with was, you know, I was nursing him, and therefore I was the one that always had to get up and, uh and and don't get me wrong like my husband was great. He did the things that he could, but I found that I resented him. I was like, Why do I have to want to be the one to feed him all the time and change his diapers? And then on top of that, I have to clean a day, sure cook a meal or whatever, and my resentment was probably unfair. But I didn't really know how to get past those feelings.

spk_1:   5:12
Yeah, I don't know that I'm called unfair. I think it's really and I think that's if we minimize resentment. Then again, it just gets bigger. But I will say that I love the phrase that you've used, huh? You know, why do I have to be? The one is almost a telltale sign off resentment. Why don't I have to be the one? Because again, it's usually not setting those boundaries, and maybe if you, you know, asked for anything you in particular. Maybe if we all asked for more help and set boundaries and said, No. Sometimes what happens is already resentment tends to decrease. So, yeah, we do. It's not unfounded. It is, Resentment comes from, were exhausted, were over doing. We're overwhelmed. And then when one more thing gets dropped out us, we d covers that.

spk_0:   5:56
I like this idea of setting boundaries. What what about people, though? Like me. So I am kind of a people pleaser. I'm an avoider, and it's difficult for me to set boundaries

spk_1:   6:08
100%. And I have to be honest that I think there are a couple of reasons that especially women don't set boundaries. And one of them is that we were taught that we should always suppress our needs and that to be a good girl or good women, you have to always be thinking about other people being modest, being humble, suppress your own needs. So it's really hard for us to all of a sudden start asking for things, and when we do, it's incredibly uncomfortable, and what the human brain does when we are uncomfortable is we avoid so we don't push through that discomfort. And the last thing I really want to say cause this is super important is that even after we do set a boundary, it's not that all of a sudden thinks feel really good. The discomfort tends to last, and so first of all, we're not used to it. Then we get this initial discomfort, and then the discomfort lasts. Eventually, though, when we start setting boundaries, what we realized is that in the long run it ends up feeling better and the discomfort offsetting the battery is a lot less then the discomfort we feel when we don't set any boundaries. Since

spk_0:   7:14
it totally makes sense, it still makes me have a lot of feelings, even knowing that the resentment or the discomfort is gonna last, you know, because we always want a quick fix solution,

spk_1:   7:27
right? And so let me give you a little half. Actually, this is what I teach a lot of the parents, because most parents, when I say you have to set boundaries. First of all, they're like off that so cliche. I've heard that a 1,000,000 times. It is a cliche, but again because we're uncomfortable we avoid it. But here's a a little half that I teach parents. I actually teach them to create what I call a parenting avatar. And that's the parent you want to be if you imagine who I want to be. So maybe at mine is, you know, respectful Rachel that to my parents lavatories. So maybe in your case, you may say on my parenting avatar is gonna be I'm gonna be on the set boundaries, and that's my avatars. So you want to think about in your mind, who do you want to be and then think about what action that parent would take. So if you are, you know, boundary Nicole and you're just saying that's who I wanna be, What action would it take to set a boundary? And you can actually come up with a specific phrases you would say, Can you please help me or No, I can't do this for you. And then what I say is in the middle of sitting boundary when is really uncomfortable, just channel your avatar and just think about what would they say and just actually do it because our discomfort can't prevent us from taking action we feel like it can, but actually can't if we know what the action is ahead of time and we do it, we just follow through and we don't let our just comfort control us. Can you give

spk_0:   8:52
me a specific example of what a boundary setting conversation might look like with either our kids or our partners?

spk_1:   9:00
Absolutely. So if the first thing you have to do is figure out what is a boundary that you need to set so you can even say if you realize that you're resentful, Maybe you're resentful that your spouse is sitting on the couch on Sunday afternoons when you are, you know, trying to clean up the mess in the house. So first you have to say, What is it that's making me resentful? What? What do I You know, Why am I getting upset? Well, I'm getting upset because he's sitting on the couch. I'm doing all this work. I can't change that. He's sitting on the couch, but I can say, Can you please help me? Or can we find a time that you know that where we could both be cleaning up?

spk_0:   9:35
I'm going to take a quick second to pause here and say, if anything in this episode resonates with you, take a screenshot posted on social media and tag me so other mamas or moms to be can listen it. And if you like what you're hearing, head on over to Apple podcasts and leave a review. All right now back to the show.

spk_1:   10:00
So first you have to figure out what exactly it is you need that's gonna make you feel less resentful, and then you absolutely want to come up with the language. That's where the parenting avatar can come in handy because sometimes you're like, I'm not sure what I should say. But if you think about someone who is the model of what you want to be, it's much easier to come up with a language, and then you just literally you can practice it in your head a couple of times, and then you walk up to your stuffs. And one of the really big suggestions I have, especially when it's with a spouse or older child, is to always when you're setting a boundary start in their world first. So say something like, I understand why you're sitting on the couch because you had a really long week and like, the last thing you want to do on Sundays is clean, so you start in their world, and then you say something like, I need help cleaning up, though. Is there a better time that we work for you where we could do this together so I can take you through the whole process? First, you have to figure out that you have to identify what it is you're asking for. You start in their world and you ask for what they beat.

spk_0:   11:00
I like that. I like that. Especially the starting in their world. Yes. So I'm actually gonna going to talk about that a little bit more. One of the things that I have found is there have been times I told you before where I have felt some resentment. But but part of it was because I really didn't realize how much my husband, for example, was doing. I was so caught up in my own world and all the things that I was having to do and not even realizing all of the things that he does that I either don't see her. We don't talk about and so it's not front of mind. What about situations like that? Yes,

spk_1:   11:40
that's a great example. And what usually happens to is that we get into this game, especially with our spouse off. This is what I do. Well, this is what I do. Well, this is what I do, which is actually putting us on separate teams. What we can do and what I suggest we do is actually instead of convincing the other person of all we're doing taking a moment and thinking about all that they are doing. And a lot of us will say, Well, why should I be the one that starts this? Why should I be the one that's thinking about what they're saying? But human nature is when we say to ourselves, Hey, look at all these things you are doing. Our spouse is going to stop and say, Wait a second, look at all the things you are doing because we want to cooperate with people. This is human behavior. We want a co op with crumpet with cooperate with people we believe are on our side. So if you show your spouse you're on their side, that's why you always start in their world. If you show them you're on their side by listing all the things they did, very likely they're going to start to notice all the things you did. And that's when you can say, Wow, look at this long list that we both do. Is it working for both of us? Can we divide it up a little bit?

spk_0:   12:47
That's a really good approach. And I bet you that the people that were having these conversations with would be a lot more receptive to what we're saying when we would it that way.

spk_1:   12:56
Absolutely. This is a really good skill for any relationship you're in. If you whenever you almost want to get someone to do something for you, the more you start in their world. So this is a parenting campuses. That marriage tip. This is a dating relationship tip. Whenever you start in their world, they're so much more likely to do what you want them to do, rather than just approaching them and saying, this is what I need.

spk_0:   13:17
How could we talk about our feelings of resentment? So if we're feeling any kind of resentment towards our kids or our partners or whoever at home. But we want to talk to our friends for support. Is there is that healthy to do? And is there a healthy way to do it without sounding like we're just talking bad about our families?

spk_1:   13:38
Yeah, that's a great question. I actually do think, though it's really important. Sometimes you just vent and just like like as if you're a pressure cooker and you need to let off a little bit of Steve now, whether that's with your friends or whether you're writing it down or whether you're talking into your phone and a recorder, and you could always get rid of that, whatever you write down or whatever, you record on your phones. But I actually think it's important to do. You know, if anyone listens to burn a brown. She's a huge I'm such a huge fan of Burn a Brown. She's this big researcher, and she talks about a lot of different topic, shame and vulnerability. She talks about the importance of recognizing the first draft of your feelings and getting out what's in your head, even if it's in logical where it doesn't make sense. Getting out that first draft because that actually releases a lot of what I call yuck. A lot of your negative feelings that prevent you from seeing the truth. So if you can actually get that out in the first draft, then when you feel a little bit more rational, then you can say, OK, how can I talk to my spouse about this? Or How could I talk to my child about this? If you actually don't get out that first draft, all of the negative feelings or yuck that you have inside is actually gonna come out on your spouse or your child. So I actually think it's a good idea to then. And in fact, when I meet with clients, I have almost a required event period for the 1st 5 or 10 minutes of our session because then once they vented, they can start. Just take a step back in and put things in perspective tense.

spk_0:   15:03
How can we event, though without spiraling?

spk_1:   15:06
That's a good question, and what I find happens is that there's a difference between venting and wallowing. Wallowing is where you're looking for all of the evidence that you are right and you want someone Teoh pile on it and you want someone to tell you Yes, this is so horrible and you just keep looking for all of the things. But venting is really just about talking until you have nothing left to say, and it's really just about. In fact, that's one of the exercise that give parents just right until you can't write anymore and eventually what happens when we're just letting out. What's inside is it get when it comes out. It finishes at some point if you find that it never ever finishes there, a couple of things that could be happening, but it could be that you're wallowing. It could also be that you're just so depleted that you actually need what I call some deposits and then you'll be able Teoh talk about it without wallowing. But most people, when they just let it go, they don't wallow. They just vent, and then it's they run out of things to say they really dio. The problem is, if we're just holding it all in, then it ultimately gets bigger and bigger and bigger.

spk_0:   16:10
I'm a big advocate for that writing exercise. I do that myself and sometimes I laugh because I'm like I feel like I'm a teenager with my little diary, but it really helps. And I absolutely do that myself where I write and write and write until I don't have anything to write anymore. And it just feels so good.

spk_1:   16:30
We're not meant to carry around all that. Yuck. When we carry it around, it actually becomes like a filter through which we see the world. And if you talk about wallowing, I mean, if we don't let it out, then we really do start to see everything negatively. And we really do become stuck in our yuck.

spk_0:   16:47
Absolutely. So we think that resentment comes from a place of being an exhausted parent, which you also talk a lot about. So talk to me more about parenting when you're exhausted and some of our pitfalls there.

spk_1:   17:04
Yeah, I think one of the things again this is this. A lot of this goes down to back, comes down to boundaries, and I don't actually think that Reese everything is solved by boundaries. But I think one of the reasons that we're we are so exhausted is that we feel like we have to do everything because of for not it almost worked. We feel like we're not good enough because we see everybody else is doing all the things or were not doing enough for our kids. If we're not doing all the things like it starts to speak to, we're not good enough. And when we can start to realize again, this actually to goes back to the parenting avatar if we can figure out the parent we want to be and what action it takes to get to be that parent, we can let go of some of the other stuff extraneous stuff that the world is telling you you need. That's where the boundaries come in. If we can let go of that extraneous stuff were a lot less exhausted and the only other thing I will say about parenting when exhausted and we can go more into this if you're interested, because I know a lot of compote like to hear about this is when parents are exhausted. One of the biggest practical tips I give is stop parenting so much in the moment because when we're reacting to our kids negative behavior, it takes so much energy. So if you're already exhausted, whether it's ironic, or not. It actually takes less energy to do a couple of things more proactively. And then you you will not have to spend as much energy parenting

spk_0:   18:26
tax me more about that and what it looks like.

spk_1:   18:29
So it's interesting. My have a podcast is, Well, my podcast is called Your parenting Long game, and the reason I named it. That is because what I find is what most parents do is. But I called bad day parenting, which is their child, didn't they, after child to clean and their child didn't clean up after themselves. So they go over and they start yelling. Their child gets upset. They and they get into the cycle off. You know, yelling and power struggles in all this negativity when you react to your child, not cleaning, that takes a lot of energy. But if you proactively and this is a lot of what I talk about my podcast, if you figure out why isn't my child clinging to begin with and you actually realize that I will tell you the reason that cleaning is often there's a specific tool that kids are missing, that even if they're physically able to clean they're not cognitively able to clean. If you recognize that tool and you give them the tool ahead of time, they're going to start cleaning. And you don't have to do all this reactive. Um, you know, in the moment, struggle with your child to get them to clean.

spk_0:   19:28
Interesting. I like that perspective a lot. And it does sound like it would be a lot easier if we thought of it that way. It's sort of just reacted every time the kid did something that

spk_1:   19:38
we don't like. Yeah, and it's exhausting to do that. And it just depletes and depletes and depletes us. And people say, Rachel, I'm so tired. I don't have time to be proactive. What are you talking about? This teach them these things ahead of time. So I always they just trust me, just try it and they come back to me like, Oh, my gosh, I'm spending so much less energy. I didn't think I had the time to be proactive. It has saved me so much time and energy, and it really does.

spk_0:   20:03
I'm sure Absolutely that I'm gonna keep this in mind as my son gets older. But I'm positive that a lot of my listeners can can take a little something from that and implement it in their own lives. Yes, good. Well, do you have any other tips for my listeners about parenting is an exhausted parent or how to overcome this feelings of resentment.

spk_1:   20:26
I would just say that being being riel about what you're going through is is so, so important, being able to find either again with you could write it down or talk to someone about what you're going through. The more we talk about it, the less power it has over us. And that's why I'm such a big believer, it being real about parenting. You know, I am Cuoco, parenting expert. I have a lot of clinical background and a lot of experience, and I talk all the time about how I mess up as appearance all the time, and I talk about this concept of withdrawals and deposits in relationships. I make withdrawals for my kids all the time, but I'm also very honest about how I handle that. And the more we talk about it, and the more we see other people are struggling as well, the better we feel and well, we have compassion for ourselves. It's interesting. We can come up with more solutions. So just a quick example. If let's say you are resentful towards your stops, let's just use your spouse in its example and you say, Gosh, why does he keep doing that? And you're really resentful and you're just thinking about all the reasons it's so awful. If you can switch your tone from judgment, why is he doing that to Why is he doing that? And you have a little bit of compassion that actually leads to a solution. And the same thing is true. Like, let's say you make a parenting mistake and it's exhausting you, and you're just going over and over in your head of that. I can't believe I just yelled at my child instead of saying, Why did I yell at them? Just switching to a tone of compassion and curiosity? Why did I yell at my child? And then you can say, Oh, I yelled at my child because I was exhausted because I didn't get a break that day. Oh, the solution is I actually need to take a break. So that's another thing to just think about if we're constantly exhausted and resentful, who want to figure out why we switch our tone from judgments to curiosity, and we can really find a solution that we need to feel less resentful unless judge, unless exhausted.

spk_0:   22:25
Yes, I will piggyback on that just kind of being a little bit more forgiving of yourself and curious. That's an area that I really strive to grow in, particularly since becoming a parent, because I find that I frequently will, like, fly up the handles or snap or have a really intense reaction to something. And I've spent a lot of time trying to reflect after those things happen and just think to myself, Why did I do that? That seems really out of character, and it does make it a lot easier for me to go back and talk to the person and say, Hey, I had this really strong reaction. I think it was because of X y Z. That's not an excuse. It's an explanation. I'm sorry, and then it allows me to change my behavior the next time that I

spk_1:   23:15
feel those triggers. That's exactly right. If we can have that curiosity, I love how you how you work through that. We can say through, Why did I do that? That's not actually not like me. Then we can let that leads to a solution. And it's all I did that because And that because is our solution and especially if you take responsibility for when you are apologising to somebody said, Oh, I did that because X y Z and no, it's not an excuse, but I'm gonna work on whatever caused that absolutely could help your relationships. And it could help you act differently in the future, for sure.

spk_0:   23:51
So you have a podcast that sounds like it's going to be super helpful for our listeners. And I'm gonna put a link to that in the show notes. You also have a website. Do you want to talk about the other ways that listeners can get in touch with

spk_1:   24:04
you? Yes. So my podcast, my website. I'm on. You know, all the social media have a YOUTUBE channel. I think if you just search Rachel Bailey parenting on YouTube on and then Facebook, I'm on as Rachel Bailey parenting and instagram. I'm also one. Is Rachel daily parroting so really anywhere you go out there. I have some great content. Teoh helped introduce you to some more of the topics that I talk about.

spk_0:   24:26
Excellent. So I will go ahead and put links to all of those things in the show notes in case you're interested. Well, thank you so much for being on the show today. Rachel, this was just really

spk_1:   24:37
helpful. Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

spk_0:   24:42
Thanks for listening today. For more on pregnancy postpartum in parenthood, visit mastering motherhood podcast dot com and subscribe to this show wherever you get your podcasts. If you have a topic that you'd like to hear, shoot me an email at mastering Motherhood podcast at gmail dot com. Thanks.