‘Once I was able to identify the source of my unhappiness, I was able to focus on ways to remember who I was.’: Mom shares importance of self-care in decreasing bitterness

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“Remember that carefree, selfie-takin’, bubble-bath lovin’, plans-with-friends-makin’ woman you were before marriage and motherhood? She’s still there.

Shortly after having my third baby, I found myself overcome with extreme bitterness on a daily basis. Bitter my husband was able to get a full night’s sleep (or at least more than I was getting), bitter I had to return to work in a few weeks, and bitter my mom friends seemed to have it all together, with babies ‘sleeping through the night.’ On top of all of that, I was ESPECIALLY bitter with my husband and the fact he somehow found time to have a beer with friends, play video games, or listen to his favorite podcast. Every time he did something for himself, I would feel myself getting physically hot and filled with rage that would then manifest as some serious passive-aggressive behavior.

Flash forward a few months, and the reason for my bitterness was all too obvious; I was jealous, a tad-bit insecure, and according to multiple suggested articles on Pinterest, I was projecting. Yep. In my search to find support in the fact my husband was being selfish, I was instead presented with the idea that maybe I was the one responsible for the anger I was feeling.

Mother and daughter take selfie with sides of their faces pressed together.
Courtesy of Emmy Bennett

While that was not necessarily the answer I was looking for, it was exactly what I needed to hear (read?) and it didn’t take long before I realized my husband’s interests and passions said nothing about him being selfish. Instead, it was my lack of personal interests and passion that had caused all of the bitterness I was feeling.

If you are a mom, you probably know exactly what I am talking about. Our entire existence begins to revolve around our roles as mothers and wives; rarely ever do we take time focusing on ourselves. Take a look at your OWN social media feed. Does it look more like your children’s account than your own? Mine did.

Don’t get me wrong- I adore my children and am absolutely in love with being a mother, but losing my sense of self was proving to be a detrimental situation for myself, my marriage, and in turn, my children. I was not the happy-go-lucky girl I used to be. I was on edge all the time. And when asked the question, ‘What do you like to do for fun?’ I couldn’t even think of how I would spend free time if I had it.

Couple takes selfie with their two young children.
Courtesy of Emmy Bennett

Once I was able to identify the source of my unhappiness and utter lack of interest in myself, I was able to then focus on ways to, once again, remember who I was. Not as a wife or a teacher or a mother, but as Emmy.

My husband, the wonderfully supportive man that he is, suggested I find a hobby, any hobby. He also signed us up for a gym membership and encouraged me to get out of the house without the kids, even if all I did was sit in my car in the gym parking lot. After a few days of going to the gym, (unhappily I might add), I began feeling more and more like myself and was realizing how important it was that I was also taking time to take care of me.

Once I started focusing on myself and my own happiness, I no longer felt bitter with my husband when he sat down to play video games (although I still don’t understand them), or when he made plans with a friend. Those are his things. My things are taking bubble baths while aimlessly browsing Pinterest, trying on outfits I’ll never buy, watching chick-flicks with totally mushy story lines, and now this- blogging.

Every once in a while, my bitterness sneaks up and taps me on the shoulder, and although my natural response as an imperfect human is to pass blame onto someone else, I am quickly reminded it’s not them- it’s me.”

Blended family takes picture outside of their home.
Courtesy of Emmy Bennett

This story was submitted to Love What Matters  by Emmy Bennett from Oakdale, California. You can follow her journey on  Instagram and her website. Submit your own story hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Emmy here:

‘Blended does not equal broken.’: Mom recounts beautiful blended family, co-parenting journey

‘Sometimes babies cry. As long as they’re changed and fed, they don’t always need to be figured out.’: Mom shares newborn parenting advice

How To Establish A Consistent Bedtime Routine With Your Baby

Screen Time Is A Quick Fix That Causes Big Problems Later

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