Jealousy is counting someone else's blessings instead of your own. - unknown

I was chatting with a friend and a seasoned mom about her grown kids, and how she’s moved on to grandma status. She was marveling over how big my kids are already. As we continued the conversation about my life with kids I commented, “I think it would be different if I had a mom, or a sister I could call to come over when I need help.” She replied, “oh so you do this alone, ALONE.” Yep.

I do have a husband, but he works outside of the home most days and the larger portion of the child rearing falls on me. Yes, I know single parents have it more difficult and I would never minimize their hard work. My own mother is a single mom. However, she was able to send us off to my grandparents on weekends and during the summer. My mom lives several hours away and is unable to drive. Growing up I loved when my aunts and uncles would drop in to spend time with us. It is rare my family makes the trip to visit us. I remember running around the yard and having sleep overs with my cousins. My kids are the youngest in our family.

My husband and I typically get one date night a year. We did not celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary two years ago, and we have never gone away on a vacation alone. I know my situation is not unique. There are thousands of other couples living like this. But, what I have a hard time with is when jealousy takes hold of me. It’s hard not to feel envious of friends whose parents go on vacations with them to make it easier. Or, how many of my friends get to go away with their husbands alone for birthdays or anniversaries. Or, how much fun my friend’s kids have celebrating “cousins day.”

I hate that I get jealous. It’s typically not in my nature. But, here I am. I just want my kids to have what other kids have, a big family to cherish them. I want my kids to have fun memories of jumping on beds at sleep overs with their cousins. Or, spending holidays surrounded by family. It would be really cool if they had an aunt or uncle to take them out to the movies or on picnics. It isn’t about having time for me, or getting a regular date night with my husband (although either would be appreciated). It’s about my kids having more than just mom and dad.

As twins I know they’ll always have each other, but that isn’t a relationship they can fully appreciate until much older. I worry they won’t get to have the closeness with their extended family like I did growing up. I worry one day they will be disappointed with their childhood.

Yes, I do this alone without the physical and emotional support an extended family can provide. It’s hard most days. It’s lonely and I get jealous of my friends. I have accepted it’s just the four of us. Thankfully, I am learning to move my bitterness to happiness for my friends. I don’t know why life worked out this way, but I know I can’t change it. So, we make the best of what we have together, even if it’s just me, a husband and two kids.

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

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23 Comments on The Bitterness In My Parenting

  1. I’m fortunate enough to have my Mom close by, but even the last date night I had with my husband was almost two years ago. We celebrated our anniversary 5 months late. My Mom has her own busy life so we try not to use her as a sitter unless it’s absolutely nesscary. Sometimes we are given busy hectic lives, and we feel like we hardly have any help. Like you said all you can do is make the best of what you have. That’s what we do too! <3

  2. I love your honesty here. I have parents who live close by but my mom has limited availability so I know what you are talking about here. I just keep telling myself the kids will only be little for a short time and to enjoy this season of my life 🙂

  3. I am in a different situation because I am divorced from my boys father and he & his new wife share custody with us, so Chris and I get a lot of time off. I can’t imagine not getting a break.

  4. Aw it can definitely be hard feeling alone. My whole family is 2 states away from me (my son has my in-laws close-by, though, and I do get to revel in the mentioned alone time) and I struggled with these feeling before I met my husband. I think friends can step into the roles of family/cousins/grandma 😉 and help you feel more supported.

  5. Aw it can definitely be hard feeling alone. My whole family is 2 states away from me (my son has my in-laws close-by, though, and I do get to revel in the mentioned alone time) and I struggled with these feeling before I met my husband. I think friends can step into the roles of family/cousins/grandma 😉 and help you feel more supported.

  6. I get it. I come from a small family, and my daughter’s father is not around. His family doesn’t know us. I’ve gotten close with many of our neighbors, most of whom are older with grown children. They all love my daughter and help me out when I need something. Blood doesn’t make family ! It’s like she has extra grandparents ! Even one of the aides at school seems to have taken on the role of an aunt… Take support where and when you can !!

    • We have definitely been fortunate enough to build our own family here. I have some really great friends and very supportive neighbors I couldn’t live without!

  7. My parents family always lived very far away when I was a kid, now with my own kids we live in a three generation household and I wouldn’t change it for the world. They see Nana every single day. I think we are really blessed, I am not sure if my husband agrees. 😉

  8. My parents moved back to the area when my sister and I had kids. What’s funny is that while having them nearby is a blessing, there’s a different kind of frustration and jealousy that happens with us – usually over who may be spending time with who, and how much. We only go out about once a year, as well.

  9. We do not have any kids yet, but I know if Adam and I did have kids we might be in a similar situation; we do not live near any family members out here since we moved to Arizona, so I highly doubt we will have time for date nights or small trips if/when we have children. Keep your head up, lady! You are allowed to feel moments of frustration and wish you had the luxuries of others–it only makes you human!

  10. I understand what you’re saying. Jealousy is, unfortunately, a very real and hard thing to deal with. While my mother-in-law lives here in town, I have a brother-in-law who monopolizes her time. His kids are constantly at her house and so when we ask for a babysitter on rare occasions, we’re often told she can’t because she already has his 3 kids (like every weekend). Even when we set something up far in advance (like an anniversary), at least one of his kids will end up being there anyway. I would love for my kids to get time with just their grandma the way his kids do (she’s always taking them shopping, or whatever) It feels frustrating that she feels free to tell us no, but for some reason can’t tell him no 🙁
    I figure since there’s nothing I can do about it, I will try to just focus on the positives– she loves her grandkids dearly, and we do get occasional babysitting, so at least it’s something! lol. But it’s hard not to be jealous especially when it comes to our kids.

  11. I am in a similar situation. My mom lives close, but travels so much for work we rarely see her. Our dates tend to be putting the kids to bed and trying to watch half a movie before the baby wakes up 🙂 I’m sure it will get easier as the kids get older though…at least that is what I tell myself!

  12. Expecting our first, I completely understand. I’m already so jealous of the moms who can call their mom and have them come watch the kids at a moment’s notice, even just so they can run errands!

  13. My situation is similar in that my kids have no grandparents. My parents aren’t in great health and have a hard time traveling to see us and my inlaws are the same. I, too, struggle with jealousy over moms who have awesome, involved grandparents, especially when my friends complain about their in-laws(who constantly babysit, help out, etc). Sometimes, people don’t realize how much help/support they have, even if it’s not perfect all the time!!!!

  14. First, I just found your blog and as a fellow twin mom, I am in love! In love with your “whatever” philosophy and even moreso in love with your mentality. Maybe it’s just a twin mom thing, but we are SO, SO similar! I too have no outside help and have found myself envying those “friends” of mine who get date nights or go on vacations. Heck, I would LOVE to just make a trip to Target without two screaming toddlers in tow. But alas, such is life. My husband owns and operates his own construction company and as you can imagine, that keeps him away from us working the majority of the week. Yes, I am super fortunate to be a SAHM, but as you know even we get those cases of burnout. My mother is also “out of touch” although she likes to believe she’s an active grandma and participant in my kids’ lives. Our extended family is HUGE. Yet, I can count on no one to lend a helping hand. I am beyond fortunate my husband is amazing when he is home to help out with our boys. In short, thank you for being so raw and honest. You are my new favorite. 💗

    • Awe Twin Mama you are so awesome! (Maybe that’s a twin mom thing too). It does help to know I’m not the only twin mama struggling. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply with kind words and sharing your experience too! All my best to you and your family!

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