Dealing with Resentment
Right after my son's second birthday, I found myself secretly resenting my husband's career. It was hard for me to watch him being recognized and paid for a job well done. It was especially painful when there was no one there to validate the work I was doing as a mother.
"Our society fails to support mothers. We give no recognition for the very valuable work of mothering. This can be hard for new mothers, particularly those who have left the paid work force. The external perks of paychecks and paid vacations are gone. Women need to go within for validation," explains Jones.
My feelings of resentment prompted me to find volunteer opportunities that allowed me to showcase my talents with the necessary flexibility I needed as a mother. This work provided me the balance that was lacking in my life. It even led me to further my education, lining up bigger and better things for a time when my children were older. Once again, I felt complete.
Getting Support from Other Moms
Based on my own experience, I've learned that women can still be good mothers and love our careers, want to further our educations, or pursue hobbies. It's important for us to keep in mind that what makes one mother happy, might make another miserable—and it's not fair for us to judge another's decisions. As mothers, we all make sacrifices for our families. We need encouragement from others who understand our situations.
Jones advises mothers to develop a support system, including a list of ten people they could call on for help. "These ten people can include family members, business acquaintances, friends, neighbors. Mothers should look for support from like-minded others," says Jones, adding that just because someone is a mother does not mean that she shares your values. "It is better to have one good 'mother' friend who you are in sync with than several acquaintances who just happen to have children the same age as yours."
McMeekin agrees. "Set up a buddy system with another mother or start your own group, even an online group. Read and stay connected with websites for mothers and actively look for supportive resources in your community. Most of all, stay connected to your personal strengths and power, and be sure to take time for yourself away from the family."