There’s nothing you can’t get through, momma!
When you start to notice that your husband or your children don’t appreciate your efforts as much as you’d like them to, you can do one of two things. Start a fight every time you’re frustrated or figure out the cause of the problem and act accordingly.
We, of course, urge you to do the latter.
Now, there’s nothing worse than working your bottom off to keep everyone’s needs met at all times and feeling like you’re undervalued, underappreciated, and taken for granted.
You may be fed up with your children spitting out the food you slaved over or frustrated with your husband for getting a myriad of compliments for “helping with the children.” Whatever the case, you might end up resenting them, pushing them away, and blaming everything on them.
While we’re by no means saying that you don’t have the right to get annoyed at anyone who takes you for granted, remember that there are two sides to every story.
Maybe your children have sensory problems that make munching on broccoli unbearable to them (a.k.a. they don’t hate your cooking, they hate broccoli).
Perhaps your husband knows that he’s responsible for the children as much as you are, but there’s nothing he can do about other people’s comments and compliments.
Whatever the case might be, there’s a chance you might be overlooking a huge chunk of the context that might change the way you’re feeling right now.
1. Observe the situation, you’d be surprised at how much we don’t notice because we focus on the wrong things
When you start feeling undervalued, you might want to take a step back and observe the situation.
We know that your feelings are valid (and they’re probably caused by something), but there’s always a chance you might be focusing on the fact that you’re hurt rather than trying to figure out why your husband and children would want to hurt you.
Did your children mean to make you feel the way you feel? Did you talk to your husband about what makes you upset? You’d be surprised at the difference an open conversation with your loved ones can make.
2. Learn to appreciate yourself rather than wait for others to appreciate you
When your self-confidence and self-worth get defined by your children’s “Thank you!” or your husband’s “You’re doing a great job!” you’re heading down a slippery slope.
On one hand, you can’t expect them to shower you with compliments and words of affirmation every time you do something for them. On top of that, not everyone shows gratitude the same way and you might end up beating yourself over something that’s not even there.
Take care of your family because that’s what you want to do.
3. Look for appreciation through actions
Now, here’s the thing – not everyone uses words to express affection, appreciation, and gratitude.
Not to mention that there are people who throw the words thank you at everyone without considering the meaning or the purpose behind them.
When your children bring you a flower they picked from the neighbor’s backyard or your husband kisses you on the forehead at the end of the day, they might be communicating their appreciation for you.
While you’re busy searching for words of affirmation and getting frustrated when you don’t get them, your loved ones might be showing you appreciation in a different way.
4. Healthy boundaries work wonders when you feel like you’re doing too much for people who do too little for you
We’ve been there, and we can attest to the fact that there are times when the people who are supposed to care the most end up overlooking your efforts the most, too.
How many times have you heard your guests comment “Wow, you’re a magnificent host!” or “We’ve never eaten anything more delicious than that!” and wondered why your children can’t be as supportive? How many times have your friends commented on your husband’s apathy?
When you’re 100% sure your loved ones aren’t paying attention to anything you’re doing, start setting some healthy boundaries. You aren’t their cook. You aren’t their maid. And, you aren’t their driver.
5. Learn to say “No!” more often
Oftentimes, the more you do for people, the more they expect from you.
When you prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner for your family for years, they’re going to see that as something you simply do. Hence, they’re going to forget to say thank you because they’re starting to think that’s what you’re supposed to do.
When you say “no” from time to time, though, they might understand that you cook, clean, or do other things for them because you want to, not because you have to.
Setting healthy boundaries should be something you do from the get-go, but there’s nothing stopping you from starting right here, right now.
6. Be the change you want to see by showing affection and appreciation more often
What happens when you change the way you view the situation?
Maybe your children don’t appreciate the things you do for them. Perhaps your husband doesn’t show gratitude for the work you do around the house. But what happens when you start acknowledging them rather than waiting for them to acknowledge you?
What do we mean by that? Sometimes, the way our sons and daughters respond to us stems from the way we respond to them. When you start showing affection and appreciation to your family, chances are you’re going to encourage them to do the same.
7. Reframe the way you speak about the things that bother you
We, as mothers, tend to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Whether we’re stressed out, overwhelmed, or overstimulated, we’re known to blow off steam by saying things like “I’m the only one that does anything around the house!” or “No one ever does anything nice for me!”
We’re wrong, though. When you focus on the negative, you risk making yourself feel worse and making your loved ones feel like there’s nothing they can do to make you feel better.
Reframe the way speak about the things that bother you by saying “I would appreciate some help” or “I would love to hear a thank you now and then.” You’ve got this, momma!