Maryann Bucknum Brinley

167 Cooper Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-1810

973-202-5909 (cell)

The Secrets of Happy Parenting

More than 16 years ago, I wrote a book about the secrets of happy parenting. My children, Zach and Maggie, were still children then but the world was just as complicated for parents trying to be happy. In fact, I have researched and written a lot about pregnancy and parenting issues – once from the perch of the director of the Infants and Children’s Laboratory at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Zach is a father of two now. His son, Finn, is 2 ½ and my granddaughter Charlotte just turned 1. Now, Maggie is pregnant with her first, a daughter who will be born sometime around Dec. 4. I am deeply in love with this role of grandmother. So as I look back at parenting and my daughter Maggie looks forward, I have decided to launch a blog, retooling some of those secrets I shared way back when and, at times, examining parenting from two different generational points. Maggie, a wonderful writer as you will discover, is a nurse at New York University’s Langone Hospital.

Happy Parents Know That Resentment Poisons a Family

Maryann Bucknum Brinley - Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Resentment is a mother’s greatest occupational hazard. You know what resentment is. It starts when you begin talking through clenched teeth. I call it the “Wouldn’t you think somebody in this house would…” syndrome.

Wouldn’t you think that…

* someone else could hang up a towel?

* he would call if he wasn’t coming home for dinner?

* they would appreciate all my efforts?

* someone would notice that I am exhausted and overwhelmed?

Motherhood can be such a shock. Before your first child is born, you may dream about being a mother but no one is prepared for labor, delivery and those first weeks and months of sleeplessness and anxiety. My daughter Maggie, who delivered her baby girl, Evangeline Pearl, last week is right in the middle of this shock to the system. In order to survive, you need to go out and refuel, even if it is just for a walk around the block without your baby.

Meet Evangeline! The sweetest baby girl and just a day old here. 

Sometimes we mothers persevere, working diligently to reach the end of that long to-do list, not realizing it will never be completed and not recognizing how uptight, how resentful, we are.

If you serve your family resentment for meals, it will poison them.

Resentment is in the tone of your voice when you respond to a toddler who will not let go of your leg and who has been whining, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”.

Resentment is a spoiler. No matter how hard you are working, if you are filled with resentment, you negate your efforts. Your negative mood permeates the atmosphere in which you are supposed to be nurturing your family.

Resentment is a romance killer. Anger and love can’t survive easily side by side.

You can’t raise happy children if you are resentful. They sense your resentment, not your love.

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