Resentment and the Scorecard

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One pattern I have noticed resurface in every relationship is the scorecard. I know the routine all too well. I was the queen of the scorecard in my first marriage, and he would give it right back to me.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Last Tuesday, you promised we would go on a date – just the two of us and then you backed out again. To which the other person responds with, yeah, just like you said we would have sex more often. When was the last time? I’ll tell you when, almost three weeks!

This is only one scenario with one relationship. Scorecards happen in other relationships, not solely romantic relationships. In blended families it can be extremely difficult not to keep a constant tally of who did what for whom, and how many times. I don’t know how many times other people have tried to point out to me how many times I’ve done something for the other house-hold or what I should think or feel is fair. So many people have an opinion, and they are usually ready to share them with us. Luckily I’ve learned over the years that I only have to listen if I want to.

If you live in a blended family, think about a situation, any situation when you felt you went out of your way to do something above and beyond for the other household. Did you keep score in the back of your mind, thinking the next time it would be your turn? Then the next time if something else comes up and they are unable to pick the kids up from school or show up to the big game, you feel like you are the only one doing anything. You take out the mental scorecard and scan it each time you perform a task. Last week I took the kids home and it wasn’t even my day, since you worked late, again. Yesterday I took them to school, and to dance lessons. I ALWAYS am the one picking up the slack.

The problem with the scorecard is once you pay attention to the differences on the card, and what you feel you are not receiving in return from your co-parent, soon the only thing you will see is what you feel you are not getting in return. It can cause you to feel unappreciated, over-used, and dumped on. This can cause a snowball effect of anger, resentment, and the blame game on both sides that will never end. It usually takes one person to be the bigger person in the situation to stop looking at the scorecard and just do what needs to be done for the children. Relationships are give and take in some cases, but not always. Sometimes they end up being more take than give. When children are involved the important thing is the children get what they need no matter who steps up to the plate.

Ideally, I think a family should run like a team, where everyone jumps in when they can. There are some areas where I just am unable help, so instead I pitch in extra in the areas I am able to help and my co-parents pitch in where they are able. I drive them more often  to extra-curricular activities since Jeff and Molly have small kids, while Molly takes them to doctor appointments during the day since she works from home. Sometimes things happen in the other house-hold, they are unable to bring the girls home and I offer to help out, then the next time I need help Molly does the same. We don’t keep score and we don’t get upset when something pops up. We just take care of our kids. Keep in mind it took us time to get to this point. The first step is toward setting them aside and working together is letting go of unvoiced expectations, working on communication skills, and concentrating on areas you feel you could pitch in and help out more when the other co-parents are unable.

Do you use scorecards in your relationships?

Trish Eklund is taking a nontraditional approach to parenting children after divorce and remarriage. Raising her two daughters of twelve and fifteen with her husband, ex-husband, and his wife, they consult one another on all parenting decisions. Trish is the owner and founder of Family Fusion Community, and Abandoned, Forgotten, & Decayed. Trish has been featured on www.playground-magazine.com,  www.bigblendedfamily.com, and, www.herviewfromhome.com. Follow her on Twitter: @trishiewriter, Google +, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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4 thoughts on “Resentment and the Scorecard

    • Hi Inge! Thanks so much for reading! I think we all do to some extent, but it helps when you start to become aware.

  1. I am so envious of the team approach to raising all of your kids that you all have created. I have had to learn over the 10 years in my role of stepmom to let go of keeping score. It was never going to be fair or split, and I just had to be okay with knowing we were always going to be doing more. That had to be okay because it was for the kids. I am one of those people who always wants things to be fair. I’m a Libra! 🙂 To that end, I also had to learn to find balance in order to not be taken advantage of. I had to learn to take care of myself and the kids. In our situation, that became quite the balancing act. It’s all part of the journey, though, isn’t it?

    • You are exactly right, Shawn! We don’t always have everything even either. We try really hard, but shit happens! Even in marriage I think you have to let go of what everyone “should get” or the “fair” thing, because it will never be completely even. We never know all of the factors in one another’s lives that contribute to all of our decisions, and we are not all on the same emotional/physical level either. We aren’t all capable of the same things emotionally at certain times in our lives. I try to think of it as we are all in different grade levels. You would never fault a kindergartener for not reading at a 5th grade level, so you can’t be upset with someone who is not on the same emotional level as you are when they are unable to give to the capacity that you are. Some will always be in kindergarten. 🙂

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