I left 2016 feeling very proud of myself, and the progress that I have made not only as a parent, but as a co-parent. I really found my niche this past year, and have become comfortable in my parenting position. Our families went through many changes in the past year, with my family moving into a new home in a new town, welcoming 2 new parenting partners, and sending one of our children into a group home, amongst all of the many other little changes. Big changes such as these are hard to adjust to on their own but when you mix in several different opinions and attitudes the mix can be volatile.
We have climbed mountains, trudged through quicksand, and battled the fiercest of monsters to stand where we stand today. If you asked what did it, what made the change, I honestly couldn’t give you a straight answer. Our family is a blend of 3 separate families, and with 3 families, comes 3 different personalities, attitudes, and opinions. Getting all 3 on the same page at the same time always seemed like a mere dream. It wouldn’t be fair if I spoke for everyone else, so although I may not know exactly what their turning point was I know what it was for me.
I was five months pregnant, and an emotional mess as it was thanks to those lovely things called hormones. My step children’s mom decided to take things into her own hands, and in what felt like a really invasive matter decided to take my husband to family court. At the time her and I did a majority of the communication, this was solely due to the fact that I am the full time care taker and he is the full time bread winner. Through the custody battle I was utilized as the scapegoat, I was told that I alienate her from the children, that they are her children not mine, and that I call the shots in the relationship and my husband was merely my puppet which is why I did the communicating. Depression does not even begin to explain how I felt; getting up in the morning for work felt like I was preparing for my funeral every day, speaking triggered a pain in my jaw and throat as it was much harder to hold back the tears when words were spewing out, anxiety was triggered by phone rings, email pings, and text messages and considering I was an office manager you can imagine just how often the hair on my next would raise. Here I was, the person who raised the children since they were 2 and 3, the one who stepped in when they had nothing, and never asked not a thing from anyone, and yet I was being played as the bad guy, and not only was I being played as the bad guy my voice was muted as this was not my battle to fight. Towards the end of it, I didn’t even want to show up to court anymore but I did so for my husband. I had to be his support as he has always been mine, and in the end I found my place, and he found his voice. He didn’t need me to say it for him to see that I was simply being utilized as a tool in her favor, and he made it known. At the end of it all, most of the accusations against me were blamed on the children, or misunderstandings, which whatever they were at that point no longer mattered as I wanted nothing to do with any of it. I remember after the final custody orders were signed and the final lawyer payment was being made, she had walked over to me to shake my hand and say her peace along with small talk. There was so much I wanted to say, so much that was built up, I remember getting some of it out but rather than an argument arising in the court house Billy felt it smart to put it all on hold and continue it another day. So we did.
Through the transition, I chose to involve her more in my responsibilities, I realized that although the accusations were simply strategic moves by the court that she may in fact have truly felt that we were pushing her out. Anything that I do on my own such as party planning, I invited her to join me. If there was a school event to go to, and Billy wouldn’t be attending I would invite her over to have lunch or coffee with me. It has been a slow transition, and it is one we are still working on, but I am the happiest where we are now. We have our moments where we don’t always see eye to eye, but in those moments we choose to agree to disagree and we always know our limits in these times. I have chosen to bite my tongue much more than in the past, and I know when is when, and only say what is needed to be said.
I can honestly say that I wish I found my niche in this relationship sooner than later, but at the same time you can’t enjoy the view without taking the time to climb the mountain. I have a new found appreciation for the person that she is.
For this year, my goal is to continue to water and feed the relationship her and I have, as well as embrace the relationship she has with the children. Along with growing my relationship, my goal is to encourage other stepmoms, and even divorced mothers to embrace the relationships they have with each other.
So here is my challenge for you, no matter where you are in your relationship with your significant others ex, or your ex’s new spouse, think of the positives. Think of ONE nice thing that you can say about them. It takes baby steps but soon you will learn to stride without hesitation, than one day run with it.
I am a lucky example to not only have step children, but a child with a “step”mom (I say it in that manner because they are not married, and he doesn’t call her mom but she sure does play a motherly role).
For my step children’s mother:
I love the way she loves and admires her children, they truly are the apple of her eye
I love how the children look up to her, and always are looking for ways to make her happy
Her dedication and admiration to things that she loves and is fond of is unbreakable, and that is an admirable characteristic.
For my sons step mother:
I love how she accepts my son as one of her own
I love how passionate she is for my son, and for the things that he does. She always cheers him on
I admire how she has made my sons father a better person, he seems whole now, and he is now a better father
Believe me when I say, I know what it is like to have strong feelings against your step children’s mom, or your exes new spouse. Remember, that if you aren’t able to do this for you, do it for the children because at the end of the day they never asked for any of this.
Thank you for stopping by and reading, I hope you find this useful. Any questions, or tips? Please leave a comment below and I would be happy to hear what everyone has to say!