Easter is right around the corner.
And when you Co-parent you understand that with an approaching holiday comes the aching pain of possibly not having the children for the holiday.
This year, my step-children are home with us, and as it is a Sunday my Son will be going off with his Dad.
Since, our schedules are not always in sync between my son, and my step-children we always try to make the most of the time that we do have.
With that being said, making the most of our time often means negotiating time, and for us because we are in such a good place its honestly not so much as a negotiation as it is an agreement.
But you can’t take without expecting to give.
This year, we have the kids all day for the holiday, so we don’t really necessarily need anything as far as time with them, but I’m sure my step-kids mother would love the opportunity to see the kids for a little bit during the holiday, and when our schedules allow we happily oblige.
It’s nice for the kids to see both sides of the family on holidays rather than having to wait for the next year for that specific holiday. And if traditions can be continued, despite the parenting schedule in place, a way of doing that should be at the very least attempted.
Now you’re probably thinking, well what if it isn’t reciprocated, and you’re not necessarily wrong for having that feeling. If anything, verbalize an agreement.
And if you’re not at that point in your Co-Parenting Journey to trust one another, than maybe changing anything at this point for you isn’t the right option.
Once trust is broken, and anger is in the vocabulary as well as throughout your veins, it takes time to heal, and to make progress in a positive direction. Baby step’s. I promise you it is easier to live in a happier now, than an ugly yesterday.
What are your thoughts on sharing the holiday’s even when it is your holiday?
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best
For Namesake getting on common ground
I honestly feel that most things can be worked out by talking through them.
Let’s be honest, your step children’s other parent is not going to whole heartedly welcome you taking their title. That title is one that is a privilege, and after all these children have no biological ties to you.
As a mother of a child who can potentially have a step mother one day I am ok with the fact that my son may want to call her mom, or some title with relation. To me, the most important factor is what my child wants, and what will make him feel the most comfortable.
There is an un-spoken fear in most parents of broken families that they will be replaced or at least the effort to do so will me there. Children whether consciously or not always remember mommy and daddy, the ones that literally gave them life. Unconditional love is a love that is so pure, and no one can ever take that between a parent and their child, no matter how strong their will may be to do so.
Once this topic does come up, discuss it.
Talk about it not only with your spouse, but if the relationship allows bring it up to your step children’s parent. See what their true opinion is, try to find a common ground, somewhere to meet in the middle.
You may not be in a position to offer a warm hug, and you may not even want to show that your empathetic, for the sake of the children hang your ego at the door. Take the place of your stepchildren’s parent, and ask yourself how you would feel if some new person came into your children’s lives and wanted to or even acted as if they were trying to replace you.
With my stepchildren, and their mother, I always tried to make it very clear that I am not here to replace her. Her relationship with her children is hers and hers alone. I am not their biological mother, and will never try to replace her.
I do however love these children like they are my own, I advocate for them, I kiss their booboos, read them their bed time stories, and in a nutshell mother them as if they were my own.
All I ever asked for was the respect that I felt that I deserved, and sometimes I am sure that was probably asking for too much.
I never requested or even hinted that the children should call me by any other than my birth given name Sara, but don’t get me wrong, the fact that they wanted to call me mom and felt comfortable enough with me to do so was an honor.
My step children’s mom was always against them calling me mom, especially in the beginning when they first started doing it. Many arguments between my husband and his ex-wife were based on this sole topic.
As a mother of my own, I can understand the torment that must have been present every time the utterance of that word in reference to me spewed from her children’s lips. A conspiracy, it must have been, why else would her children feel the need to call me by that name. Believe me, I get it, and it wasn’t until her and I actually had a face to face about it did we find common ground.
Children love their parents, and often don’t want to disappoint them, approval searching is a common behavior for any child, and even more so common from a child of divorce. Unfortunately due to children finding themselves caught in situations that may be disappointing to one parent, lies are often born, and where one lie started another is soon to grow.
I remember the conversation that I had with my stepchildren’s mother in regarding to them calling me mom, it was insinuated that the children we forced to call me mom, and that it was something that their father and I demanded. Naturally, I was upset but who wouldn’t be but I never found confronting the children appropriate instead I allowed the conversation to come up organically, and that is when clarity was found.
In effort to harbor a good healthy relationship with my stepchildren’s mom, we started doing a lot of things together whether it was attending a school function together, bringing the kids to lunch, or planning an occasional party for one of the children together.
While forming a working relationship, we often had the kids with us, and of course a topic of conversation was what they are going to call the both of us. I secretly felt victory because here sat my stepdaughter stating that she wants to call me mom, and her mother mommy. I intervened, and used this moment to say what I was saying the whole time. I didn’t care if she calls me momma sara, sara, stepmom, whatever she was comfortable with, and their sat this little adult, and diplomatically to both her mother and I stated “No, I want to call you Mom, I like calling you Mom, even though you’re not my mom who gave birth to me, your still my Mom”. In that moment I felt vindicated, what I was saying the whole time was just solidified and proven, and more importantly we were now able to move pass this, or at least so I thought.
We still have moments where my step children are reminded that my name is Sara, and that I didn’t give birth to them. To each their own. The children are never going to forget who gave them life, sometimes it is just important to agree to disagree.
Nothing is going to be comfortable in the beginning, there will always be those moments where everyone is walking on eggshells or maybe more on the line of crushed glass, but work together. As the old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”, and it truly does, but nothing good will come out of the village wanting to battle one another. For the sake and sanity of the child find the common ground.
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best
One of the hardest things in Divorcing, or just even separating from an ex for a parent is the thought that they now have to share their time with their children. That now they may not see their children as much as they had in the past, surely it does not help prevent resentment towards their ex-counterpart from growing, in fact it does the opposite.
I remember being told as I sat in family court once that the ticket to get in is not currency based, but anger. It didn’t resonate with me then, but boy does that hit a nerve with me now, because it’s one hundred percent accurate.
Don’t get me wrong,
in rare cases ex-couples can come up with a parenting agreement and may just be bringing it to court to have it formally recorded,
and if you are that rare couple then you’re a better person than I am.
We are parents, we have been since the day our children were born.
As they took their first breath,
we took our last gasp of an easy,
and within seconds our lives were consumed by the little squishy alien looking excuse for a child.
Call it parental instinct,
call it what you may,
but our number one job after that point in time is to protect our child,
whatever may be a possible threat.
Well sometimes our perceptions are skewed,
especially in instances like separation or divorce.
As humans we often think that because we feel a certain way,
everyone else must automatically feel the same way.
I often visit such thoughts when I am driving, and I pass a hearse, here I am having a great day, my children in the back seat laughing, and just feet away from us, is a corpse on their way to their final resting place. Following behind said deceased person is a family, and surely friends going through what may be the saddest, hardest, moment in their life.
Yet, here we are all on the same road way, all driving in the same direction, all feeling different emotions, sure the hearse driving next to me is not carrying my loved one but when a couple divorces, the children aren’t experiencing the loss that the couple is either, they are simply along for the ride.
Children get caught in the middle all too often feeling as if they need to choose a size. They love both of their parents equally, and have no reason to feel impartial to one over the other. Try not to entertain a game of tug of war when it comes to your stepchildren, your ultimately your spouse’s place to vent, and although it is great to listen and just allow them to get their feelings out, it’s important to try to be the voice of reason especially when it is regarding the best interest of the children at hand. I always found it best to stay out of it, but sometimes that is the equivalent of witnessing a robbery and doing nothing to prevent it. If you can help prevent further damage, than do so. If you don’t feel that you can get involved without being biased than don’t. The last thing your spouse needs is someone pouring fuel on the fire.
When it comes to visitation, and custody no two cases are ever the same. What may have been set for one family, may be impossible for another family. Visitation, and custody vary from case to case, depending on what is in best interest for the children. An important factor to remember when it comes to any family court case is that no matter what the case is, as long as the parent is willing and able to see the children, and not a risk factor to the children, than accommodations should be arranged to do so. It is important for the children to have a strong relationship with each parent.
Step parents really only have one role when it comes to the custody and visitation battle, and that is to stay out of it. No matter what the emotional role that you play in your step children’s life may be, the court is very easy to view the step parent as a road block. One may even be accused of trying to alienate the biological parent. If your presence must be there, do so in a silent manner. It is really best to allow your spouse and their ex to duke it out on their own.
When a visitation agreement is concluded, abide by it, and encourage your spouse to do the same. It can be very tempting to start re-arranging dates to accommodate your needs, and family functions, but ensuring consistency is the most important thing, especially in the beginning.
Thanks for reading, have a question? Comment? want to vent? Please do so below!
Sara, Mommsie Knows Best