Yes, I am actually saying this out loud... Even though it was my choice, there were times when I was really struggling with our inability to get pregnant, that I wondered whether my decision to be a stepmom robbed me from having the number of children I was truly meant to have.
What I'm saying is that bashing your husband's ex-wife on the internet is not a great idea. It's not going to improve your stepfamily life. It's not going to make things more harmonious. In fact, I'm willing to bet, it's not going to do anything positive for your situation at all! Get a journal, call a friend, or get yourself an appointment with a therapist. Find a healthy way to work through the extra stressors and challenges that come with blended family life, and keep the internet out of it.
Comments in the thread below were full of other moms, giving each other virtual high-fives and pats on the back. Part of me chuckled at these status updates because they made me feel less guilty. But another part of me became a little annoyed and a little jealous. Here is where the double standard between moms and stepmoms rears its ugly head.
When my husband introduced me to his kids, when we made the decision to move in together, when we got married, and even when we had a baby of our own, we didn’t experience any of the behaviours you would expect from a “child of divorce”. In fact, until recently, it's been smooth sailing!
I'm pretty sure I raised my eyebrows and quickly turned my head to say "come again?" BUT before the words came out of my mouth, I totally got it. She is our village. Together we are raising these three little people with one common goal. To raise them up into being kind-hearted, giving, hard-working, successful members of Society. Even though co-parenting is not always easy and sometimes we have different opinions, we are a village. When push comes to shove, we have each other's back.
"How old are your stepchildren" everyone always asks.... "I have a 14 year old step-daughter, and step-sons who are 10 and 13" "Ohhhh.... how's having a teenage stepdaughter?" they always respond. Obviously expecting me to report horror stories of dealing with teenage attitude and rebellion.
Five years later, I'll say this. Feeling comfortable in another woman's home is something that can only be cured with time (and a little redecorating) Slowly but surely, I have redecorated and put my touch in our home, while still respecting the memories and traditions that are still important to my husband and the kids.I've cleaned out those junk drawers, organized the storage room, painted walls, purged, donated and put my touch on the place. Five years later, it looks completely different.
The final step was our kitchen .... last summer we took the plunge completely gutted the main space of our house and transformed it into our dream.
The bedroom is where the 'magic' happens...and by magic I mean sex AND sleep and if you don't LOVE your BED or your bedroom you will have less satisfaction in the 'magic' department. SO make the bedroom NEW again. Fresh paint, new bed, new sheets and have FUN with your spouse picking it all out together.
Look, I don't always post nitty gritty details about my own personal struggles, because I am very cognicent about how what I write affects the people in my family. The internet is forever, and I refuse to air my dirty laundry online. But make no mistake, it's not always rainbows & unicorns. From my experiences as a child of divorce all the way to a stepmom, like many of you, I have experienced abandonment, personal attacks, high-conflict situations, heartache and even accusations.
As stepmoms, It's inevitable that at some point in time our husband and his ex-wife are going to make decisions that we do not agree with. Even though our input if often sought out, at the end of the day they get to make the final call, as they should. I've learned (the hard way) that it's not worth spending time and energy enforcing rules that only you care about... In fact, it's a sure way to look like an EVIL STEPMOM!
That being said, many times (but not all of the time) when stepmoms are have an issue with their stepchildren... when your really dissect what's going on, the issue isn't necessarily with the children, it's with the "real" parents (and whether or not they are providing the necessary consequences for the behaviours OR whether or not they find an issue with the behaviour in the first place)
We had just dealt with a textbook two year old tantrum and finally managed to get our feisty little girl to sleep. All while chaperoning/trying to wrap our head around the co-ed New Years "hang-out" that my stepdaughter was having in the basement
But something simple my grandmother always used to say has become my life-mantra. “This too shall pass.” I think of it during the tough times (in step-parenting, especially) - but I also think of it in the beautiful times. We are promised nothing - and nothing stays the same forever: the good or the bad. So cherish the fleeting good moments - and barrel through the bad ones. They both shall pass.
Today, as apart of my monthly stepmom feature, I want to introduce you to one of the first virtual stepmom friends I made, Colleen LeMaire. Not only is Colleen an incredible stepmom, she is a former blogger for About.com's Stepmom Section, and the Author of the "I Have Series", kid friendly stories on grown up topics! Colleen refers to her stories as "fairytales with a twist!" (I LOVE THAT!)