We just wrapped up the first session of "The KICK-ASS STEPMOM Project" and all I can say is WOW! The response to the content and connections developed between the Stepmoms in this group was absolutely phenomenal! I cannot tell you how excited I am to launch the second round this fall!
On that note...
About a week ago, I asked my "virtual" stepmom friend Jen, to provide some advice to the stepmoms in the group, on what can be a very contentious topic ... dealing with your husband's ex wife!
Jen is a stepmom herself, and since stumbling upon her blog "The Velvet Hive" over a year ago, I have been really inspired by her attitude, perspective, and admirable relationship with her stepdaughter's mother!
It was no surprise that her response to this request blew me again. In fact, it was too good to just keep for the ladies in The KICK-ASS Stepmom Project, so I asked Jen if I could share it with all of you! She graciously said yes... so you're welcome!
Here is what she said... Copied and Pasted straight from our Online Group!
Jamie and I were talking and I was telling her that sometimes I feel uncomfortable doling out advice on step-parenting and relationships with the ex-wife/mom of the stepchildren, because I do have such an unusually good relationship with Hannah's (my step-daughter) mom.
I know that it takes two and if you're the only one trying to make it work, it can feel nearly impossible to have comfortable/good co-parenting relationship.
That said, no co-parenting relationship is perfect (mine included) and below are some ways I've found that work for me.
1) The number one thing that has eased me into step-parenthood has been that, from the beginning, I viewed Hannah's mom as Hannah's mom - not as my husband's ex-wife.
Sometimes when we take the view of your step-child's parent out as your husband's ex-wife/lover/girlfriend, it also removes any subconscious/underlying feelings that will make this gig ten times harder.
I am not in denial that they had a (very real) relationship, but that relationship had nothing to do with me then, and certainly has nothing to do with me now. My only business here is Hannah.
2) Take a cue from Elsa and LET IT GO. I learned early on that I don't need a dog in every fight (that's probably not a PC analogy, sorry).
I know Jamie has touched on this, too. It is so hard for me to walk away from things and not give my two cents, but sometimes we have to let our partners take the wheel and walk away.
Sometimes we don't need to know every single little thing - and it helps my relationship with Hannah's mom not to.
3) The old "walk a mile in their shoes". Compassion.
(This one may not apply to your situation if you are dealing with a total monster-mom.) I don't think I truly understood Hannah's mom until I had my daughter, Ivy.
And I actually told her this and apologized for some nasty thoughts that ran through my head before I had a baby: "What's the big deal if Hannah does that?" "Why is she (Hannah's mom) so emotional/over-protective?"
And even though I knew how hard it was for my husband to have split time with Hannah, for some reason, I never thought about how Hannah's mom had to also surrender time with her daughter.
Now that I have Ivy, I can't imagine having to give her up for a holiday, etc. And I'm probably the most anxious, over-protective mom around.
Again, I know these may not work for everyone. I have a highly unusual situation (hell, Hannah's mom BABYSAT our daughter last weekend, so we could have a date night!).
But I do know that the only thing you have full control over in this step-parenting role is YOU. And you alone. Your feelings, your reactions, your way to do this. You have no control over anyone else - so take care of yourself, do your best FOR and DESPITE what you may receive in return.
If you haven't already... go follow Jen's Facebook Page! ... What I LOVE about this Stepmama is that she doesn't just talk stepmom life... she has great recipes, decor, inspiration and musings that will make you chuckle!
Also! If you haven't heard, I've recently started The KICK-ASS STEPMOM Community! An online forum for stepmoms to connect and provide each other with real life, tried + true solutions for their stepfamily stressors.
If you're looking for a positive stepmom community then you should join us!
All you have to do is click the link below and get on the The KICK-ASS Stepmom Email list! ... Once you do, all the information for this exclusive community will be sent to your inbox!