Empathy is a tricky thing. It’s not universal. It’s not even as common as we like to think.
When you say you’re empathetic, are you? Do you REALLY have the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes? REALLY?
I’m part of several different online groups with fellow step-moms. As I have mentioned before, these groups have taught me that some step-moms are great and the other’s are well, not so great.
In these chat rooms I am constantly seeing step-moms vent about the “crazy ex-wives” and tell stories about stunts the “crazy ex-wife” has pulled…
Before having my baby, I used to find these posts good for the odd chuckle.
I would say to myself… “she’s right, that lady actually is crazy!”
To be honest, from time to time I’ve even been guilty of passing judgement in my own situation
Then I had a baby. I became a Mom.
They said it would happen, and it did. My perspective totally changed.
Now I can really put myself in that “crazy ex-wife’s” shoes
I’ve only been a “step-mom” for about a year and a half. I am still very much a rookie. Still trying to figure this all out! But since becoming a mother myself I have been able to look at my role from a completely different perspective.
Initially when I decided to write this post, I was going write a list of all the things you should consider before you call his ex-wife crazy – but you know what? That’s not going to do anyone any justice, because everyone has a different situation!
Some step-moms were mistresses, some ex-husbands fell in love with another woman and decided to leave their family, some ex-wives up and left or decided they weren’t happy. There are so many different scenarios that lead to divorce or separation.
However, despite the uniqueness of every situation, I think there is a one single question that every step-mom should ask herself before she calls his ex-wife crazy.
“How would I act if I were in her shoes?”
And don’t answer in the way you THINK you should? Or based on the way you believe she SHOULD act.
Put your Mama Bear pants on and REALLY think about it!
How would you react if YOU were in HER situation?
Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my answer to this question. Do you want to know what I’ve realized? I’ve realized that If my husband and I separated, and he moved on with a younger woman who ultimately moved into my old house and started to care for my children, then YES there would be days where I would be crazier than your top 10 crazy ex-wives combined!
I’m serious… If I had to go to sleep at night without my baby girl sleeping in her crib down the hall, knowing another woman was taking care of her, EVEN though I’m sure that woman would be kind, gentle and caring, I can guarantee I would be a complete lunatic.
Not everyday. Not always. But every once in a while I am sure I would be taking a Trip To Snapsville and absolutely be worthy of the label “crazy”
To be clear, this is not me calling his ex-wife crazy.
(Even if I thought that, I wouldn’t be dumb enough to post it on the internet)
This is me saying, if I were her, I wouldn’t be crazy, I would be BAT-SHIT crazy!
Disclaimer: I’m not giving all those “crazy” ex-wives a get out of jail free card. Really I am not. I am sure there are several of you step-moms, who after asking yourself what you would do in her shoes, came to the conclusion that YES she is completely irrational & crazy. That’s fine. I am not saying she isn’t (and I’m not saying you aren’t either).
What I am saying is that there are two sides to every story. That divorce is hard. That watching another woman look after your kids would be killer. That seeing your ex-husband form a family unit with another woman isn’t an easy pill to swallow, even if he’s the last man in the world you want to spend the rest of your life with.
What I am saying is that we’ve all got a little crazy in us. So whether you’re dealing with a little crazy or a whole lot, if you’re able to truly put yourself in her shoes and even get a GLIMPSE of things from her perspective, you may just be able to gain a better understanding of the “rationale” for all the craziness you’ve signed up for.