You don’t have to be a stepmom for very long to hear some variation of the following when it comes to sharing your struggles in blending a family – “you chose this life now shut the hell up!’
It’s not always those exact words, but the sentiment is always loud and clear. It can come from strangers, the ex-wife maybe or even your husband. So why is it that choosing to marry a man with kids’ means you are never allowed to express anything other than life is perfect? Or suffer the wrath of judgment.
How did I become a Mom of one? I made the following choices:
Married my Ex,
Stopped taking birth control,
Had unprotected sex with my Ex,
Got pregnant from said sex,
Carried and delivered my baby,
Raised my baby.
I made a series of choices to bring my daughter Elle into my life.
As much as I love her – she can drive me crazy, infuriate me and challenge me. I can complain all day long about raising her. Not only do I get fellow commiseration with other Mom’s – often times it’s considered a badge of courage to share my parenting challenges.
How did I become a stepmom of FIVE? I made the following choices:
Marrird my hubby Raylan, the man I loved.
That ONE choice brought five kids and two Ex Wives. That ONE choice always comes with the “you chose this life” mentality whereas, my SIX specific choices I made in relation to my own child gets me a free pass?!?!
It’s a fact plain and simple, biological, adoptive and step parents alike all made a choice or a series of choices to be in a child’s life! As much as we like to think our decision to divorce didn’t lay the groundwork for Step-parents entering into our kids and our life, we’re simply fooling ourselves.
We DON’T get to cut out the part of our life we no longer want (our spouse) and keep the rest of our life as if we never divorced.
I chose to marry my Ex Husband and I also chose to divorce him. He married another woman I married another man. I had no role in choosing my Ex Husband’s spouse or the life he chose to create with her.
However, I chose to marry him twenty three years ago. That choice along with having a child with him meant married or divorced that our choices would become intertwined.
I often hear fellow Divorced Mom’s lament “I don’t have a choice, the kids are my responsibility regardless of marriage.” Stepmom’s can walk away at anytime. For a lot of Mom’s like me that is their reality, their choice to not allow themselves to entertain the idea that they could leave.
For all of us Mom’s/Stepmom’s who have picked up the pieces left by a Mom who has chosen to stop being a Mom for whatever reason – we know that being a Mom is a choice.
My choice to marry my Hubby and become a stepmom has been far more challenging than my choice to become a Mom. I know as a Divorced Mom during the four years prior to marrying my Hubby, I often felt the same sentiment of “you chose this life now shut the hell up!”when dealing with my Ex Husband’s new Wife. Now as I straddle life as both a Divorced Mom and a stepmom I realize that we all made a choice to share this life raising children from our past marriages.
None of us understood the full complexity and ramifications of making our choices. Choosing to marry – have children – divorce – those choices fall on me and my Ex Husband and my Hubby and his Exes. Those very choices opened the door to this life and the people in it.
I no longer believe the “you chose this life” sentiment applies to one person or another in the divorce aftermath. If I had to make the sentiment applicable to anyone it would have to be to myself – not as a second wife/stepmom, but as a Divorced Mom of one. This started with my choices plain and simple.