Being a mother is hard enough. But when you’re a stepmother, the job can seem all but impossible. In addition to joining a family “already in progress,” a stepmother must also contend with those who are put off by the fact that you exist.
Not because of who you are, but because of what you represent. You, the stepmother, are the public signifier of her “broken home,” silently touting her now “Divorced” status with your mere presence.
While she has considered on many occasions simply accepting that he, and everybody else seems to be moving on, a part of her just can’t; not when it comes to you, the other/new woman. So through no fault of your own – at least at first – you become the object of her scorn. Initially, you try hard to garner her respect. But over time, you find that the venom and hostility that she feels toward you now rivals your own. Why does she hate you? Here are 5 good reasons:
1: She is Bitter:
Many divorced women have a hard time seeing their ex happy, especially if he’s happy with someone new. She has not yet come to terms with all of the hurtful, thoughtless, mean spirited things that her ex-husband may have done during her marriage, as well as the divorce. Or, the idea that he seems to be spending his days laughing, loving, and gallivanting about, completely carefree, while she is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart, and family, are enough to make her see red at the very sight of him and you.
The idea of having to deal with him on behalf of the children is sickening enough as it is, but the idea of having to muster anything more than a hollow, “Hello,” with a half-baked smile to you is almost more than she is willing to bear.
2: She is Jealous:
As much as she may be relieved to be divorced, she never thought her marriage would end in divorce. The reality is that no one gets married to get divorced. Of course she knew it was a possibility. I mean, people get divorced, right? But that’s people. That’s not her. And now, she is forced to watch from a distance as some other woman lives her life.
You wake up to her (ex)husband, to her children, to the life that should have been hers. Moreover, you seem to be happy with a life that she and he couldn’t make work. “How is that possible when he was the problem,” she silently wonders to herself.
And even though she wouldn’t go back to him in a million years, she still kind of misses the life she had, especially when she sees you and him playing, “Happy Little Family.” Think you miss the passive-aggressive snarks you take here and there when, “the green-eyed monster,” gets the better of her? Not a single one.
Even though she knew that eventually he’d move on and find someone new, she still feels like you are a replacement. Therefore, she can’t help but compare you to herself. “Is she prettier than me? Is she smarter? Is she a better mother? Hell no! Not even on her best day.”
So why is it then that she can’t stop herself from scrutinizing you from head to toe every time she see you? Why does she feel the need to find fault rather than praise? Could it be because you seem to be happy in a situation that she couldn’t make work?
No way. It couldn’t be that. After all, she knows him much better than you do, and for twice as long at that. She knows that it’s only a matter of time before his charming, attentive, amazing “representative,” makes way for the insensitive, egotistical, asshole that he truly is. And, of course, she is not one to say, “I told you so,” but she also can’t wait to be right. Think you don’t know she’s rooting for your relationship to fail? Fat chance.
4: She Hovers:
The bottom line is that in spite of her best intentions, they weren’t able to make their marriage work. This ultimately led to the two of them deciding to call it quits so that they could live their lives separately from one another. Yet, despite her divorce, she uses your partner’s parenting time to dictate, intrude, or otherwise control his (and his friends and family’s) relationships with the children under the guise of, “acting in the best interest of the children,” as their primary guardian. Most of what she takes issue with doesn’t pose any real detriment to her children. She just doen’t approve due to her own moral, intellectual, and/or emotional convictions. Therefore, she makes it her mission to legislate as much of the relationship between her ex and his child(ren) as she possibly can, because she can. Offended that she may be overly critical of you? Okay, “Pot.”
5: She is Mean:
As her child(ren)’s primary guardian, she recognizes the power that comes with, “final say,” and she wields that power to her pleasure. If she doesn’t want her child attending a special event that you and her ex would like them to be a part of… “Sorry, it’s not your weekend.” If she doesn’t want stepmom poking her nose in where she feels it doesn’t belong…she has a million and one ways of, “putting you in you place,” or not-so-politely reminding you that you are not her child(ren)’s parent.
In fact, the meaner she is, the better she feels. After all, she is doing what she thinks is best to protect her children from any more pain and suffering. They’ve gone through enough with the divorce, and their now having to be shuffled back and forth between their parent’s homes every other weekend. She is their mother! She knows best! And everything she does is only to protect them. Think anyone besides her believes that? Not even a little.
While this might seem like a condemnation of divorced mothers, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Being bitter, jealous, mean, and/or insecure doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you human. As the matriarch of your family, you ultimately set the tone for the environment your children live in.
Will they live in a two home family of cooperation and tranquility? Or will they live a life similar to members of the United Nations, impartially traveling back and forth between warring lands?
Because our actions and feelings are two distinct things, we have the ability to behave contrary to our emotions. Does this mean that you should act in a manner opposite your true feelings? Well… consider how often you do it for those you care much less about. Do you really want to garner the admiration, and respect of your children? Perhaps one way to do it may be by doing your part to ensure that, “she,” doesn’t hate you…