When we divorce someone we’ve had children with, they are part of our lives and we are a part of theirs forever. We certainly aren’t doing their laundry anymore, we definitely aren’t cooking for them and we finally are free from helping them find their keys in the morning, but we still have to raise our children together. So what happens when another woman comes into the picture? Suddenly, it’s easy to become possessive, isn’t it?
My step-daughter and I take many trips to the arts & crafts store, it’s sort of our thing. She picked out some yarn and I made her a hat. She was awfully proud of this hat because she picked it out and got to try it on throughout the few hours it took me to crochet it. She proudly wore it to school just when the weather was cool enough to do so and it’s remained in her backpack since then. When my husband’s ex-wife called saying their daughter had no hats for winter, he opened her backpack and saw this one in there. His ex-wife said that it doesn’t fit her (not only do we have many pictures of it fitting her, it was built specifically for her head) and then said that she doesn’t want her wearing it. My step-daughter then told her Dad that the hat isn’t hers, it’s Daddy’s hat. Her Mom had told her the hat was Daddy’s and that she wasn’t allowed to wear it.
My daughters have a Stepmom, too. She’s worked really hard to be a part of their lives. She takes them to movies, buys them things they enjoy and has recently told my oldest daughter that she thinks it would be cute if they shared clothing. My response? “Cool, does she have any cute clothes you’re sharing?”
Why the difference?
It all comes down to confidence in your relationship with your kids. If you’re struggling with another woman coming into your children’s lives, know that there is no one that could ever come between a Mother and her child. That bond is there for life because you’re working on it every chance you get. You have years and years of history with your children that no one can take away from you. You “get” your children and that’s something that no one, not even a Stepmom, can replicate. Trust your relationship.
So how do you handle the Stepmom?
First, and most important, trust your relationship with your children! For all the reasons stated above and for so many more, no one can come between you and your children. There may be other people in their lives, but no one else is Mom.
Second, keep most of the communication between you and your ex. You are still the parents and though stepparents may be a part of your children’s lives, the final say in all parenting matters lies with you and your ex.
Next, consider her more of an ally than an enemy. She is a part of your children’s lives, that’s something that you have to accept, but that’s not all bad. Women can work together the way men and women never will. Use that to ensure your children have the best of everything because, isn’t that what we all want?
Finally, when you feel your boundaries are being overstepped, don’t jump to react. Take a minute and ask yourself how your children are feeling. Do they notice? Is it hurting them? If not, then ask yourself the Question of 10’s. Will it matter in 10 minutes? 10 months? or 10 years? If it won’t, let it go.
One of the things that comes with divorce is the fact that you and your ex will likely date again. This opens up the possibilities of a Stepparent coming into the picture. Keep communication open with your ex because you’ll hear things he won’t and he’ll hear things you won’t. Understand the roles you two have with your children and set your goals for the roles you want Stepparents to have, too. They are a reality and, at least personally, not all bad. If you’re not ready for an open relationship, though, you can always use the “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” thought process. It’s about the kids, if you’re open to the idea, they’ll be open to the idea.