It is my hope that all you stepmom readers will learn something from my experience of losing both my husband and stepsons. Some stepmoms may wonder why they should try to get along with the mother of the kids. Why shouldn’t you is what I want to know? I realize that some mothers are difficult to endure. Some are hostile, weird, crazy, jealous, insensitive, manipulative, beastly, petty—fill in the blank. Eliza was all that and then some! You might be thinking, Well you don’t know my husband’s ex! While I might not know her personally, I do know the archetype.
Even though I know I tried my very best to smooth things over between she and I (in the last two years), she didn’t. I could only control myself, and rightly focused on changing my attitude about her instead of trying to force her to be different.
Therefore, I want to make sure that you are doing everything on your end to be peacable. Please pick and choose your battles and think of your situation with the end in mind. We all know that stepparents have no legal rights to their stepchildren. Your husband is truly that connecting force between you two. Unless, you have a stable relationship with the mother, that is (especially in the event of death and/or the children are not of age). No him or her=no stepchildren. You can’t force/demand/court order the biological parent to allow you to interact with their kids.
As you see in my case, it is to your benefit to get along with the mother of the children. I truly wish that Eliza would have honored my role and feelings. There is no compelling reason that Nicholas and I should not have the boys in our lives. It still hurts that she is punishing us in this manner.
If you are giving it the best that you’ve got, I heartily encourage you to keep up the good work! Life offers few fairy tale endings and your efforts alone may not produce the desired outcome. But speaking from experience, you won’t regret trying.
I do, however, wish that I would have had this attitude from the very inception. While I wasn’t the one who started the fires and mostly ignored her combustive behavior, I wouldn’t have spit on her if she was on fire (as the old saying goes)! I felt like it wasn’t my “job” to appease her (or get along with her) in any manner. Afterall, it was her who was causing trouble, being difficult, and behaving in a bellicose manner!
So if you are holding onto grudges, insecurites, myths about the ex, things your stepchildren told you she said, past hurts, or any other minute issues (and if it’s not life or death—IT IS SMALL!) stop while you still have time to regroup, reflect, and reposition yourself. Like it or not, she will always be their mother. You can’t “wish” her away or pretend she doesn’t exist. Figure out exactly what you want your blended family life to be and go for it. Wake up and change directions while you still can. Most anything is possible because everyday is a new day. Even if you can’t have peace with her because of her relunctance (or disinterest) you can have it within for trying.
With that being said, if you still can’t think of any reason under the sun as to why it would be a good idea to be on stable ground with your husband’s ex; think about your stepchild(ren) and your life without them in it.