Life as a Stepmom - How to Handle Issues around the EX
This topic definitely hits home for me. I came into my relationship with my husband when his son was 12 years old. My husband had just bought his home in southern California and was traveling back and forth, on a regular basis, to England to spend time with his son who was living with his mum. So it was a long distant relationship for the first few years.
In 2008, we decided to move to his home in the midlands of England so that he could pursue a business opportunity (this was not far from where his ex-wife and son lived). It was nice that we were able to see more of his son and spend more time together as a family. I enjoyed that very much.
It wasn't until his son decided that he wanted to live with us around the time that he entered sixth form (high school). He and his mum started to butt heads more frequently and life with Dad seemed much easier, which it was. For me, this new dynamic was slightly awkward and there was a lot to learn around it.
Knowing what my role was around my stepson was all new to me. Since I never had children of my own, nor had I ever dated anyone with children before, it was completely new to be someone's stepmom. Mind you, I have a million nieces and nephews (even great nephews and even a great, great nephew!) so being around children, knowing their behaviors and how to 'manage' their characters was nothing new to me, but to actually have responsibility over a child was a completely different situation.
It took us awhile to find a balance at home. Being that both my husband and I had different upbringings we didn't always see things in the same light and disagreed on so many issues but we eventually came to a middle ground.
His ex-wife, however, made it even more awkward and a bit frustrating to say the truth. First and foremost, she laid down the fact that she did not want to meet me, for reasons I will never know. Having to deal with that, my stepson was having to make some really difficult decisions between his parents. How we spent and celebrated holidays and birthdays was always hard for him and for us. It seemed that there was always something where she was concerned and it was frustrating on many occasions.
I tried reaching out to her with letters and I would send her Christmas gifts but she was very adamant about not getting to know me (couldn't get herself to even write me back). In all fairness, on occasion, she would let my husband know that she appreciated my gifts and said 'thank you' through him.
I could understand if perhaps my husband had left her for me and there was serious drama around our relationship, but that was definitely not the case. They had been divorced for years and he had moved on by residing in the states to get on with his life.
Through all of this, we were up and down many times with having to plan and spend time with my stepson, at the same time respect her wishes, to keep the balance. It certainly wasn't easy.
Without having to go too much into this story because I could go on and on! Having the chance to live with my stepson was simply part of my personal growth not just as a stepmom but as a person. We were able to connect more and more and he has always been a sweetheart to me, even when I made him clean up after himself and take out the trash. He has a wonderful disposition, a sensitivity for human kindness and a great sense of humor. He's an amazing young man now at the age of 27. I learned so much from him, like patience! And acceptance, as I had to really dig down and accept the situation for what it was and truly 'let go' of the things that I can't control even when someone refuses to give me a chance without even knowing me (still haven't met her to this day!)
I also learned that expectations are disappointments waiting to happen. We can't expect anyone to do anything, or say anything, we must learn to live and let live without disappointment or judgment. Otherwise, we lose ourselves in the madness and that can lead to so much unhappiness and losing our happiness isn't worth any of it!
So from one stepmom to another, be kind to yourself and explore the lessons that are being put in front of you. Know that nothing is personal and by accepting what is, you can live a much happier and more peaceful life. Giving your power to someone who can't find their own happiness would be a complete and utter shame (not to mention waste of energy!)
You are here to live your best life with the person you love :)
With Gratitude x