I’ve contemplated writing this post for months…because there is such emotion behind it that I didn’t want it to all be anger and irritation. But here goes…because I want to be honest with what you may go through and real about how flawed I am and how much I wish I could be the “perfect” ex-wife.
If you’ve been on Facebook for more than 6 months then you’ve seen the letter that, supposedly, some woman wrote to her ex-husband’s fiancé. It’s all about a picture perfect world that some perfect woman is writing to some perfect new step-mom. About how she never wanted her family to fall apart but couldn’t ask for a better step mom to be in her kids lives than the new step-mom.
Forget you, perfect ex-wife. Where are you, perfect new step-mom?? Why can’t you be my kids new step-mom? Why must you show up the rest of us ex-wives just trying to make it through the week without wishing ill-will on our ex-husbands?
Let me start this by saying that I do know of a one-of-a-kind ex-wife/new wife relationship that mirrors this “picture perfect” life. And it’s legit. But it’s rare. And let me repeat…ONE-OF-A-KIND. So big props to you T and J for making such a tough situation, fantastic for the kids. I truly look up to you and look to you for inspiration to make my situation as copasetic as yours.
My world…Tuesdays and Wednesdays and every other weekend, consist of me saying prayers with my daughter, for my boys hearts and minds to be protected and covered by the good lords’ hands. It’s all I can do. It’s all the control I have over what they see and hear and witness when they aren’t with me.
The reason behind my prayer is because even in front of me, even in front of the boys, the other woman in my boys lives could care less who I am. Could care less that I am the one that legally gets to make decisions with her boyfriend about MY boys for the next 11 years. Is so insecure that she has to share a tiny bit of her boyfriend’s time, each month, with me that she overcompensates in a couple of ways.
- By diminishing my boys accomplishments by highlighting her own sons accomplishments and over talks her own boyfriend (my son’s father) when this insecurity arises.
- By calling my two boys, “her” children. I’ve learned that this is a particular “M.O.” of hers when she is dating someone…but even with that excuse, it drives me insane.
- By buying them stuff that she knows I wouldn’t buy.
- By completely ignoring me when I’m around her. By completely ignoring my wishes that she knows I’ve talked to my ex/her boyfriend about, when I’m around her.
- Doesn’t listen to my children when they are with them. Even my youngest is starting to voice his thoughts on his dad and his gf and his gf’s kids (which aren’t always the nicest)…things about how he doesn’t like one of the kids, how he doesn’t want to do things on “their” side of town because his friends are on our side of town and other things…
- Has no clue, and has yet (almost 8 months in) to figure out what my children like…even things like what they want in their lunch…or if they even like her children…or even what is healthy in their lunches…or what they do each day at school. So much so, that I have to make sure that they complete all of their weekly-assigned homework on my days (which also happens to be their athletic days).
But I’m just jealous of her, right?? That’s it…It couldn’t possibly be that her boyfriend’s ex-wife just wants to know that when Mom is around, that she (the girlfriend) has no voice in the matter. That Mom gets to make the choice. That Mom gets to talk about it to Dad without her interference. That wanna-be-step-mom has no voice in the matter. I wish she would get it. And I wish I wouldn’t lose it when she didn’t ‘get it’ because it doesn’t show my grace. (And I am getting a tad better at it…just not perfect.)
But I do nothing but hate on them, right??? If you ask them, that’s all I do…not be a mom…not take care of their basic needs – scheduling and taking them to their dentist and doctor appts., making sure they shower every day that they are with Erik and I (because they don’t with them), play hockey in clean equipment, clip their fingernails, make sure they get haircuts, allow them to pick out presents for my family and their fathers family for each holiday (mother’s day, father’s day, etc.). I must be the nutty one because I can’t stand a woman that treats my kids like the “ugly step-mother” did in Cinderella.
Then I flip out, then I kick myself for not showing more class, then I kick myself for caring for not showing class, then I kick myself for not being able to let “stupid” actions just role off of my shoulders. Then I say a prayer for patience because I remind myself that there’s nothing I can do but wait for my boys to see who their father and girlfriend really are…and yet I don’t really want them to fully have to experience who they really are. This is divorce. This is what sucks. But a necessary “suckage”.
What hurts the most? That neither one can show any respect to me that I may be one of the two people that knows best for those two beautiful souls that I gave birth to. That neither one can see the obvious that when I have them for the majority of the week after school, that their grades go up and when I don’t have them that their grades go down. Nope…all I get is crap from him that I don’t respect her. What should my argument be for that? I don’t have one because I really don’t care and don’t have to care.
How am I supposed to “accept” a woman that can’t be bothered with my children? How am I supposed to “accept” a woman that tries to change their schedule to accommodate hers? How am I supposed to “accept” a woman and her kids that my kids don’t like?
Reality check..I don’t have to….BUT my feelings don’t matter. I wish someone had warned me 4 years ago, that if I was the one to make that decision to leave my marriage, that I would also potentially be giving up the chance to protect my kids from a god-knows-who woman (a little less than) half of the time. That I would have to accept a complete a-hole as my kids (likely) soon-to-be-step-mom. That I would be shown complete disrespect, as their mother, by another woman…by another mother. (But it should be known that this same “other woman” also brags that she has spent over $100k on fighting the two fathers of her two children for child support and custody).
Why am I surprised? I shouldn’t be, right?? But yet I am…every.single.time. Because I hope. I hope for the best. I hope that they will have true feelings that how they look down from their “ivory thrones”, down their noses, to me, to have an understanding that we should all want the same thing…for the boys to benefit from us. From our knowledge of life. From our knowledge of how the world works. From our life experience. From our flaws, From our screw ups. From our successes.
But nope…I don’t have that idyllic world. I wish I did. It takes a lot of effort on both sides. And what I’ve learned is that you can’t force someone to work on it with you. You can only hope that they will do the right thing for the kids; that they will work on it with you. Zebras never change their stripes…this has become my mantra. Just like I’ve had to literally remind myself of everything that is wonderful about my life and every reason that I’m thankful to the good lord that I left him, I have to remind myself that, except only very rarely, no one changes. Hoping for the best does nothing but hurt me because I’ve set these expectations that no one can meet. That no one that I’ve ‘set the expectations on’ can mentally or physically meet because they don’t have the capacity to meet them.
While the idyllic life is one that I truly wish for you, I don’t want to sugarcoat and also want to tell you that there could be a chance that you probably won’t ever see it. If you do, please cherish it and know I’m jealous of you…genuinely jealous and happy for you, all at the same time. For the rest of us, know that you aren’t alone, you need to take each day, one at a time, keep your friends close so that you can vent “gracefully”, and somehow remind yourself daily that the kids will “get” it one day. They will understand why you made the hardest choice of their lives and yours. And that they love you and love you above anyone else in their world.
An Early Happy Mothers Day to all of you.
Know you are loved. I promise – you are loved.