I find it very difficult to deal with the situation I’ve inherited that my ex-husband and his current girlfriend are taking their new girlfriend’s children (4 and 8) and her other step-kids (2) from my ex and our remaining children (1 and 7) to visit them during the Christmas holidays. I love my ex-husband and two of our kids and think he will be a great father. I have also spent my entire adult life as a single parent. The other kids are my nieces and nephews, who I’m close to, and my relationship with my step-kids is awesome. When he proposed, he said he wanted me to have a more equal role in parenting, so I felt some relief. However, once he did, I immediately began to lose trust and hope in him. What exactly is his plan, exactly? Do I find out after the fact? A lot of my friends have said, “give them a chance,” but I do not feel comfortable being a step-mother to anyone. The children were nice enough about my decision not to visit, so I would be willing to allow them to remain friends if they get along great. But if the kids start getting upset or resentful, I don’t know what to do. They are great kids. – CA
Well, that’s exactly the dilemma.
I know that sounds harsh, but the harsh truth is that you can still be a stepmother to anyone. However, you can’t decide for anyone else. You can’t decide whether children who are dealing with their own pain, turmoil and hurt are good kids, not good kids. They are just kids, that means they can be awful, they can be nice, and they can be solid. If you were poor enough to be staying with your ex-husband’s soon-to-be-ex-wife when he popped the question, you’d be able to say the same thing about them. People have to play by their own rules, and it’s up to them to take care of their own actions.
You want what’s best for them, but you don’t want to be the mom to someone who doesn’t want to be a mom. But unfortunately, they won’t be able to choose who they want to be a mom to.
But your ex is the one making these decisions. So what does he think he’s doing? Could it possibly be any worse?
I see it as a challenge to figure out how to have the best of both worlds – being able to be the parent of everyone and at the same time, be the guiding force who can get the child to do what’s best for them. There’s no one formula for that, but many other people have found good ways to turn this situation around. Your friend has suggested that you probably don’t want to know whether the kids are OK or not. But sometimes, the best answer is to wait and see.
I understand that your ex feels bad for what he’s done to you and especially to your children, and as I said, my hope is that he doesn’t feel that way. However, I also feel that his actions can affect your children, too. You don’t want them to doubt you or ask you “why did you do that, Mom?” What it all comes down to is that whatever you do, however you take care of things, the best outcome is to help your children see your love and support.
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