This holiday weekend we are looking forward to a nice long weekend with the kids. It wasn’t always this way. I know a lot of stepmoms are going into a situation where things seem like such a mess. There may be a hostile mother, and she may even be telling the kids bad things about the new woman in the picture. It’s complicated when the children are hearing things outside, whether from their mother or other family members. The children can come in with an attitude that they have dirt on you and there is no way that you are going to have control in their house. You are a foreigner in a foreign land. You are just supposed to walk in the door and make adjustments to all of the situations going on and have a good attitude about it.
There is good news in all of this; it takes about a year. For that first year, all you can do is be a friend, work with your husband and try to field things as they come. During that year, you are earning respect, doing damage control, and getting the kids to know you so that when other people say things, they will know better than to listen. For that first year you have to be patient, and be strong. Divorce is painful, and in essence, is a death. Those two people are watching their reality and the whole life they had planned die in front of them. They will mourn their past, and react to it in different ways. There’s nothing that can be done about that.
Being a stepmom, you are walking into a situation that is emotionally charged in so many ways, and if you know ahead of time that the hard part lasts about a year, you can be prepared for the work. And you can know it won’t always be like this. Things will even out, you will know what your role is and where you stand.
The kids weren’t always happy to see me. They didn’t know why I was there and thought that I was just being mean when I told them to do or not to do things. They tested my authority, my patience and my self esteem. They are children. And at first I didn’t have my husband backing me, and they saw they had all the power in the situation. After my husband got on track and worked with me, it helped our marriage, it showed the children I do have an important role here, and it showed them how a healthy marriage works.
You have an important role here. It means a lot to your husband, and is very important to the kids in the situation. They need to see a healthy marriage, an empowered woman, and that life goes on after something tragic happens. They need a mentor, a friend and a comforter. It is no small task and means a lot to everyone involved. In the day to day, it can seem like it’s all pointless. But take pride in your efforts, it is an honor to help someone grow up and to have a role in their life that is needed and would not be filled without you. Be blessed, I promise you are loved.