Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mom/Stepmom Relationship

We had a visit from my stepson’s mother the other day. She lives in another state so we don’t see her very often.

She called on Sunday to say she would be visiting her family on Monday. (Her family lives about an hour away from us.) Before she left town, she wanted to stop by and visit her son.

She arrived at our house that evening with her boyfriend and we all hung out at for a couple of hours, ordering pizza, chatting, and laughing together.

I suppose this may seem a bit strange. I’ve heard how turbulent the mother/stepmother relationship can be. I think our society even expects it to be. There are books and websites and counselors out there offering us all kinds of tools to help manage it.

Maybe my situation is rare- I don’t know, but for whatever reason she and I have chosen to get along fine.

We hug hello (yes, this was a surprise to me the first time, too!) and she often mentions to my husband how much she likes me and how grateful she is that I don’t feel threatened by her or act harshly toward her.

I’m happy we get along. She is a friendly person who has never disrespected me. I don’t judge her and she doesn’t prevent me from being the kind of stepmom I am.

Maybe it’s because my own mom was adopted, so I understand that parenting is less about who birthed a child than it is about how you raise the child.

There is no reason for his mom and me to have a strained relationship. She, my husband, my stepson, and I are all comfortable in our roles and interactions with one another.

My stepson has been very loved in his 12 years on this planet. He had his dad, his grandparents, and in recent years, me taking care of him, leading and teaching him.

His mom loves him. If she wants to visit, I’m happy to welcome her into my home for dinner. Her boyfriend was nice, too. It was like spending the evening with friends.

Why shouldn’t it be? We have one very important interest in common.

I’d love to hear from other stepfamilies. How do you handle the mother/stepmother relationship?

5 comments:

  1. Wow. I am very impressed. It does seem strange but that is because in our situation the "getting along" is a facade. The x has a lot to be ashamed about and she has mentioned in mediation that she knows what we think about her...so she usually refuses to speak, make eye contact or acknowledge us at school events or any event for that matter.

    I go out of my way to be kind, but she still won't talk to me in public. She will sometimes text me and we discuss homework, clothes and pick up stuff but in person...it's like she doesn't know me. I help the kids make her birthday cards, mother's day presents and other little gifts and though she finally sent a thank you email...still no face to face hello. It is really frustrating. I just want to be cordial and get along for the kids. It makes for smoother transitions and life for the kids. Darnit! Why can't we all just get along? Grrrr

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  2. That's really great. I don't have much contact with my stepboys' mum, although we had an an uncomfortable but reasonably civil first meeting a couple of months back.

    On the other hand, my ex's partner and I are really great friends - love her dearly. I think we've built a good relationship by being very respectful of each other's boundaries and feelings.

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  3. I wish I was able to get along with my stepkids' Mom. I am always cordial and have even had HER mom (the kids' Grandma) into our home for dinner but their Mom is not welcome. She's a registered sex offender and for that...I show ZERO respect.

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  4. I would love to be able to get along with my stepkids biomum, and my husband would like to get along with her too. That is unlikely, as she chooses to ignore both of us as much as possible and communicate as little as possible. My husband sees her at handovers twice a week and while the interactions are no longer vitriolic like they sometimes were a few years ago, since she found out I am pregnant, they have been consistently cold. She has only ever met my gaze once. From the very little I know about her, I think this is her way of handling her difficult emotions, and so I do have sympathy. I appreciate that she doesn't engage in crazy-ex-wife behaviour. I still have hope that one day she will have dealt with her emotions enough to have a conversation with me, although the rational part of me thinks I'm only dreaming.

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  5. Great post, it's lovely to hear something postive and it must be reassuring for the kids to see you getting on. My step daughters biomum can barely look at me, let alone speak to me! My partner and I met just after they had seperated (she had just moved out).
    Word on the grapevine was that even though she instigated the split so her daugher could have the chance of being part of two happy families rather than one unhappy one - when the reality of the situation hit her she was very hurt that we fell in love and got together so quickly. I'd see her in the street and smile and say hello just to be polite and un-threatening but she would just give me a frosty stare or look away. One time we saw each other at the supermarket when I had a big packet of junior huggies dry-nights under my arm (obvious I was buying them for her daughter as she is much younger than my two)and I still got the cold shoulder. When her daughter is with us I treat her just the same as my own daughters, I make sure her hair and teeth get brushed and she eats well and gets loads of cuddles and love and bed time stories. It just doesn't feel right that I don't have a 'working' relationship with her mum but I'm hoping that one day when she is feeling stronger and happier in herself maybe she will find it in her heart to acknowledge that I exist and I am a important person in her daughters life. I don't want to be best buddies or anything - just to be acknowledged would be nice! Oh well, I guess sometimes it's just a matter of being patient and waiting for time to pass ....

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