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It is so hard to put into words what I felt when I read J’s entry below because I feel the same way and more. Although, I know that many of you reading this blog might think “Wow, that is too good to be true…..they must be making this up.” But, we’re not. I have often heard from co-workers and even other friends of mine that my relationship with my husband’s ex-wife is odd, peculiar, too close for comfort and even weird. That how could I be best friends with my husband’s ex-wife. Some of you may be thinking the same way. My answer to all of these is this…. Why shouldn’t we? I think other people are the weird, peculiar and odd ones to NOT have a good relationship with their current husband’s ex, especially when there are children involved. I believe that a lot of mothers and step-mothers have insecurity problems and that is the root to a lot of broken marriages and failed friendships. For those of you who try hard to establish good relationships with your husband’s ex’s or current wife with no good return, then that is the other person’s loss, for sure, but keep trying. No good deed goes unnoticed in the eyes of God.
In our case, I couldn’t be more proud of the relationship that J and I have. Before my husband and I married, we all decided to be on one accord – one family. As we often say, “We don’t do steppers in our family.” The most important person between the four of us is our daughter. She is the most caring, loving, kind-hearted little girl that I have ever met, and all of those qualities are a reflection of her mother. She is the exact same way. Our daughter has 2 little sisters by way of her mother’s current marriage. Those girls are my girls too, and I don’t care what people say. If you don’t get anything out of our story, get this….CHILDREN LIVE WHAT THEY LEARN. I believe we are teaching and bringing them up the way God would want us to. We are showing them that just because divorce has been one part of their lives; it doesn’t have to ruin their lives or their relationships with their parents and step-parents. Step-parents don’t have to be the enemy and our daughter doesn’t have to be pulled between us or feel guilty for loving all of us. I know that I am not her mother. I know that I would never ever try to fill those shoes. But, I also know that I am what God wants me to be in her life, and I will be there for her as a standing rock to which she can depend on, no matter what. I will always do what is best for her. I believe if mothers and step-mothers will allow themselves to open up and know these things about one another, they too can have what we have. Of course, there are those few crackpots out there that shouldn’t have children or be around children and those we cannot change, only pray for.
I have three boys. Two of which are over 18 and one who is 9. When I was pregnant with my nine year old, I lost my children’s biological father/my husband in a motorcycle accident. God led me to move away to a new city to start my life anew. I met my current husband when my little boy was 8 months old. We didn’t marry until he was 5. Although my son knows that his biological father lives in Heaven, he has only known my current husband to be daddy. My step-daughter is only 14 months older than my little boy so they are very close. I used to worry in the beginning that she would feel like my son gets her daddy all the time and she doesn’t. My worries were for nothing. She shares her daddy with an open heart and open arms. She is so unselfish. She is the big sister that my little boy needed. She watches out for him just as she does her own little sisters at home. She is a brilliant young lady and God has DIVINELY blessed me by putting her in my life.
I came from a broken home. My parents were selfish at times for whatever reasons, i.e., my dad was young and my mom was bitter. They divorced when I was 6 years old. I will never forget my father seeing us off at the airport in Alaska because my mom was taking us to live with my grandparents in Atlanta, and he was crying while waving goodbye. My dad later married a lady named Carol and she was a horrible step-mother. She emotionally battered me from the time summer started until the day it ended. It may not have seemed that bad to my Dad but, his mind was clouded. To a 10 year old, however, it was more than bad, it was horrific! Needless to say, the last time I saw her was thankfully that summer when I was ten. She only thought about herself and not the children she was affecting. She would say bad things about my mother, she was abusive and she made it clear that my father was her husband and now her childrens’ step-father. We were just visitors and she made sure we knew it. She caused a lot of the kind of drama that I see happening all the time in my adult life with my other friends who are divorced, and some of you readers have experienced the same. THANK THE LORD IN HEAVEN, my dad divorced her but unfortunately, my mom alienated us from my dad after that, and I didn’t see him again until I was in the 8th grade. However, in my mother’s defense, she was doing that with the premise that she was protecting us and always did the best job she could. So, I can relate to a lot of issues that children of divorced parents go through. A shining light, however, is that my dad married a wonderful woman years later, named Dean, and I now have a step-mother that I cherish. She is a strong woman and has taught me a lot about being a step-mother. She is a quiet teacher. She let us come to her on our own terms and didn’t force herself on us. That was a great lesson and one that I implement with my step-daughter. I vowed that if I ever had a step-child, I would NEVER become that kind of person like Carol. I never want my step-daughter to ever feel about me the way I felt about Carol.
You know, I guess my final words would be that I hope our story has inspired some of you moms and step-moms, dads and step-dads to do your best to try to make your children’s lives better instead of more complicated. It’s all about RESPECT. I respect my step-daughter’s mother and her husband. I respect my husband. I respect MYSELF and by all of us having respect for one another, it makes life for all of us less confusing and teaches our children humility. Most importantly, if our children ever become step-parents one day they will have a great example to go by.
I am not saying that our family’s road map doesn’t have bumps and bruises along the way. We aren’t perfect. There are times when we disagree, but work really hard to see each others’ point of view.
I guess I also would say try not to judge so harshly if you are a step-mother or a current wife of a man who has an ex-wife or baby’s mama. Try to put yourself in her shoes and see through her eyes. How would you want your children treated, if you were in the same situation? How would you want to be treated? If you are an ex-wife of a man who is remarried and you two share a child together, don’t automatically think that the new wife has to be the enemy. She will be the one taking care of your children when you aren’t around. How you see her in your eyes means more than you think it does. She can really end up being an ally, a comrade to you. She may even end up being your best friend……Be blessed.
Where do I begin, with how bad I feel for the women out there who have this family drama in their lives? As women, we need to stick together and build each other up or no one else will. Men are wonderful companions, but there is nothing like the true friendship of another woman. We understand where each other is coming from and our feelings come from a place of sincerity and love. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband but there are just some instances when my girlfriend can give me a better perspective on the situation.
In my case, my best friend is my daughter’s step-mother. Yes, that means my ex-husband’s wife! I have been blessed to have this woman in my life and in the life of my daughter. There comes a time in your life when you have to realize, as hard as it is, that it is not always about YOU. It is about your children. My ex-husband and I had been divorced for about 5 years before I got re-married and he did as well. He and I have had our differences (obviously because we are divorced), but in the end it all comes down to what is best for our daughter. I do have to say our choices of spouses fit us both much better and make each of our homes better for her.
The friendship I have with my daughter’s step-mother is unusual and we get plenty of questions and looks and confusion abounds. “How can you be friends with someone who is married to your ex?” is an obvious one. My answer is that it is easy to be her friend. She is such a wonderful person, who would want to miss out on an opportunity to have friendship and support in their lives just because of who they are married to? Another answer to that question is that I have no romantic or emotional feelings for my ex-husband. Most of the problems women have in these types of scenarios is that they are in some way still attached or want to be with their ex. Some will never admit it but it comes out one way or another. And, one way it does rear its ugly head is in the form of jealousy. That is why some women are unable to be friends or even have a civil conversation with the other woman involved, be it a girlfriend or second wife.
I remember trying to find a minister or pastor to marry my current husband and I. I belonged to a church but he didn’t and he didn’t agree with my pastor and so on. So I was on the hunt for someone to marry us. I had an appointment at this one church to speak with the pastor. Little did I know they had a policy that you had to have counseling before they would begin to speak with you about getting married—counseling for those who had been divorced that is. So, I sat and listened and answered all of the Pastor’s questions politely while thinking to myself the whole time, “what does this have to do with me getting married a second time?” At the end of the session he says to me “I believe from all you have told me that you are completely over your ex-husband. I would be happy to be a part of your ceremony this time around”. Again I was thinking what is going on? Of course I was over my ex-husband. I love my husband now more than ever. My point to this story is that sometimes it takes another perspective for you to realize the truth about yourself. Your truth may come to be different than mine. You may find you have unresolved feelings for your ex and that is why you feel bitterness, resentment, anger, etc. for him and for his new wife or girlfriend. Just food for thought.
At any rate, I truly don’t know what I would do without her in my life. The positives far outweigh the negatives (if any) in our friendship. How nice it is for me to never worry about my daughter when she is over at her dad’s? I know if she can’t be with me, that my best friend is there to take care of her. There was a time when my ex-husband wasn’t married and if he had my daughter for the weekend, I did not sleep—at all—until my baby came home Sunday night. Not only does my best friend love my daughter I share with my ex-husband but she loves all three of my girls. They both do! My two little ones go over to their house and play and they baby sit for my husband and I. Again, I trust them both with my most precious gifts—my girls. My girls love them too and they only see the positive side of our situation. They don’t yet understand divorce and that my oldest daughter has a different dad. They look at it as my oldest has two dads and two moms—how great is that?
Soccer games, parent/teacher conferences, school plays, graduations, etc. get crowded with all of us, but I believe that people who think we are strange, don’t understand how much we are helping our kids. On Father’s Day we have made it a tradition that we all spend it together so no one has to choose between anyone. My daughter loves and adores her father and my husband has never tried to take his place. She is one to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings and my husband has loved her like his own from day one. Mother’s Day, we split too. No one is threatened, no one is jealous because we all are secure and confident in ourselves, our children, and our situation. My husband and my ex-husband play basketball and X-box together, too.
On top of this, my best friend has three boys she bravely raised on her own before she met her husband. Her youngest son never knew his biological father and my ex-husband has raised him as his own and we respect him for stepping up to take that role seriously. I love all of her boys too. We share birthdays, holidays, school events, births, deaths, etc. all together. How can that ever be a bad or weird thing? The more support and love you have in your life the richer your life will be.
Blended Family Soap Opera (BFSO) has added two new cast members! An ex-wife and second wife, who are…get this…actually best friends!!! I am so excited to have them on board as I believe that they will offer a perspective on the blended family that is so refreshing. They’ve had years of blended family experience and have managed to work out the kinks enough to develop solid friendships within their family unit. How wonderful is that? Check out our About Us page to learn more about these two. As always, thanks for reading and your comments and questions are always so greatly appreciated.
I recently read the following post that was written by another blogger who happens to be the product of a divorced family. Her mother and father were divorced, and her father remarried. She wrote the post about her “second mom.” It’s always refreshing to hear from adult children because they provide so much insight regarding how the blended family has and continually affects them. This provides us with the opportunity to put those assumptions to rest and hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.
My Second Mom
June 1st is my dad and step-moms anniversary. I hesitate to call her. It’s not like she won’t already be thinking about it and I want her to know how I feel. I just don’t want to remind her of her pain.
My dad is gone, but I still want to celebrate the union that made Gramma sweet family. That day almost thirty years ago tied our souls to hers and we’re never going to let go. The heart break is, he’s gone.
I don’t want to just remember the fact that if he were still here they would be celebrating another beautiful anniversary. There marriage was one to aspire to. They loved each other with a passion beyond your imagination. They supported each other and treated each other with kindness. They trusted and respected each other. They enjoyed each others company immensely. They had their individuality, but they were the best of friends. I can’t even imagine the weight on her chest. I can’t even imagine the crushing numbness that comes with losing a spouse.
But she, Gramma sweet, is one of the most amazing women I have ever had the blessing of knowing. She took my dad in holy matrimony with three children and a hurting ex-wife. She made herself available to us in a way that our blood parents could not. She loved because she wanted to, because she could, because she chose to. Not because we were born to her.
God works in mysterious ways. Growing up a child of divorce, I had a lot of questions. Ironically, I never wished my parents back together like some kids do. I just wanted them to be neighbors. I didn’t want to give up my step-parents. I knew even then that they were a blessing in disguise. That’s why I want to celebrate tomorrow, because tomorrow is the anniversary of Gramma sweet telling the world not only how much she loved my dad but also how much she loved us kids.
Some people are lucky enough to get one set of beautiful people to raise them. Divorce can turn even beautiful people into complete fools. I was doubly blessed. Not that my parents never made any mistakes, they were human after all. Looking back I see that most of the mistakes were made by me.
If I could take her pain away I would. I would take it all and swallow it hole. I would carry it with me until the end of time so that she did not have to suffer. I would spend every last day begging God to bring him back only for her, not even for me. I love her. She is my parent, my friend and my mom.
A reader asked this question sometime ago via a magazine (Indiana Parenting) that I used to write for. It is a situation that is common in blended families (including mine at one point), so I thought I’d share her question and my response.
Question: I have two children with someone else, and I am married to someone who has a child with someone else. Our children have different school schedules because we live in different states. My husbands “baby mama” always wants his son with us when he’s out of school, but my children are still in school, and it is a HUGE distraction for them. They are all around the same age and get very excited when they are with each other. Therefore, my children go to school tired and unable to concentrate. So, I suggested that the visitation schedule be set up for times when all children are out of school (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, MLK Day) so that no one suffers academically. We could also increase the number of weeks he spends with us in the summer because all children are out of school then (we currently only get him for 4 out of 12 weeks) My husband’s “baby mama” said that my husband should always consider the best interest of their son first no matter who is hurt by it. Simply put, my kids aren’t his kids (even though he’s the father figure in the home who’s raising them). KP, should my husband always consider his son first even though his decisions might hurt my children?
Answer: At the end of the day the blended family is hard for EVERYONE involved, not just one party and their children! When there are multiple children within the blended family they all have to be considered, and COMPROMISE MUST EXIST. All the children, on either side, can’t come first all the time. If everyone is considering their child first, then all you’re going to get is a 4 car collision. If your husband’s ex-wife is suggesting that he always consider their child first, then isn’t it fair for you to do the same? So, there has to be a compromise because every child won’t, and often times, shouldn’t be first all the time. The adults must do what is logical and best for all children involved. If it is a distraction for your husband’s son to be there when school is in session, that is completely understandable, and isn’t necessary when other options exist. If his ex-wife isn’t willing to review those options, then she is being difficult. Why can’t his son visit more during the summer and during the breaks when all children are out of school, as opposed to during the school year when school breaks and schedules are conflicting?
My advice to you and your husband is to remember the vows that you took before God – for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, and forsaken all others. Those are powerful words that mean something, and you can’t throw them out the window because his ex-wife is trying to interfere or doesn’t agree. Although it is ideal for everyone involved to have a meeting of the minds, it often times isn’t likely. Therefore, you and your husband must achieve consensus when it comes to running your household. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have to consider your children, but your husband should as you should consider his. It is also essential that you openly communicate with the children, especially his son, if schedule changes are made. You want this information to come from you and not her.