I can’t think of anything that I’ve done or accomplished that is more difficult than blending families. And I think the role of “step-mom” may be the hardest thing I ever do. I truly do try my hardest stay grounded, rational, and considerate. However, some things, usually small ones, just throw me right off track and down the steep embankment into the rubble of hurt feelings. Things that from a another person’s perspective maybe would be a non-issue. But somehow for me, these small things point to the larger picture.
Un/Fortunately (I’m not sure if this is a blessing or a curse), I tend to find meaning in actions that others may not be aware of. I also have a very strong sense of right and wrong and what I consider to be “fair”. Not being included in decisions that impact our home are one of those things. A “yes” answer from a loving Dad to a pleading little girl turns into a disregard for my feelings about our house. I find myself on the opposite end of that with a frequent “No” to my own kid, trying to prevent for others the kind of feelings I sometimes experience. This is likely a mistake on my part, and I’m on the track to fixing that.
This week has really driven home this point. I realized that maybe I need to say yes, more, and also understand that there is no amount of talking or agreements that are going to change the way a Dad feels about pleasing his little girl. I need to get with it, or get on, as they say. My bestest life friend Boo Boo used to tell me you can’t fight a need. And I know the PF and his girl really need to forge their bond. Where I’m getting lost is where my needs/wants are in this.
I’m not sure what I need, but I sure do “need” to do something different. I’m truly tired of feeling like I’m the Evil Stepmother, just because I want boundaries and fairness. I imagine some amount of “letting go”, to be cliche, is in order. But that’s the problem, I keep trying to maintain this balance and fairness that I’m so aware of.
At this juncture of my life, I feel a pang of regret for my own stepmother. In our eyes she was Evil. I think I understand quite a bit better the challenges she faced when we lived with her and my Dad. It must have been a pretty thankless job–all of the responsibility of a mother, but none of the love or even courtesy afforded to a Mom. And Dad didn’t help. He didn’t offer her a place of honor next to him, making her his partner and the two of them being the leadership of the the family, unified. But rather he acted as a mediator and treated both factions like warring parties negotiating a cease-fire. I think right now we’re in the later category. It can’t be easy to be even the mediator, but I don’t think I want to spend the foreseeable future at war with a child, or teenager. I don’t have an answer for this, maybe I never will. Maybe the answer is to just not do it. I don’t know. But today, I’m not happy.