Monday, December 16, 2013

True Confessions of a Step Mom: The "I Lost It" Edition

Holiday schedules are hard. The day of, the days surrounding, the month leading up to it.... the whole thing is just rough. Our parenting plan is pretty black and white. Two lawyers were paid good money to make sure of that. So one would think that we could plan our holidays by consulting a calendar and the parenting plan no problem. One would be wrong.

In late October we received an email from my step daughter's mom informing us that she would be using her 2013 vacation time the weekend after Christmas. Our weekend. One of two weekends we expected to have in December. Leaving us with 4 Tuesdays and one weekend to pack all of our celebrations into. Thinking there wasn't much he could do about my husband let it go. He attempted to have a phone conversation with his ex about it but the call kept dropping. And then as it does, time got away from us.

Until the Christmas season hit us full on and we received another email asking us for a vacation day in 2014. Now I feel like I know the parenting plan inside out. I have read it and reread it many, many times over. However that day I was working and my husband needed to respond to the email. My husband is many wonderful things. But he is not one to keep track of details. So he consulted the parenting plan. Only to find that it specifies that you cannot take vacation time during the week of a holiday. Key verbiage that would have came in handy in October.

Normally we would have taken it as a lesson learned and moved on. However its Christmas. And Christmas, bless it, has a way of making people crazy. Not to mention we were still upset over the fact that his ex felt entitled to both the weekend prior and after Christmas. So my husband called her and requested that they split the weekend. Which naturally led to the Christmas War of 2013... but this story isn't about what he did. Or even what the ex did. It's about what I did.

During the email and phone call battles that ensued my stepdaughter's mother sent an email in which she copied me on. An email that, in my opinion, was best kept between her and my husband. An email that, in my Christmas crazed/ sleep deprived/ tired...tired... oh so tired... mind invited me into the conversation. So I replied. The longest email I have ever written. An email that could have been broken into ten blog posts. (Which may explain my absence from the blogging world, no?)

In this email I detailed many, many grievances with our custody situation. I focused on the relationship that my husband and his daughter deserve and the ways I feel she undermines that. Do I feel like everything I said was true? Yes. Do I feel like I was mature and refrained from unnecessary accusations? Yes. Should I have sent the email? I'm really not sure. I know that I feel better having said the things I said. I know that in the moment I felt justified.

The problem is I know I wouldn't have normally sent that email. I try to keep things as amicable as they can be for my stepdaughter's sake. I also try and leave it to my husband to discuss the important things. After all, it's "their" daughter. But that day I was seeing red. And so I sent it.

Stepmoms- have you ever "lost" your cool? Have you ever broken one of your own rules of stepmommyhood? I'd love to know I'm not alone.


  1. I "lost" my cool a couple of weekends ago when 2 out of 3 little girls showed up at our house in -15 Celsius weather in rubber boots. There's a lot that I let H deal with, but that really did me in. -- You're definitely not alone.

    1. Oh goodness I would have been upset too! Glad to hear you have your moments too. Makes me feel human :)

  2. You are definitely not alone! I work very hard to keep quiet around biomom, which is especially difficult when I let myself worry that she perceives my silence as weakness. Luckily, I'm rarely around her without my stepson present; when he's around, I'm able to swallow my pride and my words, because I don't ever want to contribute to causing drama around him. She caught me one day without stepson around, though, and for the first time in 4.5 years, I engaged.

    I regretted it immediately and beat myself up over it for days. I'd become the yelling stepmom/second wife I'd sworn I'd never be, at least in that 3 minute event. Over time, though, I see it wasn't that big a deal. It felt like a big deal at the time, though, because I was breaking this self-constructed rule that I'd held so fast for so long.

    We're not perfect, and it's a waste trying to be. My husband's first wife cc's me on emails, too, and I wish she would stop. It's like they're baiting us. We aren't supposed to have a voice, until it's convenient for them.

    If you're worried that your email to her made things worse... It didn't. I mean, it might have for a day or two, but I feel safe in saying that your email was a drop in the bucket of all the anger that's been passed between her and your husband. Unless your situation is some sort of stepparenting Utopian fantasy land, she already disliked 25,000 different things about you and your presence, so it's not like one email was going to be the tipping point, no matter how long and ranty. :)

  3. We are currently back in court and I feel like I'm continually battling off one of those moments right now! You are NOT alone. I read somewhere that the "Evil Stepmom" title comes not from the kids, but the Ex. And I think it's true. My husbands ex CC's me on every angry email. And emails me to ask for something my husband already said no to. And anytime she doesn't agree with us, she them emails to tell me exactly what she thinks of me.

    I try very hard not to respond to that. I try to remind myself that if she wants to be angry she can spend her time that way, but I don't have to. But I'm human and have feelings too!

  4. None of you are alone. I thought when J and I started dating and eventually married we wouldn't have the "normal" difficulties of a blended family because all but 2 of them were grown, had children of their own, were in adult relationships and lived far away from us and close to their mother. Of the 2 boys that stayed behind, 1 went to be with mama so dad would have the pleasure of paying child support, but only for 1 year. The other lived with us for a year before he finally left to be with the rest of his family.

    I loved my step son that lived with us that year. I honestly treated him as though he were my own. The hard part of being me in my blended family was learning, watching, listening and knowing that J's kids had no respect for him at all; not as a man and especially not as their father. They treated him like he was a walking, talking, never ending wallet and once he said "no" to their request for money, they had no use for him. They actually became very violent with their profanity and threats. J assured me that this was normal and not just because I was married to him, but it was really hard to accept that there was this group of people that literally hated me and tried to ruin any inter-family relationship I began with lies about my dealings with them or me, whom they did not know at all and never made any effort to know me.

    J and I have been married now for more than 5 years and things have not eased up or changed in either direction for the good or the bad. After the first year of marriage, the kids sabotaged our relationships with J's brothers and sisters and that has remained the status quo.

    In looking back, I can see a few things that could have been done differently; J would take and make phone calls with his kids secretly and never included me in their conversations. It is my opinion that this, intentionally or unintentionally, gave the kids his permission to treat me however they wished.

    Well, time has passed and everything I thought would happen between J and his kids has come to pass. I am glad I put my marriage first. As I have sat in the back row as merely an observer these past few years, I have had the unique view to see how J's brothers, sisters and kids have turned on each other, made up, turned on each other again and then pretend to make up while they back stab with a select few. For what it's worth, I am glad they pushed me away so I didn't have to suffer at their words.

  5. I flipped too one day, as my step daughters mother thought that a cell phone was an appropriate gift for a 8 year old, without consulting her father, she used the excuse that it was so she could contact her mom anytime day or night as if to say we don't allow her to call mom on our weekends.... well honestly if she is the asking to do so then why would we encourage the call home..
    She has turned this child to feel that we are just visitors, and the only parent her daughter needs is her mom.
    So when I walked into the house one day scraping baby in my arms phone ringingredients off the hook groceries in my hand and my husband no where around to.offer a hand whenyou stepdaughter asked me a question I guess I answered in a grumpy tone she went to her bedroom turned on the water works and selfied her mom with tears sayin i was mean to her...... that was the end of the cellphone because after 5 years of no problems all of a sudden new baby who BTW was born with a disability shows up and she decides she's going to play me against mom

    I finally for the first time snapped.

    She is very selfish in the time my husband gets with his now 11 year old.... it's been 9 years now he still acts as if he has to entitle his daughter with gifts rewards fun fun fun and undermines me in front of her and as she getsaid closer to teenager I fear the end for my relationship.... anyone else have this problem..... I mean I know she isn't my child but when it.comes to healthy choicesand parenting we have children in.our home not just his and the rules need to be the same and I feel like it's daddy and stepdaughter against me...
    When she isn't here life is great.. I am not here to bensure her mother but when she is in my home should she not follow my rules the same as everyone else?