Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stepmoms Hatin' On Stepmoms

I've seen it for years.

First, I saw it on the online stepmom forums.
Then, I saw it in group after group on Facebook.

Women, even stepmoms, just don't know how to be nice to each other, do they?

The number 1 thing I see happen in chat groups of all sorts where Stepmoms are supposed to get together and be in a safe environment to share:

Stepmom1 shares.
Stepmom2 has a lot of assumptions and responds in a rude way, not realizing that she is talking about herself and not thinking of Stepmom1's situation.
Stepmom1 is offended.
Stepmom2 gets louder, still not really "listening" or realizing that other people have other experiences and situations.
Stepmom1 gives up, frustrated, offended, defensive- Leaves group.

Hell, I don't even like posting in most stepmom groups because of that exact scenario playing over and over.

There are more stepmoms, now, that realize this and try to keep the Stepmom2's out there calm, attempting to cancel out their thoughtless responses.

Scenario 2: Belittling the other stepmom.

Stepmom1: Shares.
Stepmom2: Something like: "You shouldn't be so angry/involved/concerned. You should be happy/defect from your family/not even care about this."
Stepmom1: Tries to explain.
Stepmom2: "You should just do yoga."

That, my Stepmom friends, sucks. I write this blog partially in response to the second scenario.

When you respond to someone else's crisis with "you shouldn't feel that way" in any way shape or form, you are damaging them. You are telling them that their feelings are unimportant, they shouldn't have shared their feelings in the first place as they are not even relevant, and that person's "truth" is not really legitimate.

Not everybody is going to be happy all the time or at peace with their Stepparent situation, no matter how much you tell them they should be. We feel what we feel when we feel it, and those feelings come and go. Sometimes we are angry. Sometimes we are hurt. Sometimes we feel alone. Sometimes we feel lost. Feelings are legitimate, and telling someone they shouldn't feel that way is stupid.

So we lose lots of normal Stepmoms to shame. They leave groups after feeling completely misunderstood. Actually, I understand. I just happened to not get to your post first... I sadly troll the messages on those group pages when I have time and respond to such Stepmom2's accordingly or trying to reaffirm the Stepmom1's.

Stepmom-ing comes in phases. Things come and go. The kids and our families grow and change each month, year, trimester, season, whatever.

I've noticed that Stepmom2's also seem to have much better situations that the lower third of us that live in extremely contentious ex-wife situations. Stepmom2's are all like, "What? My life is better than yours, so just suck it up." !?$^@#%@&**

Man, get out of the group if all is well for you... If you can't commiserate, empathize, or recognize that some of us are living in a continual nightmare situation, then join a book club instead- I BEG OF YOU.

Suffering with Your Husband

I realized there are two ways to see things:

Take 1: I lost out on opportunities because I married a man with kids, who needed to live near his kids. I needed to help make money to keep our lives at a level I wanted, and we cannot move to follow careers. I rushed to get a job rather than waiting out the right one. My career has gone in a direction I didn't expect, my goals of success are not where I thought they would be (recession anyone?) and my husband is partly to blame.

I also have had to endure a lot of crap I never needed to deal with and barely, if at all, handled. Marrying a man with kids was insanely challenging, his ex wife turned out to be a nightmare, and the world is just crazy when you're a stepmom.

I had a choice, I chose this, sort of, and I can blame him and his prior choices for how hard things have been.

Take 2: When you marry someone, you suffer with them when they go through hell.

My husband went through hell in his prior marriage, which he learned pretty early on was a mistake but there were children involved. Then, he had off and on hell afterwards, as his ex wanted to control him, his kids, and his new wife. She continued to make his life miserable, and he stated that half of his life was still hell and the other half of his life was what he always wanted, filled with love and opportunity.

I suffered with him, as his spouse and best friend, when he lost custody without any logic or reason. I suffered with him as he dealt with a crazy person whom he once loved. I stood by him, when he was attacked. I am here, with him, and went through his worst years.

One day, I could have cancer. One day, he could have cancer. We suffer through each others' horrible bosses and jobs that hold us back. We struggle with the mix of our career, personal goals, and the obligation to family- which we would have if we had had our own kids, as well. We are in it together.

I asked my mom one time why she didn't at least try to talk me out of marrying my husband. She said, "Everybody has baggage; you just know what his is already." That has turned out to be very, very true. I had boyfriends whose issues came out after a year or two, and those issues were internal, mental, and scary. This man I married, on the other hand, doesn't have scary stuff going on in his head. I have not been surprised by hidden range, alcoholism, addiction, mental illness. (He probably, on the other hand, has been surprised by mine. =) )

He puts up with me and still loves me. He will see me through illnesses. I saw him through post-divorce, raising girls, and now raising teenagers. What if you had a crazy ex that never left you alone? You'd want your husband to stand by you and not give up on you, right? Honestly, the comparison is quite similar. Family issues, huge life decisions, what have you. Suffering comes in many forms.

He'll be here for me. I felt his pain with him.

I also can see the choices I made were the choices I made. I absolutely can't blame my husband for my career choices, and he had complete faith in my abilities to do whatever I wanted and reach my goals despite a recession, stepkids, moving, and health problems. We make our choices, I chose my husband, and I have suffered with him. Which is what we are expected to do in marriage.

Sharing-Some-Good-Stuff Time

I like this post from Stepmom Support:

I am also thrilled to see all of the amazing videos from DivorceCorps, a group putting together easy-to-follow videos about what's wrong with the Family Law/Legal/Justice system.

Follow their YouTube channel:

This is the trailer for their full-length movie:

I particularly like the clip on the Child Support Trap:

Furthermore, the DivorceCorps webpage lets you sign up for Reform Committees! Way to lead actual action!
Check it out here: