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An Exerpt from my Blog at Christmas Time

queen_bethy's picture

My Step-Mom Hat

My step-mom hat is the hardest hat I've ever worn. It has been heart-breaking, trying, rewarding, frustrating, infuriating and life changing. I met my Husband when he was 2 years post-divorce. His son had just turned 3 and I fell in love with him. We were in college at the time and he would trek all the way to the other state his son lived in to bring him for a weekend visit. I'm talking a 7 hour drive one way. I was so in love with my Husband, I never thought about what it would be like to be a step-mom. I married him without knowing what his ex-wife was like, nor meeting her.

After we were married, I discovered what a truly awful woman she was and I have struggled under her hatred and anger for 12 years now. I have loved her son so unconditionally and she's never been able to realize how lucky she is I'm not some child abuser. She's just seen me as the threat. It's been almost impossible to get along with her and I've found it to be a sad failure for me.

My step-son moved in with us in 2003 after enduring 2 of her marriages and lots of abuse by those men. He lived with us for 2 years until this last August when he chose to move back in with her. It came as a shock and the pain is still something we live with each day. We had to deal with a terribly damaged child with behavior problems. We had to teach him how to do things that most kids have mastered by his age, like simple responsibilites around the house. We did our very best to give him the love and structure a child so desperately needs so he could turn out to be an excellent person. We definitely saw some amazing improvements in him. For one, we were able to get him off all the medications he was taking. But we also saw a very troubled child so desperately needed his real mother to be something better. Not what she is.

We got a call from him this last summer that he was moving out of our house and into hers. He accused us of all sorts of untruths and he basically broke his father's heart. But, since he's nearly an adult now, we didn't want to force him to be where he didn't want to be. So he moved out. My Husband was able to grieve and get past it, since he's from a divorced family too. But I have taken longer to grieve. I have had such a hard time not feeling like a failure and the sadness of a life that might not be what it could be.

This Christmas was his first visit back after moving out and it's been really nice. We haven't really asked him about his life over there and quite frankly, I don't think it would matter what we thought if we did know. And my emotions have run the full gamette (did I spell that right?). I have been in tears, I have been mad and I have finally resigned myself to knowing that I cannot do anything for him. I have to leave it all for God to sort out.

So, in the middle of my selfish feelings, I have decided to make some goodies for him to take back to his mom. It doesn't make me feel any better. But I just hope that one day, my step-son will see that in spite of everything he might think, or whatever his mom has told him, I still showed kindness and I still love him tremendously. Because after all, he is my child, even if I didn't give birth to him.

I love you Witty 15 year old. I will miss you.


Dawn-Moderator's picture

You have basically just described my fear for the future. My stepson is 10 right now and I have been with his dad since he was 2.5. I have been his stepmom since he was 5. We got primary custody of him in 2002. I fear that when he reaches his mid teens, that he will want to go live with his mom. She will let him do whatever he wants (no curfew, girls spending the night, no focus on schoolwork). There are not very many rules at her house. I fear that if he does go live with his mom, that his life will spiral downward. We have such big plans for his future(education, etc.) He has such great potential but is not very self motivated yet and makes bad decisions. We try to point him in the right direction. His mother doesn't have a clue when it comes to parenting! She does try, in her own way, I will say but it is just not enough!


queen_bethy's picture

It's been a really rough road with this child and I, too, fear for his future. I'm still not completely sure why he moved out. His reasons were so scattered and ridiculous. I just have to pray for him. I don't know what else to do. I do know that he has realized the error in his decision from talks he has with his Dad, but he doesn't want to move back. I don't think my husband will let him move back either. He has established a "No Revolving Door" policy with him. When he moved in with us, it was made clear and also when he moved out. My advice for you, unsolicited of course! :), is to not worry about trouble before it happens. Enjoy him and invest in him as you would your own child. That's all you can do!

Terryific478's picture

Hi Dawn,
I had a similiar situation with my biological daughter, whom is now 21 years old. She went to live with her father at the age of 14, when I remarried. I was devistated, it tore my heart in two. I raised that child and we were like glue. I still miss her a lot. It took a long time for me to recover, gradually it got better, she was very angry with me for a long time. I was very angry with my ex, he fed into it all, I knew his motives and I kind of see it from a lot of perspectives. I let it happen, a counselor told me if I did not, it would ruin our "future" relationship...I'm not so sure I believe that. Sometimes, the courts give these kids too much power at a very young age. She is doing ok, she is going to college etc..Now, the flip side to this. My current husbands children. She was awarded custody five years ago, she took them to Arizona, they have not been the same since...Now that they are back, it has been hell from the day they got here. In hindsight, I don't think it did them any a person never knows. Then again, you need two parents on the same page, so they can't manipulate anybody during those important teen years...I really think that is the name of the game.

Dawn-Moderator's picture

That is very true about the parents being on the same page. Unfortunately, my husband and my stepson's mother have never really been on the same page. There is the rare occasion when they agree on something. However she basically does whatever it is she can get away with and us not find out. I think if everybody would just use their common sense(if they have any) then everybody would be better off.
Also, sometimes the kids use the situation to their advantage and play on the sympathy of each parent. That happens a lot over here. Sometimes even my husband doesn't see it because he doesn't want to believe that his son would do that. Being the semi-outsider, I see it a lot clearer.