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A successful week of disengaging

holly5692's picture

We've all got more than our fair share of things to gripe about, so I thought I'd share a small triumph. 

Skids (13 & 15) came for the weekend. When they arrived, I was polite, but didn't say much. I'm never 100% sure which version of these kids I'm going to get, so I just kept watching my TV show and waited to see how the evening would unfold. We did end up having a nice time that night--I was working on some art stuff while sd13 scribbled in her sketchbook. She was being a decent human and I could see she was a little frustrated by the limitations of her drawing supplies, so I kindly shared mine with her. She even said thank you. I felt like that was a good trade off--act like the nice kid I know you can be, and I'll also be nice. That was the most interaction I had all weekend though. 

The rest of the weekend I worked. I had a friend over I hadn't seen in some time--we sat outside and visited by ourselves. I kept myself busy. I was never rude or cold or distant--I was friendly, just in a more detached way I guess. If any drama happened with chores or showering or whatever, I have no idea because I had zero involvement in any of it. I never even cooked one meal. My kids were mostly MIA all weekend, so I saw no reason for me to "mom" anything. I kindly reminded my husband earlier in the week that we'd need more groceries before his kids came, and he took care of it, no problem. I just left him to everything and he handled it. 

This is big for me because I think I'm kind of a control freak. Or rather, I self impose a feeling of needing to be on top of everything because I'm the mom of the house. But it was nice to let go. My husband can handle himself--he is also a capable parent. I knew this....but I didn't really know it. If that makes sense.

I think I can do this. I quite like the idea of picking and choosing when and how I interact. And also....I may or may not have recently lined up the weekends I work to fall on the weekends they come

Hope you all have a great week.


tog redux's picture

Good for you. We women have a habit of overfunctioning, so the men underfunction as a result. Now you know if you leave stuff for him to do, he can handle it. 

holly5692's picture

Ain't that the truth. Well, it was quite obvious with my ex. I did all, and he was perfectly comfortable with that. My husband is quite vocal about the fact that I do not need to do all of the things though, and I think I just needed to give it a chance in order to see that no....I really don't. And the world won't burn down in the process. 

ESMOD's picture

I think the overfunctioning also sometimes ends up being percieved by the skids as trying to "be their mother"... and you aren't my real mom.. feelings.  They feel they are having someone forced on them.. that they didn't choose.  It can cause resentment.

But, what OP is showing in her disengagement is great.. she is letting the kids "come to her" to an extent.. being pleasant.. while not overly involved is fine.. the kids have another parent.. and if the stepmom can step back a bit.. that "real" parent can step into things more.  

Of course, this is harder when a step parent has more expectations and are dealing with a disney parent.. but if you have a partner who supports how you want to see your home function.. it can work out.

holly5692's picture

I think you're right. I was SO overbearing when this whole journey started out. And I have, in fact, been told, "You're not my real mom!" I'd like to go back in time and smack myself upside the head, but it takes time to learn these things, I suppose.

blended4213's picture

That is great to hear! You sound like you are in a good place. I'm still working on this but do intentionally plan other activities for stepkid weekends. My DH seems to want me to be more involved with his kids and I just don't want to be. I like how you were actually able to enjoy your weekend and even the time with your stepchild.

holly5692's picture

I feel like, for the current time being anyways, I can only do involvement in small doses. More than that, and then I can no longer look past the troubling behaviors and attitudes. But I can be pleasant for a little while and then move on to my own thing. And that way, no one can say I blatantly ignored them or was rude or some such nonsense. So maybe that's something you can try? 

missginger's picture

Im trying to be more like you were this past wekeend. I have good weekends and others where I just seem to back slide.Its also a juggling act of being distnat without looking rude. Im a chatty Cathy so to disengege is hard for me. Its like i have to sit there and bit my tongue beucase so much of her life is basically none of my business

holly5692's picture

Ya know, the next weekend will probably be shitty just because I made a point to talk about how well this one went haha. It's not perfect, but I was really happy with how this last one went. And I learned from it. As long as we're always trying to learn from our experiences, I think that's what matters.

Rags's picture

Working with the partner to establish the standards of behavior and performance for your home is the key foundational element of success in a blended family IMHO.

Once that is established, then it is a matter of holding the adults accountable for enforcing the standards and the kids accountable for complying with the standards.

It significantly reduces the variables and arguements at the adult level and between adults and kids.

You gave  your DH a call to action to deal with his kids while  you did you and enjoyed your friends and work.  

Sounds like it may be the foundation to long term relationship success.  Have you and he agreed to the basic standards or are you both winging it?