the blended family for beginners

The ex-wife Files – Part I

The ex-wife Files – Part I

If you’re thinking that any part of this blog is going to be me spewing vitriol about the ex-wife, then I’m very sorry but you’ve got the wrong girl.  And this is not because I just don’t want to say anything bad about her in case she reads this (which she probably will), or because I want my readers to think that I’m a super well adjusted, all round lovely person all the time who would never say a bad word about anyone (which I’m clearly not).  No, this is because I truly did get extremely lucky when it came to the woman that my husband used to be married to.

I know its weird, but it’s almost like we’re friends.  It’s taken us about six months to get there and there’s a few very specific reasons why, which I’ll get to in a bit. But first, a disclaimer. I know that for so many of you stepmums out there the previous relationships of your current partner have broken down irretrievably and even being civil is just not going to happen when you throw custody battles and court dates into the mix.  That’s sometimes just how it is and at the end of the day everyone is just doing their best in whatever circumstances they’re in.  I absolutely get that not everyone’s experience is like mine and every day I’m grateful.

So as mentioned, it wasn’t like the first time we met we were instant besties, throwing back cosmopolitans and braiding each others hair – we’re not complete weirdos.  But very early on I saw in her a fundamental quality that meant I couldn’t help but respect her, and from that respect everything else that built our relationship was almost a natural and easy add-on.

This woman would do absolutely anything to make sure her kids were protected and safe and not completely falling apart with all the changes that had been thrust upon them.  And I don’t mean that in the way that all good mothers are about their kids, because that’s obviously a given.  I mean it in the way that she continually put her own personal feelings aside to make sure that these precious little ones of hers that were still vulnerable and heartbroken from the divorce, found a way to  be comfortable with this strange new lady that was suddenly married to their dad.  Because of course kids copy everything they see, right?

So did she want to sit down and have a ‘family’ dinner with her ex-husband and his new wife when she came to pick the kids up that first weekend? Ummm no, it was definitely awkward for her and not at all what she wanted to be doing with her Friday night.  But, she was gracious and generous and as time went by she showed me again and again that the kids were the most important thing in this whole scenario and whatever she had to do to put them first, she was all over it.  She didn’t just talk the talk, she absolutely walked the walk.

I do feel bad that most other stepmums aren’t as lucky as me and have to cope with difficult exes on top of the challenges of a blended family.  And even though I’ve only been a stepmum for about a minute, and I’m not even remotely qualified to be handing out advice,  I will just say this to you – if it’s possible try and take a leaf out of the ex-Mrs Bee’s book and make your relationship with your respective ex-wife about whatever is going to be best for the kids – it might not be what you want, or what makes you comfortable but at the end of the day if the kids feel safe and loved by everyone in their life then things have the potential to run a bit smoother.

And don’t be jealous of me and how I really did get extremely lucky with the woman that I now share co-parenting responsibilities with.  Because there’s more to tell….but that’s for another day.

 

 

 



2 thoughts on “The ex-wife Files – Part I”

  • I’m not a mother or a stepmother but I love hearing about other peoples experiences! I think it’s amazing that you and your husband’s ex-wife are able to have a good authentic relationship and co-parent. And I think it is refreshing to hear that things weren’t perfect since day one! Keep up what you are doing! I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have found themselves in a step parent role and feel that they are sometimes out of their depth or not quite sure how to navigate through issues, and it is really refreshing to hear someones real thoughts on it!

    • Thanks Cassie! Yes things definitely weren’t perfect and every day seems to offer me a new and interesting challenge. I’m surprised that I’m learning more about myself in this new role, and I am finding that my reactions to things are definitely not what I thought they would be – I have lots of things I need to work on! But, if cancer taught me anything, it’s to take one day at a time and start fresh each morning so I pretty much live by that! Thanks so much for your lovely words, I really appreciate it 🙂

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