If you had asked me this when I moved in with my boyfriend (now ex) who had children, I would’ve laughed. It would’ve seemed like a joke – a play on the many fairy tales we all heard as children. Of course, I never expected for it to be a smooth ride. My parents divorced when I was young, so I had no illusions. Yet, I still didn’t have a clue. Most step moms don’t (step dads too).
I could probably write a book titled My Road to Becoming a Wicked StepMother. It would be easier than trying to explain in 1 blog entry how it happened. Yes, that’s right. I was a Wicked StepMother (tongue-in-cheek). I hear the shock and awe coming from those who know me (my friends, family, past clients, colleagues, etc). They can’t possibly believe that I’m really wicked, or that anybody would really believe that. The students I tutored would be surprised as well. I get a long with everybody… well, almost everybody.
Interestingly, I just came by this realization yesterday. As many problems as I had as an acting stepmom (we were never married), I didn’t think of myself in that way. I didn’t even think they thought of me that way… until my ex’s daughter posted comments about me on my FB Fan page a few days ago. They were lies, but that’s not the point. In her mind, I was the worst thing for her dad. So much so that she made it her mission to try and break us up. That’s why she started the lies in the first place. That was many years ago, so I was surprised that she’s still holding on to her anger toward me.
Did she always feel that way? No. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when she declared that I would be the only one allowed to teach her to drive a car. That was after both of her parents had given up. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when I helped her with all the admission paperwork to get into college. I even drove her around to pick up and drop off her transcripts and get her ID picture taken. I’m sure she didn’t feel that way when I helped her and her sister with their financial aid paperwork, or when I gave her sister $250 for prom when nobody else had any to give her. These are only the highlights. There were other things.
So what happened? What changed? It’s hard to point out one thing because everything that happened played into everything else. Every one thing affected at least 2 other things. For one, her dad and I argued a lot. We were brought up differently and had different perspectives on many things, but especially parenting. Additionally, he parented like a Holiday parent. We also argued about money and how to handle just about any problem that came up. I mention a few of them in other entries. We broke up and got back together multiple times. We were never able to resolve the conflict, so the tension mounted and mounted. By the end, it was constant. Somewhere in that mess was a changing point in his daughter.
I don’t claim to be perfect. I never have. I definitely made mistakes. I made mistakes mostly out of good intentions. I made the wrong decision on at least 1 occasion. On all occasions, I needed objective and knowledgeable guidance from somebody who understood stepfamily dynamics and could see the bigger picture, and then give clear direction. I didn’t have that. My boyfriend needed the same thing. You do, too, if you’re in a high-conflict step family.Otherwise, you may find yourself to be perceived as a wicked stepmother someday.
It’s important to note that your husband plays a big role in how his children perceive you. I talk a lot about this. In my case, my boyfriend didn’t perceive my parenting skills to be very good. By continually undermining me in front of them, not keeping rules after making them, and staying silent when they expressed their discontent, he gave the impression that he was displeased with me. That gave them more reason to continue misbehaving, and then using me as a scapegoat.
As sad as it is that she feels that way about me, I can’t bring myself to hold it against her. Don’t get me wrong; it bothers me. It hurts my feelings, but I’m not angry at her. Here’s the deal. I hated my dad’s girlfriend. For a very long time, I hated her. In my mind, everything that happened was her fault, even though I know my dad was no angel. Only after my experience as an acting step mom did I re-evaluate my feelings toward her. Stay tuned for my next article on why step children often hate step parents.
Adults do not discuss adult business with their children. Sure, some do. But mostly they don’t, especially the really private stuff. My ex’s daughter doesn’t know everything that transpired between her dad and I. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to objectively acknowledge her dad’s mistakes, just as I didn’t know my dad’s mistakes.
If you’re interested in more topics like this, click the links below to read a blog entry from my other blog (not imported to here) and an article I wrote on Examiner. Clicking on them will open a new window.
Maybe you can relate to part of this story.
How did you feel about people your parents dated after they divorced?
Were you able to be objective?
Have you ever disliked somebody intensely, and then a long time later realize there was no rational basis for your feelings?
Is there a lot of conflict between you and your partner? Do you disagree on parenting issues?
Do you think you could become a wicked stepmother?
Do you know of somebody who has a wicked stepmother? Did you have an evil stepmother?