Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Freak Show

Being a second wife / step mother means being on display. Think about that for a second. Cookie had a post a long time back from the first wife perspective as she reflected on her widower friends. Divorce is a little like that. Imagine sitting in the stirrups,

Not those stirrups...

These stirrups.

Being part of a divorce equation is something like that. Someone else, someone for whom you don't have much natural affection for and who feels little to no affection for you, gets to look at your most private parts. And the lighting is usually less than flattering.

Now that I've seared that visual into your eyeballs, let me make you a promise. I will speak truth. But I will also display Hubster's ex as little as possible. I will do what I can to adjust the lighting to her advantage. This is my freak show. Being that my blog is my journal, chances are good that our mutual children will one day have access to it. So if you guys are reading this, make sure you understand that this is about ME. There are at least two sides to every story. This is how my role as a second wife and step mother have affected ME. There's plenty to gossip about, but I won't. Suffice to say, if you are part of a divorce equation, you might feel really smug when you hear stories about the other person's faults and shortcomings, but you can guarantee that if you are being told about those faults and shortcomings, you are also being told ON.

The smartest thing you can do is support your ex spouse in front of your children. Not only should you not reward your children for telling on the other parent, you should refuse to hear them gossip. Obviously, there are situations where danger should be reported to the other parent, but be honest with yourself, is it just that you disagree with it, or will it really cause the child lasting harm?

As a custodial step parent, I'd have to say the absolute most frustrating problem we have is the kids running to mom when they are mad at us or don't like the advice we've given or want to escape a responsibility we feel they need. Playing hero on a white horse can be doing your kids a real dis-service. You may win yourself some popularity points, but if you were really a good parent, you'd do what you could to support the other parent instead of positioning yourself as their "friend".

This is a major bit of advice I give to anyone considering a divorce, and it's a bit of a newsflash: Custody may not go the way you plan. You may have to get used to the idea that your spouse, not you, is going to be the primary guardian and you will have to be OK with what they decide. Even if you get custody at the beginning, the kids may choose to change that. And if you think primary custody is the equivalent of winning, think again. The primary custodian gets all the work of parenting, the non-custodial gets to be the FUN parent. It can be all too easy to be the fun parent when you don't have to make them into responsible adults. If you are thinking about getting divorced and you have kids, think about it some more...like until the kids are grown. If you can't even work out a compromise to get you through till then....you'll never survive being divorced.


Kacey said...

Hi! I couldn't believe that you actually remembered that post. I clicked on it and.... Son of a Gun...you did mean me! I don't know what you go through as a second wife, let alone a step-mother. I do think you are doing a great job of it. I like the posts you have written recently that try to dissect the emotions and mental workings of life complications. I wrote a sequel to my post on second marriages --- turned out okay in my family's case.

See you again soon---

Asia said...

I like the way you see it. Usually devorced people or steip wives that have to deal with the first mother are too emotionally charged to be so healthy emotionally. Good for you! One of my best friend's is leaving her husband right now. She doesn't want advice. So I just watch and of course pray for her(even though she said I shouldn't). I am so sad about her 4 young children.