Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First Steps Towards Stepping BACK

Last week's dread was yet another waste of my energy.
Visitation pick up time came and went. Maleficent did not come to the house. Did not call.
There was no confrontation.
Prince Charming had taken care of letting her know Cinderella would be at drama rehearsals so was to be picked up at school instead of home.
Of course I had to scold him a bit.
"It would have been nice if you told me that so I didn't spend half of the day worrying."
Of course I also realize that's not his problem.
It's mine.
And I did say that I needed to step back and NOT be involved so he was only abiding by my wishes.
He reassured me by saying Maleficent responded to say she already had the schedule and so she knew where and when to pick up Cinderella during her visitation days.
(Kudos to her for getting the info herself even if it did mean harassing Cindy's drama teacher in email. At least it wasn't ME.)
I spent the rest of the week trying NOT to think about custody, visitation or pending court dates (no, a date has NOT been set and no one has been notified).
I was able to enjoy time with the kids and my family ... for the MOST part.
Old habits die hard. I have spent the last ten years playing this game of chess where I try to anticipate Maleficent's next move and do everything I can to launch preemptive strikes.
It's difficult to change my mind set. But I am trying.
And am having small successes.

For example...
Cinderella's rehearsal schedule has been updated. She came home with a new schedule last Thursday but FORGOT to grab an extra copy for Maleficent.
AND... I did NOT rush to transcribe anything and email it to her, as I have been doing for the last year.
HOORAH! for me!!!!!
When Cinderella came home from her visitation she told me how Maleficent was "up her butt" all weekend about getting HER a new copy of the schedule and not to forget to call her Tuesday (yesterday) to let her know what her schedule was for Wednesday (today).
The poor kid was stressed and a little perturbed at her Mom for hounding her.
AND... I did NOT rush to transcribe anything or try to FIX anything!!!!
I let Cindy talk. I listened, empathized and then we MOVED ON to another subject.
Of course she forgot to grab her Mom a new schedule after yesterday's rehearsal and was stressing about it last night.
Mommy's going to be so mad.
I gave her the same advice I (and my thoughtful readers) have given myself:
"It's not your job to keep your Mother informed of that stuff. She is a grown-up and can take care of herself. She knows that she can call and get that information if she wants."
Yeah but she will never call you. Once she makes up her mind about someone she will NEVER change it no matter what you do or how nice you are.
"Then that's her choice. We can't worry about that. Mom will figure out where you are one way or another. Don't worry about it."

I do not know if Maleficent will come to our home today to pick up Cinderella.
And right now I do not care.
I am not worried.
I will not hide. I will not avoid the phone. I am a grown up and can handle a simple conversation which requires nothing more than a statement of facts:
"Hi. Cinderella is at rehearsals until 5:30. You can pick her up at the school. Thanks. Bye."

I will also BE AT rehearsals tonight (ONLY because my help is needed). So if Maleficent does NOT show up, Cinderella will not be stranded and she will have ME to bring her home.

Maybe between the two of us, we can create enough a support system to keep Maleficent's poison from seeping into our home.


The Ravenstahls said...

I admire your strength and perspective :)
It is great to see a family who, even lacking the support of the bio-mom, still provides a balanced and safe environment for their children. I am currently blessed by not having that acrimony in our blend and still find it hard to maintain that balance from time to time!!

Justagirl said...

Isn't it like a Chess game? It can be so exhausting, but I think you are doing the right thing by stepping away and not being on top of everything. Let BM step up to the plate and be Cindy's parent. It's about time she "Mans up" anyways.

I'm the Wicked Step Mom said...

I am right there with you! It's always like the BM has some angle that she's coming at you with. You can rack your brains out worrying what BM is up to next or you can just sit back watch her miss out on those precious years if she's not willing to go the extra mile.

Josh and Libby said...

Bravo! It really can take pressure off you to let M's problems be her problems. You handled the situation with the schedule in the best way possible and didn't leave Cindy in a position where she would be stuck. I wish you the best. Keep up the good work.

movin' down the road said...

You are very wise and keeping it in check while protecting the kids. That's good. VERY good! I would totally suck at what you are doing. I would not be good at it.

Anonymous said...

As a SM to-be, I can relate to the difficulty in maintaining balace.. I feel like Alice in Wonderland at times - common sense seems to mean nothing and common courtsey is seen as a threat by the BM.. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in this strange new land. Thank you for your post!

blue_yonder said...

First, thank you for your blog - there is so little encouragement out there for SMs. I've been an SM-to-be for 2 and a half years. After spending all this time thus far trying to do everything right and not rock the boat, I am tired. I have been struggling to make the decision to step back and am so torn between my own sanity/well-being and what may be best for Junior. It's so encouraging to hear about your own progress, maybe I'll find a way to do the same.