Tuesday, January 6, 2009

When BioKids Are Affected

"Hansel and Gretel are..."
My half-brother and sister.

We sat for a moment in stunned silence at the dinner table.
Prince Charming and myself. Hansel, Gretel, my Dad and Stepmom.
Cinderella's words hung overhead like a dark cloud.
It's been nearly three years since we've heard that phrase in our home.
And now it was back rearing it's ugly head.
And this time we had Maleficent to thank for it.
I shouldn't have been surprised what with the recent state of affairs and the downward spiral that's been taking place over the past several months.
I should have let it go. But the words hurt because our Little Ones were now being introduced to that term. I don't know if they understood what Cinderella said, but I am certain they heard it.
I don't want any of you to think differently, or LESS, of one another. And that label can be hurtful.
I know all about how labels can affect a relationship. I think most Stepmoms do.
It's bad enough when Maleficent's poison affects Cinderella , Prince Charming and me. It's worse when that also reaches to Hansel and Gretel.
I couldn't let it go.
I have spent the last ten years trying to advocate for this woman, empathize with her and she has slapped me in the face for the last time.
I had enough of turning the other cheek and of letting things go or let others handle her. Now she was talking about my biokids and trying to belittle Cinderella's relationship with them (and vice versa).
I fired off an email.
I might have called her out on her bipolar disorder.
I might even have referred to her being threatened of our family as pathetic.
I most definitely asked her to mind her business when it comes to Cinderella's relationship with her brother and sister and to let us handle that OUR WAY.

I also made the mistake of checking email during a holiday visit with my Dad and the even bigger mistake of reading her response to me.

To be continued...


Blueydmuse said...

What a witch. Can't wait to read what you had to say to her.

Anonymous said...

This is a topic that really gets my going. What gets me is that Cruella makes every effort to diminish my children's realationship with my stepchildren. But her daughter from her current marriage is very much their sister...In her eyes their 1/2 sibling at her house IS their sibling, but their 1/2 siblings at our house are simply a member of another family....GRRR!!! really toasts my cookie!

Mrs. H said...

I SO know how you feel. BM has repeatedly referred to my sons as stepsons "stepbrothers" despite the fact that they are actually "half brothers."

The problem is not so much the factual accuracy but the effect with which those words are intended. They are intended to isolate, differentiate and divide families.

My sons know that their brothers have a different mother. I don't think it matters to them very much right now. They certainly don't love them any less than they love each other.

Good for you for standing up for your family. It is definitely the one place where I think taking the "higher road" isn't always the best. Don't mess with Mama Bear.... :)

Super Step-Mom said...

My step-son has 1 step brother and 3 half siblings at BioMom's house. He is an only child with us. But I have never ever referred to them as such. I want a positive relationship with my step-son and when I ask about his siblings - I refer to them as brothers and sisters. Sounds like this woman needs a good kick in the rear. Karma!

Anonymous said...

I hate the whole "half sibling" thing. Can't the kids just be kids and brothers and/or sisters? Why do they even need to know about "half" and what that means? My step-daughter calls my daughter her sister...except when she is corrected by a certain someone. And it does hurt. Thankfully, my daughter doesn't know what that means...yet. Can't wait to read what you said to her in your email!

loonyhiker said...

My two daughters are not my biological children but we have never used the word "step" with them either. When my youngest was in first grade, a teacher's aide tried to explain to her that I was just her stepmom and not her real mom. Well! My baby just hauled off and kicked the woman in the shins while screaming - she is too my real mom! Of course, my baby was sent to the office and we had a little word of prayer with the teacher's aide! Even now, many people think my girls look more like me than my husband! I am really glad you set the bio mom straight! I'm dying to see her stupid (I'm sure it is stupid!) response.

dragonflymama said...

Oh Boy- I feel this one. I'd love to hear what you said to her. Sometimes it's all I can do to restrain myself about this topic. The labels are terrible, and terribly unnecessary.

sistermaryflanders said...

Oh, that's not fair. TBC?? What happened?
It is never OK to undermine a child's relationship with their "other" family. That only does damage to the child's sense of place and security and identity. And it's one thing to talk trash about one of the parents across enemy lines... but to damage Cinderella's relationship with two siblings who had nothing to do with her parents' situation is wrong on a whole different level.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a while but have not yet posted. Thanks for putting it all out there.

My daughter was adopted by my husband when we were married. She has called him "Daddy" since she was about two and she heard his boys call him that. She has been raised by him since she was about 6 months old. My relationship with her bio-father was deteriorated before I even knew I was pregnant with her.

My husband's ex-wife picked up and moved with his boys to another state against his wishes, but with the consent of a judge. I don't know what she tells them about my daughter, but the oldest has very hard feelings towards her. He will say to her "we have dad's blood in us" and this past visit announced "you are not my family and I don't want anything to do with you." It was a moment of intense pain. I understand that he is suffering, too. But, ouch. He's not all bad and he tries real hard sometimes to like her, but he has so much pent up sadness and rage. He doesn't get that it's not our choice not to be with him. And I won't bad mouth his mother, so.... I guess it is our burden to carry.

We tell our kids time and time again that blood does not a family make, but love. That I love their dad and that he loves me and we love all of our children. That is what makes them family. Not a name. I told him "one day she will be the Aunt of your children and you will be the Uncle of her children."

I call my stepsons my boys. I know that they are not mine and I don't try to pass them of as mine. But there is something in calling them my step kids that make people mistakenly believe that I love them any less or that I am not fully responsible for their well being and happiness. They are my children because I chose to marry their father and at that point I vowed to accept them as my children.

My situation is so different than yours. You have custody bio-mom has visitation. We have visitation for a couple of weeks at a time. We want nothing more than more time with them, but their mom likes having them to herself. If we were to move to where they are, she would relocate. All of our family is here and I don't feel like chasing her cross country.. She has no idea the pain she has caused her children, because for her, it's all about her.

I feel your pain.

Anonymous Step Mom

Mrs. H said...

"But there is something in calling them my step kids that make people mistakenly believe that I love them any less or that I am not fully responsible for their well being and happiness."

Perfectly said!

Anonymous said...


I disagree the use of "half" and "step" are ugly words as stand-alone words used to identify exact familial relationships.

I believe as Cinderella's mother she had every right to discuss the "half" or "step" angle in families, to include her brother and sister, with her own daughter. I think you did step out of bounds trying to dictate to her how to handle raising her child during her time because she was discussing her child's siblings.

I've had that conversation with my daughter as well. She loves her stepbrother...loves him. I've used the the word "stepbrother" in discussions about him and "brother". I had every right to discuss him because my child wanted to discuss him. She has asked about familial relationships and how they work.

The same holds true with my son, and soon-to-be, daughter. They are, in fact, her "half" siblings and making that an ugly word or reality by never speaking of those qualifiers doesn't help a child embrace diversity in a family either.

I think your reaction is just as bad as how she intended to use the words "step" and "half". The reaction is based on your attitude toward those prefixes, as much as it is what you perceive she meant by using them. You might be right and she had malicious motive but you are exacerbating THOSE prefixes by your reaction.

I do think you overstepped your boundaries e-mailing her about how she is to handle the familial prefix-qualifer subject with her own child. Cinderella is her child and right to raise the way she sees fit just like you and your biological children.

You want your parenting style on this subject respected yet you showed not an ounce of respect for her parenting style by writing a scathing, insulting e-mail?

While you have the right to be a Mama Bear and feel the way you do, so does Cinderella's mother directly with her own child.

I find it interesting someone mentioned "Mama Bear" but yet only a stepmother can cross lines when in Mama Bear mode...a divorced mother isn't allowed those same feelings without harsh criticism her way.

I usually agree with much that you do Wicked but this one I'm going to have to disagree.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Peripheral -

I always appreciate your thoughtful comments and feedback. I know that I make mistakes like everyone else. I can only do what I feel is right at the time, own up to my choices, and accept the consequences.

I love when my posts encourage such active discussions - sometimes it helps me to see things differently, and I hope it also helps other readers.

Thanks so much for being here. :)

Anonymous said...

Please know I have MUCH respect for you.

This is a very touchy subject and understand why you feel the way you do.