Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Lonely At The Top

The problem with taking the High Road when it comes to dealing with Maleficent, is that I am oftentimes alone.
Alone with my inner struggle of doing what's best for Cinderella versus wanting to slap the crap out of her "mother" for creating such turmoil in everyone's lives.
Alone while I watch my stepdaughter struggle to accept the reality of WHO and WHAT her mother is and HOW to deal with that (while not contributing to that opinion by speaking ill of Maleficent in front of Cinderella. EVER.).
Alone in not being able to protect Cinderella as situations like last Friday unfold, after sending Cinderella to her Mom's for the weekend, sans her bathing suit.

Maleficent and Diablo SPED back up our street BACKWARDS and sent Cinderella inside to claim her bathing suit.
Her facial expression spoke volumes. Cinderella did NOT want to come back inside. She did NOT want to go swimming because she had her period. Not because I said no.
But Maleficent had turned it into a battle or HER vs. ME. It was no longer about what Cinderella might have wanted. It was about Maleficent getting HER OWN WAY and Cinderella was going to get that bathing suit dammit!
Cinderella asked me for guidance on what to say to her Mom. She knew she HAD to go for the weekend, even though she no longer wanted to. I tried my best to help her with the right words, but nothing any of us could have said at that moment would make any difference.
I reminded Cinderella simply that she had her period and could not go swimming.
It didn't matter WHO was asking to take her - be it a girlfriend or Maleficent - she could not go THIS weekend. Period. (Pun intended.)
And then I told Cinderella that Maleficent could talk to Prince Charming about it if she felt it was that important. He was, afterall, the final say on this and if he felt it was OK, then she could come back and get her suit.
(I was hoping this would somehow take the pressure off and protect Cinderella. I was wrong.)
From the curb, Maleficent's rage could be heard by my neighbors AND Cinderella's 6 year old brother and friends who were playing outside.
(And so on.)
Cinderella told us her mother ranted for the entire car ride home. Mostly to herself because no one else was responding.
Cinderella was also subjected to hearing her mother tell her that she WILL NOT buy her anything EVER AGAIN because SHE bought the bathing suit for Cinderella and that money could have been better spent on bills.
Huh? No one is holding the bathing suit hostage.
Once again the lines of reality have been blurred in the midst of Maleficent's bipolar tantrums.
Cinderella told us that she holed herself up in her bedroom for the rest of Friday night. Waiting out the end of her mother's tirade which eventually came to an end and she was able to enjoy the rest of her weekend.
(With the exception of when her mother took her swimming anyway, despite Cinderella's protests, and forced the poor girl to go into the pool. Ooh. Ahh. I guess she showed me, huh?)
Cinderella was glad to be home come Sunday night. Glad to be able to talk to us about what happened and to do a little venting of her own.

I am sure that to many the simple solution would have been to let Cinderella take the bathing suit.
That this ALL could have been avoided if I had just given in.
That it's MY fault. The Wicked Stepmom who had no right saying "no."
That, indeed, I am too big for my britches.
But to anyone who has been following my journey will know that NOTHING will guarantee peace with Maleficent.
And lord knows how I have tried.
Giving in to avoid conflict only prolongs the inevitable temper tantrum and downward spiral that always comes from an untreated manic depressive.
This was not about ME vs. Maleficent. It had nothing to do with her at all.
It was a simple lesson that most woman have learned at one time or another. Unfortunately, this was Cinderella's time to learn that being a woman sometimes ain't all it's cracked up to be.
It's simple biology. You can't argue with that.
Except...when it comes to parenting. Because I have learned over the years that there is much MORE to parenting than simple BIOLOGY.
Just because I am not Cinderela's BIOLOGICAL parent, does not mean that I do not have any of the responsibilities that come with parenting her.
And I will never stop doing that. No matter how many times I am challenged.
I am a hard-ass.
I am not going to back down over of a matter of simple biology.


Anonymous said...

I'm all about taking the high road but I do sense a ton of hostility towards Cindy's biomom; why do you feel Cindy needed to be reminded that she couldn't swim; doesn't that just add more pressure to her. I have three step-children and a hell of an ex to deal with but when she says 'bring your suit' then the children bring their suit; if my oldest SD doesn't want to swim due to her period or otherwise then it's up to her to tell her mom, not me to remind her. You say that no one was holding the bathing suit hostage and yet you wouldn't let her take it.

Now Maleficent's behavior was very much uncalled for but try putting yourself in her shoes (I think you have if I recall some of your past posts) and how you would react to being told what YOUR daughter (regardless of custody) can and can't do and imagine being Cinderella and having to face that when it would've been much easier to just let her take the bathing cussing, no yelling and now embarrassment for you, Cindy, etc. Sometimes taking the high road means you're alone and sometimes it means biting your tongue and letting something happen that you don't agree with as long as the child isn't at risk of being harmed.

I understand that nothing gurantees peace with a biomom, I've tried too but what's the harm in 'giving in'...interesting you say it that way since you also said it wasn't a HER vs YOU situation.

I realize that Cinderella is young but did anyone think of using tampons?

Wicked Stepmom said...

Anon -

Cinderella wasn't being reminded, as much as being TAUGHT about not being able to swim during her menstrual cycle. This is only her 4th period, so it's the first time it came up.

She is only 12 and not ready for tampons, IMO. Still a bit too young and uncoordinated. :)

I do understand why M would feel threatened or challenged, but that's not enough of a reason for me to change my mind. Especially after Cindy did tell her mother on Thurs, Fri and Sat that she didn't want to swim, but was forced to do it anyway. Yeah, I'm feeling a it hostile right now. :)

FWIW, the law guardian and custody lawyer agree and are glad that Cindy has someone like me on her side - who can teach her how to stand up for herself and can back her up when her mother won't listen. I don't care if Maleficent is angry with me - as long as she is not angry with Cindy (and she is not), then I'm ok with being the bad guy. I always will be in M's eyes.

loonyhiker said...

It seems to me that forcing Cinderella at 12 years old to swim while she had her period and not wearing a tampon is emotionally abusive. Isn't M's tantrums verbal and emotionally abusive? Couldn't Prince Charming report this to someone? It sounds like supervised visits should be in order.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Loonyhiker -

Indeed it is!

Part of the reasons my frutrations levels are at an all-time high is that so much of this day-to-day nonsense could have been avoided if the court systems got their act together. It's been almost 6 weeks since the paperwork was originally filed and we are STILL waiting for a court date.

PC is back at the court house this morning. I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

Erika Compliment said...
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