Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Biology of Divorce (Post Script)

The Law Guardian did see through Cinderella's smoke screen and knew she was also being coached by her mother, BUT, she was put in place to protect Cinderella and if Cindy said she was scared to come home, then the LG had no choice but to allow her to stay at Maleficent's for that one night.
(Consequently, Cinderella did try the same crap a week later, again while at Maleficent's, but was told NO DICE by her LG.)

Whatever his personal feelings were for (or against) me, Prince Charming at least agreed that he and I needed to talk to Cinderella's TOGETHER about what took place.
For me, it was to show us as a continued united front and let her know that the issue of her disrespect was not acceptable.
For him, it was to "get to the bottom of things."
Three days later, the three of us sat in the living room after her return from her weekend visit with Maleficent. Cinderella on one couch, me on the other and Prince Charming on the floor between us.
(Talk about a house divided. So much for a UNITED front.)
He had very little to say, instead turning to Cinderella and I to drive the conversation.
I took over. I was the other parent after all.
I told her how I felt. She told me how she felt. She admitted to going a bit far by calling the LG and acknowledged that the real issues were her attitude and lack of accountability for not doing her chores.
I apologized. She apologized.
Tears were shed on both sides as I told her how much I loved her like she was one of my own and that we sometimes all say things in anger that we don't mean.
(Like when she tells her brother and sister "I'LL KILL YOU" if you do this one more time or say that again.)
His presence was quickly forgotten. This was between Cinderella and me anyway. It started with us, and it needed to end WITH US.

It took me a while to realize this was NOT a Stepmother/Stepdaughter issue because yes, like so many others (some of whom have shared their opinions on this very blog), I am too quick to judge my actions and assume the worse of myself. I immediately jump to the conclusion that I truly *am* the Wicked Stepmom and how dare I show my HUMAN side and let this child who is not my own get the better of me. Surely if she were my biological child I would have reacted differently. Right? RIGHT???
Umm... get real.
This, my pretties, was a simple matter of parenting of a TEEN.
Cinderella is my first teen. She is our oldest child. And like many other parents of teens know, there is no preparing for it, no filter strong enough to protect you from those first eye rolls and head shakes and snarky comments. Limits will be pushed, standoffs will occur, battles will ensue and eventually your skin thickens, your hearing becomes selective and you learn when to walk away, how to ignore and pick your battles.
Our relationship will wax and wane like any parent/teenage relationship will, and with any luck, come full-circle again one day.

(Parts I & II)

7 comments:

Stepped in H-E Double L said...

I am very proud of you for recognizing that this was NOT because you are a step parent. I think as a stepmom I find myself asking the same question when things come up. Would it be different if I were the bio?

It must be a good feeling to know that you are being the best parent you can, and it doesn't matter that you aren't biologically related.

loonyhiker said...

I'm glad y'all had this talk. Now when my daughter (oops, 35 year old stepdaughter I mean) look back and talk about events, we both realize how typical our behaviors were as teen and mom. The "step" had nothing to do with it. Hang in there and when Cinderella grows older, you will look back at these times knowing that you survived. The main thing my daughter said that helped her was that I was consistent, and no matter how she tried to push me away, I hung in there for her. Cinderella will know the same thing about you!

Lauren said...

It's hard when these things build up and then explode. We just dealt with a similar situation at our house, and we didn't even have a difficult separation hanging over our heads. SD is apparently suffering from "teenage amnesia," and so she "forgot" everything I asked her to do for a month. It came to a tipping point, and DH got involved. However, I think you're exactly right: it's a parenting issue, not necessarily just a stepparenting issue. Teens are universally hard to deal with, especially if you're in the primary caregiver role at any time.

Best of luck to you.

stef said...

Argh teenagers... they do come right. Eventually

Carrie Ann said...

I am so sorry about your divorce! Shocked really. I hope everything turns out well for you.

Cinderella's lucky to have such a great stepmom.

Chippylibrarian

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