Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On Birthdays and Breakups (Part II)

Prince Charming, Cinderella and Hansel all have July birthdays.
Last week, my ex-husband and ex-stepdaughter came to my house to celebrate Hansel's 9th birthday.
This past weekend it was Hansel and Gretel's turn to visit their Dad's to celebrate his and Cinderella's birthdays.
But before that, presents needed to be purchased and cards were made.

I know the subject of birthdays is a hot topic amongst divorced and stepparents.
Admittedly, my own opinions on this subject have changed over the years. In the early days of this blog, when I allowed myself to be bitter and angry over situations I had no control over, I had a total  FUCK YOU attitude and played the tit-for-tat game with Maleficent. If *she* didn't take Cinderella to get a gift for her Dad, then *I'm* not taking Cinderella to get a gift for her.
Later, as I stepped into the role of acceptance and rose above the pettiness - I let go of the things I couldn't control and focused on what was right for my stepdaughter, I found greater peace within and so did Cinderella.
If a present needed to be bought, I took her. If her Mom didn't help her pick out a gift for her Dad's birthday or Christmas, I took her shopping for one.
Likewise, I took Cinderella to pick up gifts for her mother because it didn't matter how *I* felt about Maleficent.
It wasn't about *me.* It was about my stepdaughter.
What right did I have to deny her the pleasure of showing her love for either parent? What would it prove by refusing to take her shopping? Who would I be hurting most?
I try to live by the mantra: Love your kids more than you hate your ex.
This applies to ALL ex's... your spouse's ex too.
In keeping with this mantra, both Hansel and Gretel were taken out this past week/weekend to pick out birthday presents for their Dad and their sister. And they were excitedly dropped off to celebrate with them on Sunday.
Though, in all honesty, it wasn't that difficult of a task.
I'm thankful I don't have the kind of relationship with my ex that *he's* had with his ex. Where celebrating birthdays, or simple acts of compassion, are forced.
I know my kids are happy about that too - for it creates a safe environment where they can express and show their love for their Dad.
Yesterday was Prince Charming's actual birthday. I made sure my kids called to wish their Dad a happy birthday, and when they handed me the phone, they heard me wish him the same.

9 comments:

cassee01 said...

you are very inspiring - don't quit blogging!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree! Please continue telling your story. I'm a relatively new step-mother and am hoping that we're finally turning a corner and ending most of the bitterness. It's not easy though...

Marty said...

Did I ever tell you about the time I helped my stepdaughter make something for Mother's Day? Her mom opened it, figured that her daughter had to have had help (i.e. me), and threw it in the trash can.

I still help her get gifts for her mom when needed, but now she lies to her mom about where they came from and how she got them.

Nice lesson to teach your daughter, eh?

Vent Control said...

Holy Marty... thats intense. Good for you to continue to help with gifts, etc. I do the same!"
My husband and i share custidy of my step-children/his children and there is always an occasion where a gift needs to be prepared or a card needs to be made. I try my damndest to help create the most 'normal' setting i can when it comes to raising those kids in a seperated family. I love them so much. And i know they love me too....
My step-daughters mom has actually asked her if she loves ME more than her. She is 7 years old...
The 7 year old feels 'stressed and uncomfortable' to talk to me on the phone when she is at her moms because of the questions her mom asks her after she hangs up with me.... how fair is that?
So much drama... so little control.
Its my step-daughters birthday tomorrow and she is at her mothers. I know she will not ask to talk to me when we phone to wish her a happy birthday because her mom will be listening.
So i just sit here and wait. Wait for the day they come back to stay at our house... Then its just us.

ps - i found this blog site after NEEDING to know that there are other step-moms out there who feel the same as i do. Thank you for being here.

Martini Mom said...

Bravo! I feel exactly the same way and always help my son purchase gifts for his dad and step-mom. I even still get my ex a (small, inexpensive) gift for Christmas every year, from ME. I just think it's a nice gesture for my son to see me make - something concrete to show him that his parents don't hate each other. Plus, the annual act of kindness is kind of therapeutic for me. It helps me reset, remember to see my ex as a person instead of just my ex, and helps me forgive my grievances. (Of which there are many. He is my ex, after all.) My step-daughters live in another state with their mom, so I don't really have the option with them, but hopefully that will be changing soon.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Thank you for the words of encouragement and for sharing your stories as well. I get as much support from them, as anyone else!

african girl said...

I love your way of wisdom! You really inspired me. As a step-mother I know it's not easy to deal with the environment but as time goes by you will be used to it.

Not all step mothers will fully be accepted by their step daughters/sons. It needs time for them to realize that you are their new mom. I can say that you really did a good job.

Onemom said...

Oowweee I hope to get there some day. My wicked witch has tried so many evil tricks to come between me and my husband,she has accused him of molesting their daughter in court she even did a background check on me and got a hold of my ex phone number and told him her lie which caused problems with me seeing my kids, she bring exes of his with her to do the exchanges, she has speed countless of rumers about me being a drug addict , and now we r in court cuz she is tring to get custody back of my stepson. Despite all her attempts and lies we remaine a strong united front well at least in her eyes. I have Ben the bigger person and only did damage control and never threw it her way. But that has caused me to feel like a ticking time bomb. I have so much anger and rage at the accusations built up inside because I don't confront her for everyone's sake. But I just can't bring myself to send her anything kind and loving. I'm i wrong for that?

Anonymous said...

My stepmom and I have had a complicated relationship. When I first met her I was 8 yrs old. I was daddy's princess, he had never introduced us to any other woman. I was used to my brother and I having his full attention when we went to visit. I hated her from the start. She was wicked, mean and I wanted nothing to do with her. I soon grew to tolerate her, but never would spend time with her without my dad, she and I never talked on the phone. Now as I have grown up she has taught me things my mom never could have about style, decorating, friendship, love and many other things. God sent her to our family as an angel and she has become my rock, my "other mother" or Shmom as I call her, my best friend, my shoe shopping buddy and I absolutely love her with all my heart. We now spend more time together and on the phone with each other than my dad and I do I have no idea how my mom felt as she had listen to my anger fits every time I came home and I'm sure never heard anything good about my stepmom but for those of you dealing with step parents and your children I can tell you I am thankful that I have two mothers. My stepmom does not replace my mom at all, but that doesn't mean she loves me any less than my mom does.