In the words of other stepmoms

I'm currently working on an article about how to reach out to the stepmother or ex-wife in your life -- what it actually might look like; why you'd want to (or not); what's in it for you; what could potentially go wrong (and you don't need me to tell you, there's lots).  Two posts from other sites that seemed particularly apropos popped into my mind.  So I dug around on the fantabulous DHX: Doughtie Houses Exchange until I found what I was looking for, then hopped on over to The Ommy Diaries

I find it fascinating to read about how other stepmother or ex-wives have handled establishing a relationship with the "other woman."  Scary business that can be really confusing. 

And sadly, it doesn't always have a happy ending....

Puzzle_missing In the DHX post, stepmom Jill is looking at why she felt compelled to keep reading bio-mom Kathy's blog entries:

...I was trying to understand her. I really, really didn’t understand. Who was this other person who suddenly had such a deep reach into my personal life? I was scared of her. But I also wanted to know who she was and what she wanted. I didn’t get it. It was really important to me. And I was scared to show up in person and try to find out."

(You can read the rest of the post here.)

This is one thing I love about their site.  Not only are they another stepmom/ex-wife team who have figured out how to co-parent cooperatively, they're also friends, just like Carol and I.  Their posts are always inspiring and often downright beautiful.  But what keeps pulling me back to their writing is this wonderful sense of honesty and open, almost child-like sense of willingness to explore and learn -- about each other, about themselves, about the vagaries of this potentially weird, sometimes really stressful journey.

Rollercoaster The second post, from the Ommy Diaries recounts stepmom Morocco's initial steps at creating a connection with the mom, Eliza, who is actually in jail. 

"...Though I truly wanted to stop the bickering, I really wanted to be the one who “tried.”  When she agreed to my proposal [for a truce] I had mixed feelings.  It was a blessing and a curse.  The blessing being that it would give us a chance to get to know each other and attempt to dispel any preconceived notions that we had about each other.  It would mean a clean slate for us.  The curse was that I would have to allow her to get to know me.  And I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted her to know me on a deeper level.  I wished I had never opened my mouth!"

(You can read the rest of the post here.)

Her story is very real, and again -- very honest -- and illustrates how very difficult it can be to reach out to someone who is not sure they want a relationship with you.  Her reactions, emotions and even judgments. seem very human and I give her credit for her bravery.

If you go back and read newer posts, you'll see that Eliza is making strides in reaching back.  A simple card... and an acknowledgment can make such a huge difference!  Something to think about....

These kinds of relationships are such works in progress, aren't they?  It's hard not to give up hope when things get nasty or lop-sided or just sag under the weight of old resentments and anger. 

Sun_oak I keep saying, the potential benefits are worth the effort, but I also realize it may not work out for everyone.

(On a personal note, I wish there were more ex-wives/bio-moms writing about their perspective.  There are plenty of sites geared towards stepmothers, but the moms seem to be largely silent.  Why is this?!)

© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved

 

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