First, do no harm...

(Here's a little experiment to try this week....)

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. -Philo

If you're wanting to create a friendlier relationship with the mom or stepmom and aren't sure where to start, first, consider doing something simple and stopping any subtly combative behavior.

Is your voice tight when you talk to her on the phone?

Add some warmth.

Do you have a hard time smiling when when you see her in person because you get yourself all riled up, hitting the "refresh" button about past grievances?

Be ballsy, grin like a maniac, and beam her some generosity with your eyes.

Are you engaging in a tit-for-tat dynamic when it comes to logistics with the kids (school issues, pick-ups and drop-offs, food, TV, etc.)?

Bite your tongue for just a moment and then, instead of jumping straight into the conversation and countering her opinion or suggestion, ask her a few questions about WHY she wants to do it this way.

Genuinely shoot for understanding. Work hard to go deeper. THEN let her know why you're doing things as you are afterward. I bet it will be easier for her to hear you too.

Now can you both move a little closer to the middle?

So see what happens this week if you just pull back a bit and refrain from "fencing" with her.

Pay attention to any automatic behavior that isn't moving you towards cooperation and inner peace and ease and just... stop doing it.

It may feel weird and you may have lots of mental dialogue about how you're leaving your neck exposed, she's going to screw you over, this is strategically insane, etc. etc. but just gently thank your alarmist monkey mind and move on.

See what happens.

You just might make some room for curiosity and connection....

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine      All Rights Reserved