When I met and decided to marry my Redneck, I knew things would be a lot different than I was used to. My last marriage was just me and him, no children except the furry kind. I know how to be a wife, but being the “new wife” in a ready-made family has taught me a few things already.
Yes, I am a step-mom. Not because I wanted the role (actually I ran screaming from it for a while). But with two teenagers in my husband’s life, obviously, they are going to become a part of mine. There is just no avoiding the situation.
I am married to their dad. Visitation occurs in the house that is now my home. I am the one cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and all of the other things here. So I am doing these things for them while they are here because that’s just the way the house works.
When I signed on I knew that all of this was going to be a part of my life, but I didn’t realize that just by taking care of my husband I would become a target in he and his ex-wife’s arguments. I have done nothing but embrace these kids of theirs. Feeding them, talking to them, watching movies with them. I do everything with them that my husband does.
I came into this ready-made family because I love my husband. Even once the kids are grown, I am going to be here alone with my husband. I love the man, and I will defend him and help him reach his goals to repair some broken aspects of his relationships with his kids. This isn’t because of the kids. It’s because I’m here as a support for my husband, helping him to better himself in all aspects of his life. One of them just happens to be his ability to be a parent. I never pushed for this, but because it is important to him, it’s important to me.
The title is a by-product of the marriage
For all intents and purposes, the boys could just call me “Dad’s new wife” and I’d be fine with that. They don’t have to like me or bond with me. I want them to like me and I want them to have fun with me. But I also want them to remember that I am here first and foremost for their father. They have 2 parents already. They don’t need me to step up and parent them.
You Don’t Have to Respect Me; But I Don’t Have to Let You Disrespect Me
I do not discipline. I do not criticize. My role is not to step in so I can be seen as the “evil step-mother” by pretending to be their parent. Those responsibilities fall directly on my husband’s shoulders while they are in our home. However, I do expect a level of respect as this IS my home 24/7. I will not allow them to treat me like I’m the maid or the hired help. I will not allow them to not have basic manners or disrespect me (or their father) in the house. This isn’t “parenting” to me. It’s my right to not be disrespected in my own home.
I Am Not Stealing Them
Trust me, I had this conversation with the entire household. I am not their mom. I don’t want to be their mom. If I could put a label on the type of relationship that I’m looking for with these boys, it would be more akin to the role of Aunt. I want to spend time with them, care for them, and even bond with them at school functions and the like. I just don’t want the responsibility of teaching them things via discipline. Granted, I will definitely step in and teach them not to be disrespectful boogerheads, but I won’t be responsible for any punishment. Suggesting or pointing out problems within their actions (not behavior) to their father will occur (because, once again, this is my home too) but I will not be an active participant in the situation. It’s not my place.
I Am Not a Threat
Apparently, even though I haven’t had a conversation with the ex-wife since long before they were even married (we all went to high school together), I’m just evil. Things are said about me that I have no idea where they even came from. I’m okay with that.
I know I’m viewed as a bad person. She may even talk bad about me to the kids (I don’t know or care). I do know, however, that I won’t compromise my ethics no matter what happens.
Even if she is going out of her way to get the boys to dislike me, the rule of no bashing the ex (mostly from my husband’s reaction to her behavior) in front of the kids stand.
I’m not doing anything to make myself look better to the kids. I just won’t alter my principles for anyone. If they happen to learn a little about being a good person and taking the high road in bad situations, so be it. But this isn’t for them.
New Husband Standing Up for New Wife
Being the “new wife” in a ready-made family, this one is tricky not just to explain, but to figure out. I want him to defend me, sure, but not at the risk of a blow up in front of the kids. When texts or conversations happen, he never brings me or my opinions into the situation. He knows that I am only here as a cheerleader for good co-parenting. She doesn’t care what I think, and I don’t think we should have any say in what happens in their home any more than I think she shouldn’t have any say in what happens in ours.
She does use me in their conversations. He’s finally stepping up and getting a little confidence about being a Dad (much to her dismay). Instead of her seeing the effort he’s putting forth, she uses me as another way to “dig” at him.
For example- He recently started exerting his right to visitation one night of the week. Granted, he hadn’t done this for years, but he’s trying now. Instead of her thinking of the good that it’s doing the boys to have their dad try to show them that he wants to be a good father, she seems to hate it. Her response to him saying, “at least I’m trying now” was, “because you are being told to”.
Uhm. Okay. *scratching head*
How in the world did I get drug into this one?
He let the entire thing drop, but part of me wishes when she did that he would just say, “Please don’t put my wife in this.” Or something to that extent.
Life Isn’t Fair
None of this is fair. Not to me (obviously). Nor to my husband who has to fight to have a relationship with his children in the first place, let alone to be able to attempt to mend it. Not to the ex-wife who obviously can’t handle not being in charge of every aspect of things where her children are involved. And especially not to the kids, who never asked for any of this. They deserve to be loved and allowed to be children. Picking sides should not come into play. They deserve to not be put into the middle of their parents’ bitter arguments. Letting them be kids, learn to be themselves and form their own bonds with each individual parent (and other adults) should be encouraged.
I know I’m not the only one sitting here in this situation. There are millions of step-parents who feel alienated and alone. We are not the minority.
I hope reading about my situation and how I’m coping with it helps and/or motivates you to try to work on things in your blended family.
I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.
Being the New Wife in a Ready-Made Family