I remember the day like it was yesterday; the day my ex husband told me he was getting married. I remember the shock that I felt not even knowing that he was dating someone. From that moment I decided that I would hate her forever.
Shortly after, I met her. I was gruff and short because let’s be honest, I hated her, and I didn’t want her to be in my kid’s lives.
The Next Day my oldest son had a baseball game. We arrived at the game and I sat down to watch. #2 and I were hanging out eating skittles and then it happened, she arrived and he asked me, “Mom, can I go sit with her?” What?!
I hated her even more now because my kids liked her! They wanted to be with her and sit by her, and not me! They liked to talk with her and share skittles with her!
I hated her for the memories that she was making with my kids. I hated her for the fact that she took the boys on bike rides while she ran. I hated her for the freshly baked cookies that were on the counter when they got there. I hated her because she liked to take them to the lake and go boating!
I hated her because of my own insecurities and jealousy. I was insecure that there was a potential that I would be replaced. I wasn’t jealous that she was married to my ex husband, but I was jealous for the time she got to spend with my kids. I was jealous for the fact that she made them happy when they were with her. I hated her for the way she loved God and was kind to others and tried to serve others constantly.
I hated her for years. If I could find a reason to hate her more I did.
Then one day I was talking to a friend; having a pity party because the boys were gone and their dad was at work so they were with her. It was so unfair; they were with her and not with me! I am their mom, not her! When he is not there they should be here, with me! My friend simply said, “aren’t you glad that your kids are happy when they spend time with her?”
That sentence changed my life.
I suddenly realized that I am grateful that they have another mom who cares about them and loves them and loves to spend time with them.
I started to think how hard I had made her life, by not being cheerful and happy towards her. I recalled how hard it was to be a step mom and try so hard to get your family to mesh together and I was not helping. She was doing the best she could and I was hindering that all from happening. I remembered what it was like to try and establish your place in someone else’s child’s life. I remembered trying to find the balance of loving someone else’s kids and not have the kids feel as though you were trying to replace their mom. It was certainly not an easy task, and I had made it that much harder for her.
The tears streamed down my face realizing what I had done and how much time I had wasted hating someone who just was trying to make my kids’ feel loved when I couldn’t be there. I hated the person who tucked my kids in bed when I couldn’t be there and be a listening ear when they had a bad day at school when the boy’s couldn’t get ahold of me. I hated the person who loved my kids and who probably would never get the appreciation that she truly deserved.
I realized it was not a competition of who made the best cookies or who the boy’s would rather sit with at the baseball game. We were playing in the same game; we were on the same team working to raise these boys to be great young men. I realized that we would never be in competition because I could never be replaced. I realized I did not have to compete for the boys’ love with her because I remembered that when I was a step mom I loved my step kids just like my own, but a little different because I knew that I would never replace their real mom. The boys loved me, and they love her differently. We both offer different things to the kids to really make them happy.
I realized the more I loved her the more my kids would love me and her. Although I never told my kids that I didn’t like her; I think they felt it. Once I lost the hatred in my heart my boys felt more comfortable with the whole situation and telling me stories about things they did with her.
It was so easy to hate my ex husband’s wife because that is the normal thing to do, but I have come to realize that when you lose the hatred your love grows and children’s love grows not only for you, but for the new addition they have in their lives.