Hi there, new friends!
Can we just talk about how scary it is to be responsible for the care of other small human beings? Like, how it’s the job of 100% of parents who are very much “winging it” all of the time to make sure that these smaller humans turn into decent people who can care for themselves and not be shitty to the planet and other living things? I am not sure if other parents just lie through their teeth about it, or if it genuinely gets easier with time. I get the feeling that no one truly has any idea what the hell they’re doing when it comes to parenting, so why do we spend so much time and energy judging other parents for the way they do things?
I inherited three girls when Hubs and I got together, and it’s a truly terrifying thing to think about. For one, they’re adolescent girls. Having been an adolescent girl once upon a time (and not a particularly good one), I think I have a better idea of what’s to come than he does… but I digress. *Gillie, Hub’s oldest Daughter (11), is a bit of a hell raiser. Very demanding of [negative] attention and dramatic,. She’s had a rocky relationship with her mother for many years now. She is definitely the quintessential image of “daddy’s little girl.” She’s been dead-set on coming to live with us since we arrived in Germany, and we will be happy to have her. I think.
You see, Gillie has been more than vocal about her vehement hatred towards me. While I have to be honest when I say it hurts me, it also completely envelopes me in rage. Is it right for me to be mad at a young girl who is in the midst of a painful situation and acting out in accordance with her strong feelings? No. I am looking at an irrational/hormonal child and expecting her to behave through the eyes and mind of a calm, collected adult. I’m not reasonable in it – but that’s why I have this blog…So I can RAGE OUT out about my anger and sadness without hurting anyone close to me. I know I am not the only one feeling so lost and alone while attempting to traverse the murky waters of step-parenthood.
I should be better at this step-momming thing than most. I was a product of a broken marriage; a misogynist father, a stubborn and often cold mother, and I was an absolute bullheaded tyrant for a few too many years in my own troubled youth. Karmically, one might say, I have it coming. I also have a whole armory of experiences with which to draw on when it comes to the manipulation, anger, lies, and deceit that a young woman is capable of. You can’t pull one over on my because I did all that shit – and I did it much better.
Here’s the thing though: I don’t know where I fit in yet. I have no idea what to expect of the household relations. I don’t know how I will react when I am angered, or hurt. I know full-well I am not their mother, and I long to be a trusted confidant in the lives of these young people as they grow into old people. I want to like them and genuinely be interested in who they are and who they become, what they are passionate about and what sets them off. What terrifies me most is not the teenage outbursts… it’s not the anger and cruelty that can come from a girl whose body and worldview is changing faster with each breath. What I fear most is that I may not learn to love who these people are.
That truth makes me feel like a monster.
Logically, I understand that these girls have experienced a huge pain and turmoil in their lives. Their father has been absent for approximately 1/2 of their lives, due to deployments and training missions. He estimates he’s spent more than 6 years overseas. They’re military kids, so I guess they’ve grown “used to it”. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a huge impact on who they’ve become. As a result, Hubs has a bit of a “disneyland dad” syndrome, which has only gotten worse since we relocated overseas.
Now, I want to make a point to keep this to pertinent information about me and my feelings, but I suppose it might be beneficial to give a bit of backstory on Ex-Wife, Felicia. Hubs and Felicia met and married straight out of high school. To say that her homelife was colorful is the most polite term I can come up with. She was not afforded the lessons of becoming a functional adult before they married and began a family together. Money management, hygiene and cleanliness, parenting styles, you name it…she lacks. Even now, at 30+ years old, she fails to make any payment on time – has never made an effort to conform to a budget, or savings plan…etc. She’s still very much a dependent, and I fear she will be for all of her life.
The empath in me feels sorry for her. It’s 100% not her fault no one has ever held her accountable for her actions. On the other hand, I feel that there are few excuses when it comes to taking care of business, and at a certain point, you just have to lace up your bootstraps and do the damn thing. Unfortunately, she failed to do so then, and continues to fail to do so now. What I’m saying here is that I think she’s an emotionally neglectful mother who is failing to prepare her children adequately for the “real world,” because life has robbed her off the skill set to do so.
Well shit, that carousel came back around right quick, didn’t it? It’s a paradox. I don’t think that I, or anyone else for that matter, have a right to judge other parents who are just doing what they can to get by as they ride their own emotional waves and try to be “all of the things” for their children. BUT I DO! Damnit, I’m human and I DO. I don’t think she consciously neglects her children, just that she does it. Their words, demeanor, and actions prove it. Felicia was dealt an unfair hand in early life, and the mirror has reflected the same dysfunction unto her children and relationships ever since. It’s not her fault – until it is.
How many times does a person need to attend swimming lessons until they venture off without an instructor? Case in point: Felicia has moved all three young children into Hubs mother’s home. Let me reiterate: My new husband’s ex-wife and children have moved across the country (out of a beautiful home we’re still paying the mortgage on) to live on my mother-in-law’s livingroom floor. Because that’s normal, right?
Talk some sane into me, guys. Am I wrong to be feeling these things? Is there any grounds for me thinking that the lack of familial boundary is not normal?