I think I’d like to start first by saying that this group is often on my mind. Some of you are complete strangers who know nothing about me and only have “liked” because you think this content may pertain to you. Others, whether we’ve met in person or not, know me deeply. Intimately. Know my true heart. My struggle. My pain, anguish, defeat and also – my victory. But I am writing to all of you today.
This group got very large very quickly – which leads me to believe what I already knew so many years ago – blended families are everywhere – and childless stepmoms especially need some direction. A voice. A safe place to be heard.
The reason I never opened this group up for people to post on is because I was protective of you. SO MANY PEOPLE are blindingly ignorant when it comes to the real stress in a blended family that they are hateful and they are demeaning and they share their “wisdom” in ugly ways. Which is really not helpful – and a lot of times, not even true. So I hope you know that I’m not hoarding you. When I started this group, the purpose was actually just to use as an outlet for me to vent and find (please dear God if they existed!) people like you who would understand my childless stepmom struggle.
I believe that I know more and more each day that the direction I want to take this group is more down a path of healing and growing than ever before. I have always promised that I would post with integrity. I would be honest and real and I would speak from my heart. If a follower was ugly, they were booted – it was pretty simple.
I am a wealth of blended family knowledge. I am the one people STILL go to for custody, divorce, marriage and parenting advice – even though I haven’t really been a stepmom in almost 3 years. And I can assure you those statements are not cocky. The reason I am such a wealth of knowledge isn’t anything I planned on. It’s everything I fought through and had to figure out on my own. I am a woman who spent hundreds of miserable hours, thousands of dollars, and countless sleepless nights getting it all wrong. I share with you now from a place of “your court case / child / marriage will look like this, please make better choices than I did.”
Now, if you haven’t spent any time reviewing my story, here is the extra short version:
I grew up in an alcoholic home. I was bred to be codependent. I was young and ignorant and learned to equate “pity” with “love” when I got married. I pitied a man with a beautiful toddler boy with a very sick biological mother and I fell completely in love with that toddler boy, and with protecting with my LIFE, that toddler boy. So I got married, too fast. And I tried to be a mom, too fast. And I spent years in ugly, exhausting and probably mostly none of my business custody battles. Biological mom was a drug user and not in the picture. I was a custodial childless stepmom, called “Mom” for several years. I was all that boy had known as a mother until he was 9 years old. My ex husband was a borderline personality disordered man who had before me (and continues to after me) burned through countless relationships. I divorced him after nearly 6 years. I survived parental alienation. Barely. I lost my son. My character was assassinated. Everything I once knew was gone. I picked myself up. And I stand. Many people who turned on me now know the truth. Vindicating, but I would prefer my son.
We just passed my 8th year in therapy. Eight. Years. So much to unpack. So much to heal.
So first, what you probably need to hear: you’re not crazy. You are probably not entirely wrong in your perspective. You love these kids (or you’re trying to figure out how). You are at odds with the other parent(s). Your financial bank account and emotional bank account is dwindling. You have either a terrible attorney, or a great one but you hate listening to them. You hate the family court system and believe you’re a victim to it.
If any of this resonates with you, I get it. I so completely get it.
I felt it might be appropriate today to let some of you who have been there from the very beginning to know that I am still here. You matter deeply. And I want to continue sharing resources with you.
However, I am about to remarry. Neither of us have biological children. On some level, we are ready for a fresh start. A GREAT deal of issues with custody, kids and exes bring back ugly memories for me that I am still deciding what to do with. Now, this is not about a lack of healing, rather a lack of placement. All those years, they are a part of me. But they are not all of me. So if I do not respond right away or I go periods without posting, it’s because I am navigating this new chapter. Please extend grace for me through it. Reliving trauma is really not easy for any person. And I also don’t willingly invite it. I guess I share all of that so you know where I’m coming from on the front end.
I get TONS of requests for advice. I am not by any means the only source for quality advice, and I encourage you to seek out ANYONE you can who can lead you, who can show you. There are so many good, strong women (and men) who have amazing things to share with you!
All that I did differently to grow this group was be honest and vulnerable and demand that you get smarter. As I’ve aged and had more experiences, I tend to shoot people even more straight than I did before! We spend hours fighting on nonsense, and demanding that the court see our view instead of becoming stronger, smarter and more courageous. I walked a very dark and long road to become the best woman I could be. The best person I could be. That is where my life truly changed. You can find this too. Don’t give up searching and growing. And thank you for being here.