I know nothing about where you come from. I know nothing about who you are, or why you’ve chosen to be in the situation you’re in. But one thing I do know is, if you’re still angry and bitter, your perspective sucks. If you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, your perspective sucks. If you are losing at every turn, feeling defeated, and believe there is no way things will ever change – YOUR PERSPECTIVE SUCKS.
How do I know? Because mine did. My perspective sucked for a long time. And the longer I lived with said sucky perspective, the harder things got. So let me help you with this.
I love my naysayers. I love my angries. I love the people who are so irked by their circumstance that they can’t freaking see straight. Why? Because I was you. You’re beautiful. You’re trying so hard. You CARE. And your perspective sucks.
When I started my journey I promised you TRUTH, not fairness. And the truth, well, sometimes it sucks. But it’s always the truth. I got a lot of truth along my way…and I ignored it. ALL of it. I rolled my eyes so many times I am surprised they even sit properly in my head anymore. “You’re full of shit”, I thought. “That SOUNDS pretty, but you don’t GET it. That might work for someone ELSE, but you don’t know ME. You don’t know what I’ve been through. And you sure as hell don’t know what I’M dealing with.”
My perspective sucked.
You know why your friends don’t understand or sympathize? Well, 2 reasons. First, they aren’t in your shoes. Obviously. They don’t understand the day to day drama, so they can’t really help you. They don’t get it. They try, but they don’t get it. And second, well, this one, let me bold it out for everyone because it is true for everyone in this world, blended family or not –
NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SHIT NEARLY AS MUCH AS YOU DO.
I’m sorry. That was harsh. I am not suggesting your family, your struggle or everything you live and breathe for is ‘shit’. What I am suggesting is you start looking at it from a position of OBJECTIVITY instead of SUBJECTIVITY. Until you do, you will continue to live in utter misery, and by the way, you’ll never win a court case, or find ANY sense of peace. With a perspective that DOES NOT examine outside viewpoints, you’re immobile.
I promise you that.
So here we go friends. Buckle up. This may or may not be well received. But all I promised was the truth.
When we were in our daily battle with BM, let’s call it our ‘case’. Why? Because you’re always in a case, right? Even if you’re not currently going to court, it’s the pink elephant in the room. To ‘parent’ is a verb, meaning you must continue to do it every day. Unless you’re at a point of mutual respect, and are able to effectively co-parent, you’re in an ongoing ‘case’ or at least you believe yourself to be. At any point, we all know damn well one of the two parties can and possibly will return to court over something. So we gotta watch! We gotta document! We gotta LIVE EAT SLEEP AND BREATHE THIS SHIT.
Do you think I wasn’t like you? Do you think I don’t have binders? HUNDREDS of Facebook screenshots? Texts? Emails? DOCUMENTS UPON DOCUMENTS from the police department, CPS, Guardian Ad Litem and our FOUR attorneys throughout all of this? FOUR. Tons of money we didn’t have, letters from ‘third parties’, sleepless nights, anger building, and a partridge in a pear tree. Oh I’ve been there. WE HAVE FULL FREAKING CUSTODY FRIENDS. You think that shit came easy? I don’t mean to get all scrappy. But I get REAL tired of the people who suggest I don’t get it because I have a positive attitude. I couldn’t POSSIBLY understand dealing with an IMPOSSIBLE co-parent and watching my work go up in flames. Day. After day. After agonizing day.
I get it. Do you get it? I get it.
Now that we’ve established that I’ve been where you’ve been and that isn’t just a pretty line I feed you, let me move onto the issue at hand:
YOUR PERSPECTIVE SUCKS. AND I KNOW THIS BECAUSE MY PERSPECTIVE SUCKED.
Along the way I received lots of advice, and again it all fell on deaf ears because ‘you don’t know me’ and ‘you don’t get it’ was always my attitude. The basics? CLEAN clothing. Well balanced meals. Homework completed. Education focus. Those basics that most of us consider ‘basics’? Those are OUR definition of basics. I would not DREAM of creating a child, and letting him go without MY definition of basics. And neither would you. Enter the problem. You know what the state’s definition of ‘basics’ is? A roof over their head, of any shape, size or condition. Clothes – yep. Just clothes. They don’t HAVE to fit well. They don’t HAVE to be clean. Sufficient food to keep them alive. And a certain amount of days per year that they attend public school.
The end. Look it up. I did. Endlessly. You know what I found? State info making it VERY clear that parenting is ‘personal’, the big guns try to stay out of it and stepparents…gotta watch their backs because it’s not our place. Again, I don’t bring you FAIRNESS, I bring you TRUTH. I KNOW it pisses you off to realize that your perspective is not the only one that matters. You are talking to the QUEEN OF PISSED OFF BECAUSE MY PERSPECTIVE ISN’T THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS.
But wait. There’s more.
Our attorney (after 3 lame ones, we finally found a gem) is absolutely incredible. And boy did I HATE some of the shit she had to say. OOOOOOOHHHHHH I hated it. She actually SAID the only way to get what we wanted was to show the judge we were trying to work with her, even though she had ZERO interest in working with US. She had the NERVE to say BM was HIS MOM, should be treated as such, even though I WAS THE ONLY MOTHER WHO GAVE A SHIT ABOUT HIM and that I was expected to not only show attempts to positively co-parent, but to HELP her in HER mom duties! She even said I had to be NICE to her, to STROKE her INSANE view of herself as ‘mom of the year’ and present ourselves to the judge as though we didn’t TOTALLY have it out for her. You have GOT to be kidding me. Not that I ‘had it out for her’ to begin with. But I sure as shit wasn’t HELPING her when she wasn’t helping herself! Why should I?
This is a woman who never kept clean APPROPRIATE clothes on his little back, proper food in his little belly and made all types of dangerous choices. And you want ME to go into that courtroom like I am NOT the best damn thing that ever happened to these 2 boys and actually try to HELP her?
Yes. That is exactly what our attorney expected of me. And guess what folks. It worked. Every ounce of advice that I give you about trying to work with the other party, SHOWING YOU ARE THE ADULT, and not taking petty jabs and making it a he-said/she-said? Came from my attorney. Arguably the best divorce attorney in the state in which we live, if not the midwest. And why on earth is she so successful? Why does she win cases? Why do the judges respect her?
Her perspective….does NOT suck. And she was not afraid to put this childless stepmom OR my husband in our places and tell us to sit down and shut up because she was driving. And not only driving, but driving with INTEGRITY and the smarts to do this with the RIGHT PERSPECTIVE.
She already knew what the state guidelines were. That’s right friends. BARE EFFING MINIMUM. SHE herself is a mother. She already knew that the judge’s job was to involve BOTH BIOLOGICAL PARENTS in the upbringing of this child at all costs. In fact, when BM told our judge to his face that she was doing drugs…the judge suggested WE pay for a substance abuse evaluation. I WAS ON FIRE IN THE SEAT IN THAT COURTROOM. Note I said, in the seat, with the rest of the people who didn’t matter to that case. Why? I DON’T MATTER TO THE CASE. THAT’S RIGHT. ME, RAISING THIS CHILD ALL DAY EVERY DAY AS MY OWN AND MY ATTORNEY SAID SIT YOUR ASS DOWN, AND BE QUIET ! Because TO THE JUDGE, I don’t matter to the case, in general. As MOST stepparents DON’T.
So it is suggested WE pay for an evaluation and I am about to lose it. I can feel myself getting more and more angry and I think SURELY our lawyer will fight that shit, that is what I PAY HER FOR AFTER ALL isn’t it?! And I see her lean over and whisper to my husband something to the effect of, ‘you’ll pay for that shit and you’ll do it with a smile on your face’. Okay that is not what she said, but it’s what it felt like to me 🙂
And the walls of that room came crashing down. All the work. All the fights. All of it. POOF! This will never end! My head was spinning. Tears filling my eyes. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?! I AM DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT! I TRULY DO WANT WHAT IS BEST FOR THIS CHILD WHY WON’T THIS END?!
Because my perspective. Well, it sucked.
We proceed with said evaluation. The results…quite damning to BM. You think my lawyer, and the judge didn’t already see that coming? No doubt the best thing that ever happened to us and to the safety of Little Bear. And HOPEFULLY ONE DAY, the best thing that will ever happen to BM. In order to reenter his life as an active parent, she must get herself some help. Some REAL help. And our attorney challenged me CONSTANTLY. She (along with many therapists) helped me realize the BEST thing for LB is to have ALL of this parents, alive, well, healthy and involved in his upbringing. She always said, ‘the best thing for this child is TRULY for his biological mother to be healthy and involved, in a good mental state, and sober.’ She would ask me if I believed that. And I always said yes, but deep down, the answer was no.
No, what is BEST for this child I thought is for his mother to go the hell away. For her to stop playing games, quit fkn around and either put up or shut up. And our lawyer knew I felt that way. That is why she challenged me so much. It wasn’t until I started this journey that I began to REALLY understand what she was saying and have a change of heart. That child no doubt DID need to be protected and he certainly IS better off with us. But the BEST thing for him is to have a mother who is in a good place to be involved in his life. If she is not in a good place, she can be damaging, and certainly that is part of why she is not involved today. BUT my perspective changed entirely when I started to look at it from a DIFFERENT angle. She DOES love him and she DOES want what is best for him. She just doesn’t currently have the tools to achieve it and has chosen not to make a change. BUT – I was doing NO ONE any favors by fighting it instead of OBJECTIVELY helping.
I was fun to work with in our case no doubt. My lawyer would laugh at me alot. Yes, laugh. I would bring things to her and she would shoot me down. I heard, ‘judge doesn’t care, judge doesn’t care, judge doesn’t care’ too many times to count. You know why you’re not getting anywhere in your case?
Your perspective sucks.
We went over and above what we ‘should’ have HAD to do for BM simply to ensure there was NO QUESTION we were the best environment for this child to reside in. But where was the judge’s head at in all of this? Why did we have to do that? Why on earth didn’t our lawyer just take all of my brilliance and move forward with it?! 😉 Because their perspective was quite different than ours. It is the judge’s job to exhaust all possible options to keep BOTH BIOLOGICAL PARENTS involved in the child’s upbringing. Stepparents, we ARE important, and the longer we are involved, the more important we become. But when all is said and done, THE OBJECTIVE PERSPECTIVE IS THIS: it is the biological parents who are the focus. It’s that simple. I did not say that was fair. I did not say that was right. What I said was, that is the TRUTH.
You can scratch and claw to try to get EVERYONE ON THE PLANET to see YOUR perspective. Or you can get to a point where you see things objectively, and proceed accordingly.
I love hearing how we stepparents knew what we were getting into when we came into this. HA! LOVE IT – LOVE IT – LOVE IT! To my BMs who follow, you guys are great. Why? Because I have come to a point where I can TRULY appreciate your perspective. So I would like to challenge both sides. BMs when you got pregnant, EVERYONE told you how it was going to be did they not? Everyone had some advice, everyone knew just what to say to ‘prepare’ you, right? And yet when that baby came, all you REALLY knew was you were bringing another life into the world. You didn’t know how he would turn out. You didn’t know what it would be like to raise that child until you started doing it, every waking moment of your life. Stepparenting is kind of the same. We GET that there is a child to raise, and we want to help. We GET that we will be dealing with another adult outside our own home that also affects these kids. But until we start doing it EVERY WAKING MOMENT OF OUR LIVES, we don’t TRULY get it.
I have no biokids of my own, clearly. But what I do feel differently about now than I used to, is a TOTAL sense of understanding about what it must be like for a BM to have to share her children. NO, she did not ask for us, like we did not ask for her. NO she did not expect to be sharing anything, NOR be belittled for not wanting to share.
OUR PERSPECTIVES SUCK! ON BOTH ENDS!
When I tossed out that little exercise on my Facebook page this week, you know the one, about VIEWING IT FROM THE OTHER PARTY’S PERSPECTIVE? Oh the ugly. Phew! If Facebook were flammable, every one of our computers and mobile devices would have gone up in flames.
I DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE FOR HER!
SHE WOULDN’T DARE ACCUSE ME OF ANYTHING!
WELL I COULD WORK ON THIS…..BUT….
No! No buts! The point of the exercise was to get everyone to see YOUR PERSPECTIVE IS NOT THE ONLY ONE! PERIOD! And you will CONTINUE to stew in your own misery, fighting an uphill battle with the other party and hating EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR FREAKING LIFE in a blended family UNTIL YOU START SEEING THINGS OBJECTIVELY.
Do you know the actual definition of the word OBJECTIVELY? Here’s one for funsies –
“Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudice.”
Well. That’s just friggen impossible. How can I be uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudice?
I will tell you why. Because the ones who are deciding your fate? Teachers, Judges, Lawyers, Therapists….THEY ARE ALL IN AN OBJECTIVE POSITION. SOME of course have their outside factors and we know SOME of them are in cahoots with the other party or at least we suspect they are. But most of them? They don’t know you from ANY OTHER OF THE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE THEY DEAL WITH. YOU ARE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. And THEY are ‘uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudice’. Well, emotions at least, because they don’t know you. They don’t care about how you’re struggling, since EVERYONE is. And it’s not their problem. Remember, nobody cares about your shit as much as you do. But personal prejudice? Sure they’re influenced by it…you with the attitude that you’re perfect? They know your kind.
You come in bitching about how the other party is a psycho, YOU are the best freaking parent on the planet and THEY are the problem? I have news for you. Guess who just lost their ‘case’ before it began? YOU DID.
So how do we fix this friends? We start looking at this from the DECISION-MAKER perspective….NOT our own.
I realize this blog sounds harsh and I DO want to be a source for positivity and I DON’T want to burst your bubble of hope by saying no one cares and you just have to deal with it. I am saying the sooner you come to grips with looking at things the way OTHERS see it, ALONGSIDE your own perspective, you’ll be in a much better place. “BM is being a bitch. She never leaves us alone.” Well, those are her children too. Don’t you worry for them when they are in someone else’s care, just as a NATURAL worry for the life you’re taking responsibility for? So does BM. And she may very well be messing up your ‘bonding’ time, but instead of immediately freaking out about it……think about WHY that may be and how YOU can alter it or perhaps ease her concerns.
I DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE FOR HER!
No, you don’t, but if you want to climb up out of your misery well, you need to change YOU for YOU, which WILL affect others.
And BMs, take it easy on us. We are still learning. And while I recognize it may feel like we are using YOUR precious angels as guinea pigs in our learning curve , we are just doing our best. Heh see what I did there SMs?? BM has a point there!
SM, you say you’re dealing with a BM who is basically absent. They don’t do their share, they ruin EVERYTHING and they don’t parent to YOUR standard. Yet, they walk around like they are LITERALLY mother of the year. Yes, I know the type. But recognize 2 things: First, no one expects them to parent to YOUR standard. NO ONE, but you and perhaps your husband. Not the teachers. Not the coaches. And CERTAINLY not the judges. They expect her to parent to the STATE standard, remember? Often times, as I have said before, these women who are absent are right fighters. They feel you trampling on their rights and so they fight you. Stop fighting them. Encourage them, DON’T patronize them, just look at it from their perspective. Some chick is now with their ex and has decided she is going to come in and tell them how to parent. Can you actually imagine for a second how bad that SUCKS? Even IF they are the worst mom on the planet, that still sucks. And you fall right into the trap of doing the same thing and expecting different results.
TRY SOMETHING NEW. TRY LOOKING AT IT FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW. She doesn’t HAVE to be an absent or bitchy BM for you to do this. I suggest you do it in ALL cases.
WHY SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT HER?! SHE ISN’T WORRIED ABOUT US!
You know what, maybe you’re right, but I have a trick for you. You ready? When you start looking at it from the perspective of those who make the decisions, who have ZERO emotional attachment to your case whatsoever….without even realizing it you force yourself to see how this looks from the outside. And eventually that turns into how this looks to BM/SM/DH. How this looks to the CHILDREN.
You know what I love about my naysayers? You can’t see the forest through the trees. You are SO entrenched in your OWN circumstance that NO ONE can tell you to look at it objectively, THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE PERSPECTIVE! THERE IS ONLY MY PERSPECTIVE! God love you guys. I was you once. I felt the same. Anyone with HALF A BRAIN would see it MY way – would know MY WAY is the ONLY WAY for the LOVE OF GOD HOW CAN EVERYONE ELSE BE SO STUPID! WE WILL NEVER LIKE EACH OTHER! SHE IS CRAZY!
Yep. I know. And I love you for it. Because when the day comes where you’re over here on this side of the fence with me, you will feel the same way about the other people who are still SO ANGRY AND BITTER. You will come to realize that while you may never like each the other party and she may be ‘crazy’, you can proceed without worrying about her. You will want to reach your hand out and help the people coming after you climb the fence too. And they are mad! And you don’t GET IT! And you don’t know what they DID!
Yes I do 🙂 But they are still an adult in the child’s life who cares. They may not be trying or doing by YOUR standard but there are 3 sides to every story friends. Theirs. Yours. And the truth.
Start seeking the TRUTH in every situation. Not YOUR version of it. Not THEIR version of it. The truth as a whole. You know how the truth is FINALLY exposed? Examining – OBJECTIVELY – all angles of the issue. That’s it. That’s my secret. I can be positive because I changed the way I looked at things. You don’t have to be best friends, you don’t have to like one another, and you don’t have to get ANY feedback or growth from the other end. In fact, she may continue to hate you. She may continue to make destructive decisions. You can bet your ass I will keep that child safe, and I haven’t forgotten what I went through to get here. I just did some work ON ME, FOR ME. Because it really doesn’t matter what SHE does or does NOT do. I take to the OUTSIDE picture here, what this looks like as a whole to someone with ZERO attachment or investment in our situation. And lo and behold! It’s positively affected every life I touch but mostly MY OWN.
You want the truth to be exposed? Go find it yourself FIRST. I know it’s so hard! And kids are hurting and you don’t know how to fix it. I’ll tell you how. FIX YOU. Seek the truth – ALL of it, not just what YOU believe. You think you know it, you think you’re in a good place, but if you’re still sitting, riddled with anxiety and hatred, it’s because YOU are not at peace with yourself, which is what will ultimately expose the truth. You are seeing things from inside your OWN heart and the pit of your OWN soul, NOT from where it will most benefit all parties involved – the perspective of the outsider who sees EVERY SIDE OF THE STORY. I promised you the truth would come out ONE DAY, but until you get a handle on the truth as a WHOLE, from every angle INCLUDING THEIRS, you can’t expose it. And you certainly won’t grow into the incredible person God has put you here to be.
Now get to work on your perspective. Because it sucks.