There are moments when I can literally see my family falling apart. I can see my life as it is now vanish into something unrecognizable. These moments seem to be growing to a more frequent pace and I cannot seem to stop it. I am doing everything I know to mend the wounds which keep me in pain…I try to be the best wife I can with what I have…I want so badly to be a good mother, step mother, daughter and person. I feel more and more as though these attempts are futile.

Something happens to my marriage, to my household, to my family each and every time there is any kind of conflict with my husband’s ex wife. They were married less than a year and were only married due to her becoming pregnant. And yet that short lived relationship will forever be a thorn in our otherwise normal marriage.

These conflicts are growing to be at least once a week. And with each phone call or driveway disagreement, my anxiety increases, my anger explodes and my tolerance is lowered. I simply cannot take it anymore. When these things happen, Charlie goes into automatic defense mode and he seems to forget who is REALLY causing the problems. He has to put up with it because HE made the error of impregnating a complete lunatic. But, I did not. Yes, I chose to marry him. But clearly you have no clue what is in store when people you do not know are involved.

His ex lets their daughter sign up for anything and everything she wants. She is merely ten and already involved with Peer Mediation, Girl Scouts, Choir, Chorale and Clarinet. And now she is asking to enter Pom-Poms. They do not get home from school until 4:30. And she already is not getting nearly enough sleep. Choir and chorale are in the morning before school. She needs to be there at 8am twice a week. When her mother signed her up, my husband informed her that we would not be able to bring her. She promised she would. This is the second week and last night she called yelling at him for not helping. She said she couldn’t take her and that he needed to have me do it. I explained at the beginning of the year that I would not be able or willing to do this. I believe she is only 10 and needs downtime and time to play. I do not believe in over scheduling children and having them in a million different activities. I feel strongly against it, actually. There is nothing wrong with say girl scouts and band. More than 2 activities and I think it is causing a shit storm of problems.

Cassidy (and Kenzie too) sleeps until 7:30 on a typical day without being woken up. Children their age are suppose to get at least 10-12  hours of sleep a night. I will not wake up Cassidy early to get her ready so I can drive Kenzie all the way out to her school only to return to get Cassidy off on the bus. Its stupid and I won’t do it. Kenzie already has to wake up early twice a week to get dropped off from her mother’s. It is very obvious she does not get the sleep she needs as it is.

Point is, I am not going to go out of my way and disrupt our lives to do something I do not agree with…especially for a person who has used and abused me for years.

So last night on the phone he was telling her that he “didn’t want to ask me” to take her. But he didn’t really say why or put his foot down like I thought he should. He did tell her she never should have signed her up or told Kenzie she could go. But in my belief, he never really says what REALLY needs to be said. He still acts fearful of her in a way and it makes me nauseated.

So, it came down to Kenzie not being able to go…but in the ex’s head I know it is my fault. And because of that…it will also be in my step daughter’s head. When she was on the phone with her mom, her mom kept asking her, “I don’t understand why Heather can’t take you. I live across town, can’t she help out?”  Are you fucking serious? I have been “helping out” aka “doing everything” for 9 years.

Last night when she learned she wasn’t going to be able to go this morning, she had a melt down. This kid is so spoiled that she cannot take no for an answer to save her life. I tell Cassidy I cannot afford something or that she cannot go some place and she is fine with it. She is SIX. Yet at 10, Kenzie will cry and beg and act as though she is dying. When I was a kid I could barely do anything extra. We had NO money and my parents (or just mom when she was single) worked at 6am every day. Not only could I not be in extracurricular activities, but I also had to get myself ready and off to school on my own. This kid has no idea how good she has it. She demands clothes from Justice. If she is told she cannot do something she has a breakdown. And then her mom acts as though this poor abused child is a 2 year old who needs to be coddled. In fact, she made Charlie tell her that she couldnt go today. She would not do it…she refused to take responsibility. So, as always, we are the bad parents. And one more thing, her mother doesn’t even have to work until 10am today. If it was sooo important and soooo necessary…why exactly COULDN’T she bring her?? It is all too sickening for me.

Mackenzie is a good kid and a good student. She deserves fun, extra things when they are possible. But when they are not, she needs to learn to be more gracious, thankful and act her damn age. She is either treated like a baby or an adult when it comes to her mother. There is no middle ground. And it is fucking her up and setting her up for a world of hurt. Her mother has the same sense of entitlement and is a big reason why SHE is so fucked up. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to sit here and be audience to this shit?

I feel as though I am slowly losing my mother – a whole other story I am not ready to discuss. I feel I am even less slowly losing my marriage. I am so overwhelmed and stressed that I am no where near the mother I want to and should be. I have so much anger and resentment that I make a terrible wife much of the time. Some days can be quiet and calm and full of contentment…those days make me feel it is all worth it. But the rest of the times make me feel as though I am looking for an escape hatch. I do not want to feel that way anymore. I am working on it. But I am not sure how much my working on it can actually help or change anything.

So as it stands now…Kenzie is over it. Wasn’t upset in the least this morning. And Charlie and I went to sleep after telling each other we were falling out of love with the other. He now says they were words out of anger in an arguement…but I am not so sure. Especially since we are STILL at odds and I am still so very sad.


3 thoughts on “Grasping for a Solution

  1. I think you and your husband *really* need to get some stepfamily counselling to help you both (but especially him) work out strategies to prevent the ex destabilising your household and marriage with her dramas. Even if your husband won’t go, you might find it helpful to go yourself. In a stepfamily (especially with a psycho ex-wife), your sanity and your relationship need all the support they can get!

    The kind of fearful, defensive response your describe in your husband in response to the exes’ anger is often the result of emotional abuse from the ex. I should know – my own partner bears the scars of similar emotional abuse. And it often filters down to the kids, and impacts on a father’s ability to set reasonable boundaries or actively parent, as opposed to just “kid-pleasing”.

    The ex sounds totally all over the place, very manipulative and controlling. No wonder you are struggling. Stay strong on your very reasonable boundary about not driving your SD to the excessive activities. You told them ahead of time; her disappointment is the consequence of her parents’ decisions, not yours.

    The exes’ anger is NOT your fault. She would find something to be angry about whatever you did. You are NOT responsible, whatever your husband may think in his “panicky-keep-the-ex-happy-at-all-costs” mode.

    And, please, stop giving yourself such a hard time about being a better/perfect mother/stepmother. Being self-critical just makes it harder to be the person we aspire to be. Give yourself a break; you are doing an incredibly tough job in the face of multiple extra stressors.

    Hang in there, get support, and be kind to yourself.

    Thinking of you.

    1. Much of what you say rings very true. It has been such a difficult road. I can only hope the stress will decrease at some point. I really appreciate your kind words and know they are not taken for granted 🙂 Thank you!!

  2. Heavy stuff. Kids are pretty tough, but if you set down rules, they actually will respect that. Maybe not at first, but for too many parents they think the best way to keep peace is by being their kids’ friend…IMO, not good at all. Marriage is tough too. Takes way more work than many think. Take the high road, stay strong and avoid insults. It’s tough, but you’ll get through it.

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