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Am I right or wrong?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Elle and Zed spent this last weekend with their dad. When they got home Sunday night, they unpacked their bags, putting dirty clothes away. I was watching the Academy Awards and knitting. Elle came out from her room and handed me a photo book. Evidently, her dad bought this photobook for her and gave her pictures to put in it. I was flipping through, looking at times my kids had spent with their dad and my ex-in-laws. Then, there she was. A smiling, happy photo of my daughter and his girlfriend. My heart sank and I wanted to cry. Why had he included that photo? Ditto in my son's photobook that he brought out. Now, I know that she is there when my kids are sometimes. She's there when I drop them off, or I hear her stupid yippy dog in the background when my kids call me about something. But why does there have to be a picture of her in my kids stuff? I wouldn't send a picture of the kids and Nick to their dad's house. My ex-father-in-law doesn't have pictures of his ex-wife at his house with his new wife. So, when I talked to their dad on Monday, reminding them of the school care location change during Spring Break, I told him I thought that was rather insensitive of him. He said the kids picked the pictures. I know she's probably going to end up being a permanent part of my ex's life and by extension my kids' life, just like Nick is part of ours now, but like I said, I'm not sending family photos of us with them when they go visit their dad. Am I being hyper-sensitive?
By overwhelming majority, it is evident that I am being a big baby. I figured as much, which is why I asked. I must now apologize for being a jealous mom and a big whiner. I can rarely admit when I'm wrong, and I will do so. I just don't like it that my babies are so happy to see her and I'm just a sidenote to them at this point. I make the rules and enforce the rules. I make them do chores and homework and this girl takes my daughter for manicures and pedicures. You would have been disappointed in me when I wanted to chew her out for changing my baby girl's earrings. Big deal! I know, but these are my babies. And no, I don't think their dad has the right to feel the same way about Nick...their dad made the choice to walk out on his kids. Ooops. There I go...petty again. So I'm not perfect...who knew?

3/08/2006 01:16:00 PM :: ::
18 Comments:
  • Yeah, I think you kind of are. Especially if the kids picked the photos.

    Judging by the "stupid yippy dog" part of your post, sounds like there's still a lot of resentment of her being part of your ex's life - even though I would assume you would agree he has a right to move on... right?

    Did the ex put the photos in the album to deliberately hurt you? No. Did the kids? Of course not. So who's being insensitive here?

    Ultimately, look at it from the kids' point of view. They have to know there are two families now and they have to learn to belong to both - and that means learning to like the new girlfriend, or at least get along with her. Wouldn't you rather they like her and get along with her than dislike her? Which is a better situation for the kids?

    I know it has to be hard on you, but there are situations where you have to step outside of yourself and your pain and accept things for how they're going to be...

    By Blogger Barry, at 3/08/2006 02:14:00 PM

     


  • Ouch. I think it hurts because you're their MOM. You've always been there for them, from the very beginning, and you held them together through this divorce as well.
    As moms, we don't easily allow other women to assume the role of mom where our kids are concerned. It's not our nature to do so.

    And yet, (don't get mad at me now)
    (please!)... just as Nick is now a part of their lives, so will this other woman become another part.

    I don't really know what your ex's intention was, but I can't help thinking that this photo book is a step toward helping your kids realize that they now have two sets of parents to take care of them.

    And for their own sake, it's better that they find some peace of mind in this. They need to know that they have your approval of her when they go visit their dad, instead of mentally having to deal with your discomfort where the other woman is concerned. As long as she's not abusive to them, I'd let it slide.
    She'll never replace you, Lass. You were "first". ;)

    By Anonymous Laura, at 3/08/2006 02:34:00 PM

     


  • That's a tough one. You know you'll never be replaced right?? She couldn't be nearly as cool as you. I'm sure it hurts, and whether the kids picked the pictures or not, we'll never know for sure. Just a small bump in the road.

    By Blogger Carnealian, at 3/08/2006 02:58:00 PM

     


  • I agree with all three of the previous commenters. Everything will be ok... the kids need to feel comfortable at your place and at their dad's, and confortable with the people you two have chosen for partners. Let it pass.

    By Blogger Texas_Ivy10, at 3/08/2006 03:39:00 PM

     


  • Rather than make a lengthy comment, I'll just second Laura's. She makes some good points.

    By Blogger FTS, at 3/08/2006 03:47:00 PM

     


  • I know you might not like hearing it from "the other woman's side", but it has been hurtful to me that my husband's ex does not acknowledge our marriage as valid when it comes to custody of the child involved. Her exact words were, "Just because you decided to get married does not mean the child's life has to change" when denying our requests that visitations be altered to accomodate our new family.

    I can assure you that our request to spend time with the child as a couple rather having to separate one weekend a month was not intended as any kind of personal insult or manipulation - we just wanted to the child to participate in our new family. My husband wanted to share his life with his child, and I am part of that life now. But that is not how she chooses to take it. Instead, there was a lot of blame and hurt.

    I know that it is not in your personality to assume without some basis of fact, so it is likely I don't know the whole story, but just from the other woman's side...perhaps she does not mean it that way (and he doesn't). Maybe they would just like to spend time together, and if he is a good dad, he might want to share these parts of his life with his kids.

    Hope maybe that helps a little? I can certainly see why it would hurt. I am keeping you guys in my prayers.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/08/2006 03:59:00 PM

     


  • I can't really add to what has been said here. I am from the flip side: I am the step mom. I met my hubby when the Vile Teenager was 3. For the first 5 years we were together, we never got an overnight visit or holiday, school program or invite to birthday, etc. We don’t even have school pictures except for the year she stayed with us while her bio-mom was on a cruse and the last two years she has lived with us. It has been very hard for my hubby.

    I commend that you are willing to let the kids go and be a part of his life. Too many women don't. As for your feelings, I think they are perfectly reasonable considering.

    Probably the hardest part is seeing them warm to this other woman. I know that as their mother, you are the disciplinary, rule maker, homework overseer, etc. He gets to do the fun stuff on weekends. However, that doesn’t mean they will pick her over you. You are always going to be their mom. They will respect you more later if you accept this woman now and don’t make them uncomfortable for enjoying her company. Sorry if that doesn’t help at all but I don’t think you are being a baby. Your emotions are normal. You just need to put on a happy face in front of those kiddos.

    By Blogger used*to*be*me*, at 3/08/2006 04:26:00 PM

     


  • Oh what a bunch of bullshit.

    You are all missing the point. It was inappropriate for him to do that. In bad taste. Even if the kids did pick out that photo, as the adult he should have said no.

    I have friends who are divorced and dated divorced people and at no time did any of their kids have pics of the ex with their new spouse or current squeeze.

    And for those of you who don't know what his intention was or think that it was something other than being an asshole, I have a pudding farm I'd like to sell you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/08/2006 04:47:00 PM

     


  • I actually have a good relationship now with my ex-husband's wife. She came to me at a very early stage and told me that whilst she was my ex's wife she would never try to be my daughter's mom.. that was my roll and always will be. They now have children of their own and whilst she often comes home from vacations with pictures of her hanging out with her step-sisters and her father.. there are NEVER pictures of her with his wife.

    Despite this I do sympathise... I think he's been insensitive... but perhaps you are being a little over sensitive... Try to be a good sport... if you react badly to this the children with go to the father's place with a negative attitude... and is that what you really want?

    By Anonymous Carol-anne, at 3/08/2006 04:57:00 PM

     


  • I would certainly acknowledge that there is another woman with their dad who is a part of their lives, but I do agree that including their pictures in a photo book to bring home is a bit hard to take. Maybe it's just because I can relate to how that must've hurt to flip through and find the photos. Although, you do say that the kids picked out the pics which softens it a bit.

    Like others have said, you have to look at it from the kids' point of view.

    Those who have "gone before" are better advisors at this kind of stuff, as I've never been on either side.

    By Anonymous abbynormal, at 3/08/2006 05:00:00 PM

     


  • heyy, I just read your update. I wanted you to know that I was thinking about this post later in the day for some reason... it just popped up in my head. I think it took courage to write a post like this one. You were able to say what I'll bet a lot of parents feel when they go through the same thing.

    By Anonymous Laura, at 3/08/2006 09:28:00 PM

     


  • The only comment I can give is that kids are smart. Despite pedicures and manicures and special treats, they know who is there when they her. You might have to administer the discipline, and they may complain about it. But they wouldn't have it any other way. Take the high road, and regardless of what goes on now, "when push comes to shove" YOU are the one they know they can count on.

    By Blogger Carol, at 3/08/2006 10:55:00 PM

     


  • Your not being a big whiner. You were simply expressing your feelings. We all need to vent somehow.

    She is part of their life now, just as Nick is, and I'm sure you accept that. but you don't need to see a picture of her with your daughter just to be reminded of it.

    By Blogger The Toothfairy, at 3/09/2006 04:46:00 AM

     


  • I haven't posted before and only came by searching for the Thursday Thirteen but I would like to share something if that's OK:

    Don't ever think that you have to apologise for the way you feel. Believe it or not you are completely free not to like this other woman if you don't want to. You don't have to like her sharing in your children's lives and you certainly don't have to like seeing her in a photograph in your children's photo albums. You most certainly should not feel you have to like her or the situation for your children's sakes. They are your feelings and you are perfectly at liberty to explore them and find out why they're there.

    When Barry says: "They have to know there are two families now and they have to learn to belong to both" he is completely right. But...You didn't chose this situation and it wasn't of your making. So to suggest you have to be "accepting" of it is crass and insensitive. It's just as important for your children to face the realities of life as it is for you to love and care for them. Divorce is a reality, step-families are a reality, not getting along with everyone is also a reality. That doesn't mean you can't co-operate or be civil and from reading your blog and your entry I can see you are doing that.

    Being honest and truthful with your children will work out better in the long term. Love, compassion and respect are qualities we want to see in our children as they become adults. Being a role-model in how to grit your teeth and be a pragmatist in difficult situations will also be of benefit to them when they enter the grown-up world.

    You're not a whiner. You're a human being and that's nothing to beat yourself up about. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said "no-one can make you feel inferior without your consent". She was a very wise woman.

    By Blogger Elle, at 3/09/2006 07:48:00 AM

     


  • Lass-
    You are only human.
    It makes sense to have feelings such as what you're experiencing.
    I think a bit of distance from the situation should clear some of the clouds away.
    I'd say be proud of your kids, it appears you've taught them quite well.
    I also agree with Laura, you will always be the "first". And you can't change that.

    ~michaelm

    By Blogger michaelm, at 3/09/2006 08:00:00 AM

     


  • Okay, I'm going to give you my opinion even though it will probably be a little bit of a repeat, but let me start by saying you are not being a whiny baby. You have resentment, which is completely understandable. Just think about this, would you want your ex getting mad that your kids picked a picture of Nick to put in their album? You wouldn't want him saying or doing anything that would make them feel uncomfortable about their relationship with the love of your life, would you? (Not saying that she is the love of his life, but he must like her right?) Anyway, just think if the situation was reversed.

    Brian's horrible ex is such a bitter spiteful person she would get mad to see pictures of my kids with Jordan. Not me, my kids. She called them horrible names and made Jordan uncomfortable to even be friends with them. It was a bad time and I still hate her for it. Now I'm uncontrollably, meaning Brian can't control me, rude when she calls and I do everything in my power to make calling my house miserable. Do you want to turn out like me? No. So try to suck it up and put on a happy face and just ignore it. As hard as it may be, try to cope. I'm thinking I might take my own advice.

    By Blogger Jolynn, at 3/09/2006 10:08:00 AM

     


  • Elle,

    I am not crass or insensitive. I'm just saying that there are some things you can live your whole life beating your head against the wall trying to change, but can't change and more importantly shouldn't change. We just have to be able to recognize those situations and don't waste time and effort getting so worked up about them.

    By Blogger Barry, at 3/09/2006 10:32:00 AM

     


  • I don't think you were (are) being a big baby. I'd have been just as upset as you.

    By Blogger Indigo, at 3/09/2006 11:07:00 AM

     


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