Hi Sister SMOMS,
There are so many things that we can’t control in our worlds. I don’t think women with single, unblended families, can really understand the depth of feelings activated by difficult stepkids, hostile bio-moms and sweethearts suffering from divorce guilt or father fears. There’s a lot of pain and anger out there caused by people and situations that we didn’t create or cause. Our mere presence makes us a target. I wrote this essay one night several years ago, when I had run out of creative ideas and could think of nothing positive about my situation. Then this movie came on again, late one night and I was rejuvenated.
Not sure if it will have that same impact on you all. But wanted to offer it up in case you haven’t read it or need a boost. Sometimes we’re not in a place for a boost. I get that. I’ve been there. No need to read this if you’re not in the mood for Rah, rah. Do something really sweet for yourself. It’ll be in the Smommentary section forever, even when i comes off this BB. No pressure-ever. Cathryn
SMOMS ARE LIKE THE 1980 USA HOCKEY TEAM!
If you haven’t seen the Movie, “Miracle” I highly recommend it. It’s the true story of the 1980 USA Hockey Team and the quest for the Gold Metal at the 1980 Olympics. I’m a sucker for a good underdog movie. Over the years Hoosiers, Rocky, Remember the Titans and recently Seabiscuit have all infused me with hope, energy and the belief that the “good guy” can achieve their goals.
In a nutshell, this movie is about a Coach (Herb Brooks) who believes a group of individuals can work together to beat the Soviet Team. The Soviet team was considered the best team in the world. The USA team, made of young hockey players from around the country, came together with common goal to beat the Soviets and Win a Gold Metal. In spite of being considered long shots and underdogs by the sports world, they trained and practiced for a grueling seven months with their attention on this shared goal.
When Coach Brooks was interviewed for the job, he explained that he believed the only way the USA could beat the Soviets was to change the way they played. He was told that beating the Soviets was “a pretty lofty goal” and without missing a beat heat replied, “That’s why I want to pursue it.”
At this point, I was hooked. The soundtrack, the excellent dialogue and the intense training and game sequences haunted me but I couldn’t put my finger why. We watched the team train and build muscles they didn’t know they had. We see them play the Soviets in an exhibition game, three days before the Olympics and saw them get smushed 10-3. The Soviets were skilled to a level at which no other team could compete and they possessed a belief that they were unbeatable. Once the Olympics began, we watched the USA Team come together and win enough games to qualify for the semi-final round where they now have to play the Soviets in order to keep their dreams alive. (Yiikes!) The USA Team members realize that all their efforts come down to this one game.
Right before this game, the locker room mood is somber and the team is waiting for their coach. Coach Brooks comes into the locker room and gives a short pep talk. I will quote his speech verbatim.
“Great Moments are born from great opportunities…and that’s what you have here tonight boys…that’s what you’ve earned here tonight. One game…If we played ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game. Not tonight. Tonight we skate with ’em. Tonight we stay with ’em and we shut them down…because we can! Tonight WE are the greatest hockey team in the world.
You were born to be hockey players…everyone one of you. You were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. I’m sick and tired hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw ’em. This is your time…Now go there and take it.”
End of Speech. The music starts up.
The Team looks at each other and everyone heads for the ice. The USA Team, dressed in red, white and blue make their way to the rink with looks of solid determination on their faces. As the team skates out onto the ice, we now see the Soviets (big, bad scary guys) in their Red uniforms and piercing stares. Throughout the game, the USA team gets hit over and over and over again. The Refs don’t seem to call the Soviet penalties. It doesn’t seem fair. Our team rallies again and again. They concentrate, support each other and hold tight to their goal while the Soviets do everything they can to destroy the USA Team. The rest of the movie is history. The USA team wins 4-3 and goes on to beat Finland and wins the Gold Metal. They were able to win by refusing to be defeated by the Soviets tactics. They were willing to work harder than ever before and, when it came down to it, were more skilled than the Soviets. Can you see the analogy I am about to explain?
The second or third time I watched this scene, it hit me. We Smoms are like the 1980 USA Hockey Team. The hostile bio-moms (not the kind or civil bio-moms) are like the big, bad Soviets. Our lofty goal is to have a Happy Life with the men we love and the children they bring into our lives. Like the USA Hockey Team of 1980, we are going to have to “beat” the hostile bio-moms with training, skills, focus and determination. We need to reclaim our power (our ability and willingness to act) and re-invigorate our belief that we can achieve our goal, in spite of whatever the hostile bio-moms throw at us.
We need to leave behind feeling like victims of the hostile bio-moms and their tactics and bring more skills and improved conditioning into our daily lives so we can compete and win our own gold metal…A Happy Life. We can no longer put our dreams in the hands of someone else. Like the Soviets, there is nothing in it for the hostile bio-moms to make it easy for Smoms. To varying degrees, and often in spite of our efforts to become allies, many hostile bio-moms seem to see us as their enemy, their competition. We can no longer wait for them to back-off, give in, grow-up or propose a peace treaty. We have to be stronger, wiser, more aware, more adult and more skilled so that whatever they bring to this game of life, our strategy and goal will prevail.
Throughout the movie, there are many good quotes also applicable to our situation. In his attempt to motivate the team Coach Brooks makes the following statements. The parenthesis are mine.
“I can’t promise you we’ll be the best team but we will be the best conditioned team. We will grow through pain. We’ll train every minute of every day. (Sounds like a Smoms life.)
“This cannot be a team of common men. Common men go nowhere. You have to be uncommon.” (We Smoms are uncommon women, don’t you agree?)
“The only way we can win is if we change the way we play.”
“Their main weapon is intimidation. They know they are going to win and so do their opponents. The rest of the world is afraid of them…we won’t be. No one has ever worked hard enough to skate with the Soviets (Hostile bio-moms) for the entire game (life). Gentleman (Smoms), we will work hard enough.”
Ladies…Sister-Smoms, I know we have all been through a lot. The bond we share is an understanding and compassion for the pain and anger we have experienced in our individual quests for a happy life and a civil (or better) relationship with our stepkids and their bio-moms. Most of us have found (or founded) Stepmoms on a Mission as a result of the need and the desire to deal with the impact of a hostile bio-mom and/or her kids. They are our Soviet Team and the movie “Miracle” has inspired and fueled my optimism that we CAN beat them and achieve our Happy Life Goal.
Most of us have felt the rage of being out of control of any number of things that impact us directly. We have felt left out, ignored, disrespected and lower on our husband’s priority list than we’d like. It’s been months or years of trying to figure out the right thing to do to get everyone to get along…but still the hostile bio-moms find the need to act as they do. The causes of our rage and anger may be different but underneath the anger is usually a broken or bruised heart. We’ve been hurt and angered so many times over so many things. The depth of pain and anger, for many of us is greater than we have ever felt before. In spite of all the things our husbands, our stepkids and their bio-moms have thrown at us, there’s something we Smoms have that keeps us “in the game.” I believe that “something” is the deep down courage, talent and Spirit and Heart needed to achieve our dreams.
Being a Stepmother, with a hostile bio-mom, can often lead us down the road of martyrhood leaving us feeling unappreciated and misunderstood and resulting is un-loving feelings and actions. (Been there, done that.) It can also be tempting (or a survival strategy) to numb ourselves with self-pity, judgment and blame. (Guilty again.) However, we do not have to take these hurtful emotional anesthetics or feel defeated by the big bad bio-moms. We need to be more conscious of what we’re feeling and recognize what we’re doing so we can make new choices to be wiser, braver and continually willing to process our feelings. (Tall order I know, but more productive than other options.)
Sadly for some of us, “the Happy Family” dream has had to shift and change because the impact and influence of the hostile bio-mom is too strong, too painful and unhealthy for our well-being. It takes courage to acknowledge if this is the case in our lives. But once we have tried everything we can and still they will not become an ally in the raising of their kids, it’s time to step back and accept “what is.” It’s very important to process the grief and sorrow that comes with the realization that someone else has so much negative impact on us so we can let go of the old dream and the pain that hanging on causes us.
At the end of the movie, once the USA Team was ahead 4-3, the Coach kept shouting, “Play your game! Play your game!” For me that means that we don’t have to stoop or lower ourselves by retaliating or behaving in childish, adolescent or unloving ways (an understandable urge) in reaction to whatever the hostile bio-moms do to us. “Grace and Poise!” Coach Brooks says to his team as they have three minutes left in the game and are feeling the strength of their near accomplishment. I want to believe there’s a way we can grow and heal and change so that we compromise on NOTHING that’s important to us and create the freedom to become everything we wish for ourselves.
This new goal may look a bit different than we thought at the beginning of this journey. It may mean that we will be stretched and challenged in ways we could never imagine. It may mean that we have to heal from the wounds we have sustained so we can become stronger and stronger. It definitely means we need to practice the “Four Agreements” and not take anything personally, while we do our best every day. As we can stay grounded in our own goodness, truth and beauty, we can create a new dream. One that reframes how we define and then achieve the goal of “a happy life.” Take a look at this movie and see if any of this makes as much sense to you as it does to me.
While on the BB:
Thanks for sharing this Cathryn, I enjoyed reading it.
Thaaanks for sharing. Reminds me of a similar movie called “Best of the Best” only it’s about Karate. ￼