I’ve only been married for 7 months to my amazing husband. He has the biggest, kindest heart I know. However, with that big heart also comes some naivete about how marriage “should be” and how our life “should be” with his children. He was never married to the stepkids bio-mom (thank God) but has two children with her. She is a very emotionally damaged woman and the children suffer greatly. My husband and this woman have been involved in this custody battle since before we got married and sometimes I wish we had waited to get married until this was all over. It consumes a lot of our life and our finances which is difficult for a young couple just starting out. I love the children dearly but I refuse to let their bio-mom run my life. Even though there is an existing court agreement, basically the bio-mom makes up her own rules and nine times out of ten my husband just goes along with it which is fine really.
The issues arises on the holidays usually or some weekends when he has his children. His children live about an hour and a half away and he has them every other weekend. I see the children, as does he, twice a month. The holidays are supposed to be “split” meaning the kids spend half the day on Easter with us and the other half with their mother. That arrangement is annoying to me because it’s’ impractical. It’s a lot of travel to spend four hours with the girls. Sometimes I don’t want to do it because I miss out on spending time with other members of our family. If I say that I won’t be seeing the girls on Easter because there it too much going on, he gets upset and starts with the guilt.
Truthfully, I love the girls but they’re not mine! I do EVERYTHING I can but sometimes I just get burned out and really don’t feel like dealing. The girls are very troubled because of their mother and I try not to take out my frustrations about bio-mom on them, but sometimes it’s just so hard! I never bad mouth their mother or say anything negative but sometimes I feel like the girls should know that they don’t get to spend that much time with us because of their mother!
My husband wants to shield and protect them from everything naturally but it gets so exhausting and I feel like there is a lot of pressure on me! He is my husband and I love him and I’m doing the best I can to support this lifestyle but sometimes I wish he could just understand the position I’m in and respect that at this point in time, I may need some space from all of this once in a while. HELP!
Hi there, I’d like to start out by applauding your tremendous boundaries with bio-mom and for supporting your husband even when he makes decisions that aren’t exactly what you’d do. Your willingness to do that is such a gift to him!!! I also understand why you would have moments (and feelings) about having your life be all about his girls at times when YOU want to feel what you want it Priority 1.
I’m wondering, in the case of the holiday driving, can you have him do it alone with them, so you can stay at home for the day and enjoy your family? Can you stretch out your gracious giving to your husband and give him this gift in a way that let’s him make that choice while you stay home and have some fun?
If you are already doing this, here’s another question, What could he do for you during those times when you do NOT have the girls? What could he give or do for you that would fill you up with so much love, that you could feel truly OK about him insisting on the 50%-50% with his girls? Think about this seriously.
Can you come up with a list of 5-7 things, and write them down so he could pick from the list each time this “annoying” reality reared up? How does this possibility feel to you? Does anything come to mind that would at least make you look forward to some extra special loving attention from your beloved to balance out the annoying reality?
If not, with all of the issues his girls have, is what he’s doing for them bumping up against some feelings about something that was NOT done for you as a child? Does it bring up any fatherhood issues for the little girl YOU used to be? Did your dad make you as much of a priority as your hubby is making for his girls? Whenever there are “hot” feelings about something that happens, it’s always good to check out any unhealed or repressed feelings from the past. They’re not likely to show themselves with bio-kids because of all the other chemistry of motherhood. But when we rear children that are not our own, the stresses and unhealed wounds have no counterbalance so they show themselves. The good news? You can give them your attention now, as a grown up when you have the skills, emotional intelligence and resources to help yourself BEFORE you have children of your own. If you can take advantage of this interim learning and healing time it will make you feel so much better.
With all that you are doing for them, is it time to do less? Have you read my post about Resentment? Could you be a bit burned out trying so hard to make up for what their mother is doing to them? Could you be experiencing a bit of “I’ve been through so much and I’ve reached my generosity of spirit limit right now”?
Could this be a good time to model self-care while the girls are with you so they begin to see more examples of healthy self-respecting choices? Would your Hubby support this? It sounds like you’re doing so many things so right and in such a healthy way (just want to say that again) that if you put your attention on these questions, I bet you’ll feel some niggle or two that will give you a clue about what YOU need.
I sure hope something “Clicks” for you in this reply.
My Best Wishes, Cathryn