Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wicked

First, I must sincerely thank you all for your kind comments, support, and understanding during my bloggy break.  I hope you can forgive my absence.  I will do my best to explain myself in this loooong post (sorry!)
Next,
Disclaimer: this post is very honest and involves my own experiences.  It is not easy to talk about and it’s hard to explain.  It may offend some of you.  Some of you may dislike me after reading it and choose to not come back.  If so, I apologize for offending you but I hope you can understand my side of the story too; I will not apologize for the truth.
The definition of wicked: morally bad in principle or practice.
Several years ago, I read the book, Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, and loved it!  However, at that time, I never knew how much I would someday be able to relate to Elphaba, otherwise known as the Wicked Witch of The West.  She is described as, “a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges all our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.” (Wicked description)  You see, I’m a stepmother. 
When you hear the word stepmother, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?  For many people it’s wicked, witch, evil, nasty, mean . . . the list is endless really.  Let’s be honest, most people do not see, or hear, the word and think love, rainbows, and lollipops.
Well, frankly, I don’t think I’m a wicked or evil person.  In fact, before I became a stepmother, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would describe me as anything but nice, sweet, loving, or loyal.  If anything, I might be described as too accommodating or too nice (I’m not saying I didn’t have my bad days people, no one’s perfect, least of all me). 
Well, out of the blue, last week, just before the bloggy pause, I got a phone call from someone in Todd’s family.  This phone call was very accusatory, very judgy.  Very, you are not a good enough stepmother.  You need to step up and clean up after his mother.  You need to love him like your own.  Like Kaia.  If you loved Todd you would love him.  There was a lot said.  It was like a water hose really.  And by a water hose I mean a lot of cold, strong, water slapping me in the face that kept coming and I couldn’t hardly breathe, let alone talk and defend myself.  Well, then defend myself I tried.  It’s very hard to explain to someone who is not a stepmom what being a stepmom is like. 
Oh, on the surface it seems simple enough, love and be loved.  It won’t be that hard.  You are the grown-up.  The child is suffering.  The outbursts and meanness are justified and understandable, love through it.
You might be a stepchild.  You might have a friend, a sibling, an aunt who is a stepmother or a stepchild.  They might have shared their stories – good or bad.  But, the truth is, stepmothering is hard.  It is not cut and dry.  It is not always as simple as love and be loved.  Every once and awhile it is.  These stepmothers and their stepchildren are lucky.  Or, they are liars.
I’ve been a stepmother for almost two years now.  We have had my stepson here, with us for one summer, and lots of holidays and vacations.  It has never been easy.  It’s never been stress free.  In fact, I get sick, literally sick, with worry before each and every visit, wondering what we will face that particular visit.  There are fights over food – any food that is not peperoni pizza or chicken nuggets – there are full out tantrums at the store – even gas stations – when every whim is not caved to.  There are I hate you’s and I want my Mommy’s (not from us, if you started to wonder).  There is not listening.  Not following rules because, really, who could blame him?  Rules are a foreign concept at the other house.  There are no thank you’s . . . ever.  There’s more but you get the picture.
But, in one summer (and by one summer, I mean about a month and a half because that’s the point I realized there was a problem), before he went to kindergarten, I taught my stepson how to say the alphabet without skipping a couple of letters.  I taught him how to recognize every single letter (he only knew the one’s in his name).  I taught him his phone number and his address.  I made sure he got to go to karate and swim lessons.  I took him to the park and outside to play.  I held his hand.  I made him lunches and dinners.  And, did I mention I gave birth this summer?  To my first baby, too?  My first.  Do you remember what it was like when you had your first baby?
Well, I don’t love him like my own.  He’s not my own.  He never will be.  He has a mother.  She may not raise him like I would.  I may not agree with one thing she does.  But she does love him.  And he loves her.  I do care about him.  I think what I’ve done for him and what I continue to do, should speak for itself.  I do understand that this, the divorce and remarriages, have been hard on him, confusing.
But, please, don’t for one second think that just because I’m the adult, it means it’s not hard on me.  No one likes being told they are hated.  No likes being disrespected and mistreated.  I don’t care if your five or 95.
And please, take your judgments and hang-ups somewhere else.
Then, if you’re still with me, which God Bless you if you are!  If you are a stepmom, a stepchild, or a friend of a stepmom, please, go read Stepmonster.  It really explains the stepmom’s side, through facts and extensive research, much like Wicked, it really might change your preconceived notions about the nature of stepmothers and “good and evil”.   
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15 comments:

Sarah said...

What a good, honest, strong post. The couldn't have been easy to say. I am not a Step-Mom, but I have one. We had a good relationship, but now that I am a adult and a Mother, I see how hard it must have been on her, even though things with us were "good".

He is lucky to have you in his life. Welcome back!

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos said...

sending you love & and an email soon. ♥ xxoo

Elizabeth - Flourish in Progress said...

Lovely Khara, I can't imagine you being anything but loving, kind, gracious, compassionate, good and patient. Todd is an amazingly lucky man to call you his wife, baby Kaia is so lucky to have you as a mama, and that boy is so damn lucky that YOU are his stepmother. He already has a mama and you don't ever feel like you need to step in to take her place because she can't do for him what needs to be done. All you have to be is a kind and loving woman, which you already are, and sometimes, if you can bear it, have some patience too.

Ugh, I am so sad that you got all of that put of you.
Bless you and Merry Christmas.

Kat said...

Khara, what a powerful, raw, honest, real post.

I have been so missing the updates on your life during this pause and my heart just breaks to know that this was what you were going through.

And, I'm not particularly emotional, most of the time I'm a selfish 23 year old who is not yet at the point where children are deeply interesting to me (at least I know this about myself), but I had tears in my eyes reading about how you taught that little boy his alphabet properly and so many other things that he should be learning.

You are one STRONG woman, lady. Keep.your.head.up.

xo
Kat

Mamabear said...

You are doing your VERY BEST. Mothering is hard...stepmothering is a minefield. Just hang in there. Glad you're back :)

Anastasia said...

Yay for being honest about being a stepmom. You know I know how you feel! I have been one for 5 years and it gets easier. She has no rules at her house and we always have to remind her of our rules. I love her. Not the same way as I love my own children but I still love her. And i know that I lose my patience faster with her and I feel bad about it too. I know my husband thinks I favor our girls and maybe I do. I think the key is to make sure you and your husband are a team and eventually you will come to love him. in your own way.
because you love your husband and also because it's kaia's brother.

and screw that person. How dare they wait until you are alone without your husband there to stick up for you and already in a vunerable state to pull that shit on you. They have no right. I will kick them in the teeth.

Trust me, hubs and I still struggle with the step mom thing. And sometimes I think it would be so much easier if he didn't have a daughter already, but then would fate have led him to me after that marriage? And I've come to love her very much. And she is a really great big sister.

Sorry for the rant. Sometimes I feel like my hubs reads to much into things so i haven't been able to talk about it as much on the blog.

I wish there were more step mommy bloggers. right? we should start one.

Selby said...

Very good post. And you are doing the best you can. Thinking of you!

Marisa said...

Wowzers, honey! How could anyone ever judge you for such heartfelt words? You are obviously an AMAZING stepmother, and all I can say for comfort is that even if he doesn't see it now, when this little guy grows up he WILL. And Todd surely does. And whoever phoned you with those nasty words can go jump off a bridge!
That was an amazing post, and good for you for opening up with such raw honesty. This is why we all love you so much. :)

Mrs. Sergeant said...

I'm so sorry someone did that to you. How horrible! From your post it sounds like you are a wonderful Step-Mom. PS. You have a new follower & Merry Christmas!

Wander said...

I found you from SITS. This post is great! I'm not a step-mom and I don't ever plan to be one. I have enough issues with the family I have! hehe!
Just kidding!
I see everyday how complicated blended families are.....it can either make or break you.
Hang in there. God can do so much through you as you STEP parent him.

Ameena said...

It is so hard for me to be a mother so I can only imagine how much harder it must be for you to be a stepmother.

I truly appreciate your honesty in this post...it must have been immensely hard to vocalize your thoughts on this topic.

I agree with Sarah that he is lucky to have you in his life.

I hope you and your family had a fantastic Christmas and wonderful holiday season!

Kelly from City Mom said...

I'm still with you Khara! I only have my own daughter...no step children, but I will take your word for it because I don't imagine it being easy.

I'm sorry someone took out their own issues on you! You hardly seem the person who deserves something like that.

I think you're a strong woman for doing what you do and I say you just keep plugging along and ignore that obviously troubled person!

On a more positive note...merry Christmas to you and your family!

xx

Michele said...

Khara
Thank you and your family for your service to our country - it is truly appreciated.
A small bit of advice - next time hang up - don't listen to the hateful comments or try and respond - they are not worth it!
The very best in 2011.

Anne said...

Oh my gosh, Khara, you are dealing with a lot! I find it difficult to take when my 6 yr old yells that she hates me and I can only imagine how much harder it is to take when your stepson yells it - especially with a brand new baby in tow! - yes, I remember those days. They are HARD. You are doing an awesome job with him. Your post is so raw and honest and that takes a lot of courage. Sending thoughts of strength and hope that things with him get better in the years to come. Glad you're back(:

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) said...

Oh Khara thank you for sharing such an honest and painful story. He may not know it now and you may not feel he ever will, but he is a lucky boy to have you in his life.

You obviously care about him and love him. Being a stepmother does not sound easy especially when you only get him for short periods of time.

I hope things get better. I hope he realizes one day that you taught him a lot.

Being a mother is hard and I can only imagine that being a stepmother is so much harder. Best wishes and hugs to you and your family. :)

 
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