Becoming the other woman…

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As the date on which I will officially become a stepmother looms on the horizon, I find myself interested in finding others out there who are doing what I am doing, marrying men who were either coupled up or married before and have a child or children that they are bringing with them into their new marriage. And through some clicking of links on many of the mommy blogs that I read with the fervor of a woman who is going to pop out a child tomorrow (even though that will have to wait until at least nine months after our wedding), I have found several that I am reading and enjoying and learning from.

This is a weird transition for me because I have been a pseudo-stepmom for 6+ years now. I have made it through all of the initial stuff of meeting the kids and meeting the ex and developing a relationship with the stepkids’ extended family and learning how to share holidays and picnics and communion parties and birthdays and baseball games. However, I have done this from the relative safety of my apartment, and then my parents’ house. I never lived with Bill, and I never lived with CC#1 and CC#2 on the weekends.

Now, I have lived here in our home for a little over a month now, and I still haven’t spent a weekend with the other three members of my household. First, CC#1 and CC#2 were off to the beach with their mom and then to various sports camps. Then, this past weekend, they were here, but I was away, visiting my sister for the weekend (and buying lots of make up and shoes). It’s like we are ships passing in the night, seeing evidence of each other all around and yet never actually seeing each other.

I am one of the lucky ones. When I read the blogs of other stepmoms, I hear all sorts of stories about how their stepkids’ evil moms are running and ruining their lives. I have never had this problem with Bill’s ex. In fact, she and I might even get along a little too well for the comfort of many people who can’t let go of that idea of what kind of relationship a mom and a stepmom should share. It’s a tangled web, but it works for us. We share the same circle of friends and often find ourselves side-by-side at picnics and parties, sharing wine and conversation. When one of us has a birthday party, the other is at it. When we attend sporting events for CC#1 and CC#2 , we sit next to each other and keep up a steady stream of chatter from the first pitch to the final basket. We have, on occasion, gone out together for a night of drinks and dancing, and we have even attended dinner parties at each others’ homes. We have a respect for one another that I find myself being thankful for as I read about some of the less happy relationships out there between the old wives and the new wives.

Sure, there are things that we might not agree on. However, I try to pay attention to the rules she enforces in her home and enforce the same rules in mine. I try to think about what their mom would say about something if CC#1 or CC#2 asks me for something that I know their mom would not approve of. And when I arrive at a party or picnic and see her sitting across the room, I am happy to go up and greet someone who is not just my fiance’s ex-girlfriend. She’s a part of my life, and I am happy that we can make the most of it.

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