To My Future StepMom,
My parents are divorced and I am totally pissed about it. I don’t actually know this right now, and won’t realize it until I am in my mid twenties, but trust me, I am freaking pissed.
So you over there. Yes you, the one who thinks she’s falling in love with my dad, I need you to know, that in my mind, you are an uninvited guest.
I don’t want you here. Even though I tell everyone that I am okay and that I don’t care about the divorce, I just want my mom and dad back together! Unfortunately for you, you may or may not get the brunt of this anger. Because like I just said, I don’t want you here.
Before you get upset, you need to know, that this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
But because I know that I don’t have any choice in this matter, just like I didn’t have any choice when they told me our family was going to be ripped apart, I’m going to give you a few pieces of advice. Follow them, it will make things easier on all of us.
Number one, please don’t sit in my seat at the kitchen table, or the couch, or interfere with any type of traditions we have going here. I’ve been through enough change, and feeling like someone is invading my space or trying to switch things up will really set me off.
Number two, please don’t wear my dads shirt and/or boxers around the house on Saturday mornings. At least for a while. I know you think it is cute. And in a normal relationship it usually is, but it just bugs me. Please bring your own clothes!
I know you are just smitten with my dad, I can tell by the way you’re constantly staring at him and giggling when he speaks. I don’t like to admit this, but I know you make him happy too. He is smiling like I haven’t seen him smile in a long time. But please, just please, can you not be all over him when I am around? I am just getting used to the fact that my parents aren’t together, so seeing another woman grope my dad makes me sick to my stomach, literally.
Oh and if you happen to have kids, and you’re around for a holiday weekend such as Easter or Christmas, or any other time when there are presents, please please please makes sure you treat us the same as you treat your kids. I understand we are not your responsibility, but you need to understand that my dad is new at this holiday stuff. My mom used to organize it all. So when your kids get certain things that we don’t get, it’s makes us feel like even more of an outsider than we already do. If you don’t treat us all the same, I promise you we will remember the pains of jealousy and pits in our stomach for many years to come. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is.
Respect us, include us, don’t make us feel like you’re taking our dad away from us. We may not always want to come along with you guys, because we may be in a mood, bitter, mad or we may just want to hang out with friends. But we still want to know we’re invited.
And please don’t talk bad about our Mom to us. Whether or not she has done wrong, or in your mind isn’t being a very good parent, you need to remember she is our Mom and we love her. When you insult her, it feels like you’re insulting us! No matter what, we are a part of her!
Most importantly, please always remember that my siblings and I did not ask for this.
We did not ask for our parents to break up.
We did not ask for two different houses with two different sets of belongings.
We did not ask for those awkward moments outside of the hockey arena or at school events, when are parents are standing at two different sides of the room, and we don’t know who to go to first.
We did not ask for an “access schedule”, or to have to be “shared equally” on holiday weekends, and we certainly did not ask for another parental figure to come into our life.
Follow our lead. We will tell you how comfortable we are with this transition. Be patient with us. Give us time.
I know that’s not entirely fair to you. Because this is your relationship and your life too… but remember when you signed up to date (and potentially marry) my dad, you signed up for us too. And at the end of the day, you’re an adult and your brain can attempt to process and digest all the change, controversy and transition… we are just kids, our brains don’t work like that and we’ve had to deal with so much already.
Maybe, if you do all of these things, we will like you. Or maybe we won’t. And if we don’t, there is a very good chance that it’s not your fault. There is a very good chance that no matter what you do, no matter how good you treat us, we won’t like you because we aren’t ready for you and don’t want you around. We want our parents together. Don’t take it personally! It’s just the way it is.
From My 12 Year Old Self
Note: I wrote this letter by combining memories from my childhood, my experiences as a StepMom and experience working in child protection. It is not necessarily a reflection of my childhood, it is more a reflection of everything I have learned through the years (including my experiences as a child)