I’m a recovering control freak.
This is common for many stepmoms.
I often laugh because I think that life puts us in situations where we learn the lessons we need to learn.
The universe is like “oh you want to be a control freak and have your finger on everything and everyone? Well how about you go fall in love with someone with kids and an ex and see how that goes for you”.
About two years into our marriage, I started to communicate with my husband’s ex about the kids. It was a bit of a roller-coaster. Sometimes it was good. Sometimes it was not.
We’d communicate about everything from school to snow suits to the conflict she and my husband were having. Sometimes we would have words with each other and not speak for a while and then it would bounce back.
The inconsistency in our relationship gave me major anxiety. I became obsessed with what was going on and tried to keep my fingers on EVERYTHING.
When I would get a notification on my phone, I’d get a pit in my stomach. If it was her, my anxiety would skyrocket. Would it be good? Would it be bad? I’d never know.
I’d spend so much time analyzing what was going on.
I want to be clear. This was about me, not about her.
It was about my desire to control and to solve everyone’s problems. I was a high functioning co-pendent to the tee.
Sometimes it was so good that I would feel this sense of relief. We finally had the co-parenting relationship I hoped for.
Then something would happen and things would unravel. I’d feel disappointed, hurt and ashamed.
I wanted to disengage and let my partner take the lead but couldn’t imagine giving up that control.
He wouldn’t say things right, or do things right, or document things right.
I HAD to be involved.
*That’s a lie by the way. That’s an example of the bullshit lies that us control freaks tell ourselves so we can keep being control freaks*
Then one day I couldn’t do it anymore.
The inconsistency was causing me so much stress. I told my husband he had to take over. I was done. I made the commitment to myself and let Jesus take the wheel.
I thought it would drive me crazy, but it’s been pure bliss.
When you’re a stepmom struggling with your relationship, I recommend asking yourself two questions:
1. Is what I am doing working?
2. Is it preventing me from showing up as my best?
In my case, sure it was working to an extent. But if I was being totally honest, the time spent ruminating was preventing me from showing up as my best. My family deserved better.
I needed to remove myself.
It’s been a few years now and I’ve never looked back.
I didn’t call her to tell her that things were changing.
I didn’t make a big announcement.
I simply redirected questions and communication to my partner and took myself out of the conflict.
There are no hard feelings, but sometimes the healthiest relationship is no relationship at all.
My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
I stayed involved because I thought it was better for the kids. I was wrong. Having me at my best is what’s best for the kids.