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Seeing yourself in less experienced SMs

Posted by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM
  • 25 Replies
2 moms liked this

I know there are some new SMs that come here and are frustrated that more experienced SMs seem to side with BM or "not understand".  For the moment, I find myself reflecting on the SM I once was.

I'd been a SM for a little over a year when SD got her first award at school.  BM, who had only recently begun to take visitation after barely seeing the kids over the previous year, decided to come to the ceremony.  She waltzed in with her mom and mom's then husband and plopped herself down practically in DH's lap.  His parents were there as well, so it was like a little mini family reunion... plus me.  When the teacher approached, BM was right there doing the whole, "I'm her mother... We're so proud!... Let's get a family photo!..." and talking about SD's hard work as if she'd been there every step of the way.  My MIL made the comment later that it was like she sucked all the air out of the room and it turned into the BM show.  DH obliged with the photo, never even noticing the "we/us/our".  I stood back and smiled through the whole thing, was friendly to BM and her parents, said my goodbyes, and left for work, barely making it to my truck before the tears came.  I cried all the way to work.  I sobbed into the phone to DH about being the odd man out and about how I'd done all the homework, the reading, got up with them in the morning, did the sick stuff, only for absent BM to walk in and take every ounce of credit, playing mommy of the year and treating me like someone she and DH had hired.

Now I really have to laugh.  Was that really me?????  If that same circumstance described above occurred today, I'd find humor in it rather than hurt.  But if you had told me then to step back, accept her as mom, let DH handle her, and so on and so forth (same advice I give now to SMs), I'd have probably cried some more and convinced myself that none of ya'll had been in my shoes, lol.   

Just to give some newer SMs hope, let's hear some stories from some of the more experienced SMs about their new SM moments.  I've been at this game just under 5 years, so I'm still more/less a newbie... but very much not the fragile newbie I once was. ;-)

by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Troubleswife
by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:33 PM
It's funny. I never wanted that role to begin with. I am a supporting member in this. I get frustrated when neither parent steps up or things trickle down to me without consideration. I like to be peripheal in either case (as mom or CSM) but that is my personality.
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Derdriu
by Gold Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:46 PM


Quoting Troubleswife:

It's funny. I never wanted that role to begin with. I am a supporting member in this. I get frustrated when neither parent steps up or things trickle down to me without consideration. I like to be peripheal in either case (as mom or CSM) but that is my personality.

I didn't anticipate the role being what it became.  When BM didn't step up as expected, I embraced the idea that they had me.  And my mindset was at that time to be the mom figure they didn't have, which incidentally made my husband happy.  It was a whole world of frustration for me - trying to be mom, not being mom, DH wanting me to view the kids as mine, feeling horrifically guilty about going through the motions of being "motherly" without the corresponding feelings of closeness... UGH.  Then BM decided to be mom again, and I had issues letting them go when all I'd wanted in the first place was for her to be mom, lol. 

It just makes me laugh thinking back on it all.  I doubt many SMs end up in the role they thought they'd have.  Finding my current role meant testing out a few others first, falling on my face, and trying something different.  The point I'm aiming to get across to new and frustrated SMs is that frustration and confusion are a normal part of the learning curve, that other folks have been in similar shoes.

faerie75
by Platinum Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

 im not really an SM, i am not married to SO. LOL i do understand the "mom of the year" act. BM isnt unfit or absent, but cannot be bothered to attend any of the skids sports events. yet when she does choose to attend (for 15 minutes of ONE of ss11's football game this season and for two of ss9's baseball games this season) she puts on "the act". i find it amusing though.

Tigress22304
by Ruby Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:50 PM

My biggest thing was moving with DH and thinking EVERYONE was just gonna be 1 big happy family! NOPE total fail on my part!

I expected the kids to stick to a schedule/help with chores and housework and obey the rules-DH just let them do their own thing. It was total chaos!

Glad we both stepped back-hatched a plan and stuck with it. Now the kids and I get along better then ever :)

feliciasmith
by Bronze Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:01 PM

BUMP!

Troubleswife
by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:13 PM
Amen to that!

Quoting Derdriu:



Quoting Troubleswife:

It's funny. I never wanted that role to begin with. I am a supporting member in this. I get frustrated when neither parent steps up or things trickle down to me without consideration. I like to be peripheal in either case (as mom or CSM) but that is my personality.

I didn't anticipate the role being what it became.  When BM didn't step up as expected, I embraced the idea that they had me.  And my mindset was at that time to be the mom figure they didn't have, which incidentally made my husband happy.  It was a whole world of frustration for me - trying to be mom, not being mom, DH wanting me to view the kids as mine, feeling horrifically guilty about going through the motions of being "motherly" without the corresponding feelings of closeness... UGH.  Then BM decided to be mom again, and I had issues letting them go when all I'd wanted in the first place was for her to be mom, lol. 


It just makes me laugh thinking back on it all.  I doubt many SMs end up in the role they thought they'd have.  Finding my current role meant testing out a few others first, falling on my face, and trying something different.  The point I'm aiming to get across to new and frustrated SMs is that frustration and confusion are a normal part of the learning curve, that other folks have been in similar shoes.

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Troubleswife
by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:15 PM
On that note, so you think that thinking of yourself as a supporting member would give you freedom from the beginning? In that line of thinking, it gives freedom to step back and forward as needed or wanted?

Quoting Troubleswife:

Amen to that!



Quoting Derdriu:




Quoting Troubleswife:

It's funny. I never wanted that role to begin with. I am a supporting member in this. I get frustrated when neither parent steps up or things trickle down to me without consideration. I like to be peripheal in either case (as mom or CSM) but that is my personality.


I didn't anticipate the role being what it became.  When BM didn't step up as expected, I embraced the idea that they had me.  And my mindset was at that time to be the mom figure they didn't have, which incidentally made my husband happy.  It was a whole world of frustration for me - trying to be mom, not being mom, DH wanting me to view the kids as mine, feeling horrifically guilty about going through the motions of being "motherly" without the corresponding feelings of closeness... UGH.  Then BM decided to be mom again, and I had issues letting them go when all I'd wanted in the first place was for her to be mom, lol. 



It just makes me laugh thinking back on it all.  I doubt many SMs end up in the role they thought they'd have.  Finding my current role meant testing out a few others first, falling on my face, and trying something different.  The point I'm aiming to get across to new and frustrated SMs is that frustration and confusion are a normal part of the learning curve, that other folks have been in similar shoes.

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Derdriu
by Gold Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:20 PM


Quoting Tigress22304:

My biggest thing was moving with DH and thinking EVERYONE was just gonna be 1 big happy family! NOPE total fail on my part!


 

Haha, that too.  I wonder if there are any SMs who didn't think that?  Wishful thinking or Brady Bunch syndrome.

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:36 PM

 

Quoting Troubleswife:

On that note, so you think that thinking of yourself as a supporting member would give you freedom from the beginning? In that line of thinking, it gives freedom to step back and forward as needed or wanted?

 

Yes, I do.  But I don't think it's necessarly an instinctive role as much as a learned one.  Even with the anticipation of being in a supportive role, SM has to learn where her own boundaries are with regard to the kids and BM and even her own DH.  I think it's a very natural thing to not want to disrupt the family... or put another way, to make both parents happy by showing just how well you get along with the kids (re: the one big happy family!).  But that invites trouble.  SM just wanting to prove herself easily invites the wrath of BM if BM feels her toes are being stepped on.  So what it means to be in a supportive role has a lot to do with whom SM thinks she's giving support to, what or who she allows to influence her, where she chooses to draw the line with regard to what she'll and how she's treated... and when she transitions from wanting to be liked by everyone to standing up for herself.

Troubleswife
by on Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:58 PM
I had moved past wanting more children. I had plenty of my own and so, for me, I never felt the urge to step on anyone's toes. It's not that I am saying a SM who hasn't had kids or a SM that would like more kids is the cause, I am saying that is where mindset was, I didn't want more. I have done all the things BM and DH are doing now and I CAN defer to another capable adult or even sibling if I can't read that book right then. It's a great place to be!

At the same time, I would have been pissed if BM and DH behaved that way. Not because she took credit (though that would be some of it) but out of respect for my marriage. I find it completely inappropriate to behave as she did. That would not have gone over well with me even today.


Quoting Derdriu:

 


Quoting Troubleswife:

On that note, so you think that thinking of yourself as a supporting member would give you freedom from the beginning? In that line of thinking, it gives freedom to step back and forward as needed or wanted?


 


Yes, I do.  But I don't think it's necessarly an instinctive role as much as a learned one.  Even with the anticipation of being in a supportive role, SM has to learn where her own boundaries are with regard to the kids and BM and even her own DH.  I think it's a very natural thing to not want to disrupt the family... or put another way, to make both parents happy by showing just how well you get along with the kids (re: the one big happy family!).  But that invites trouble.  SM just wanting to prove herself easily invites the wrath of BM if BM feels her toes are being stepped on.  So what it means to be in a supportive role has a lot to do with whom SM thinks she's giving support to, what or who she allows to influence her, where she chooses to draw the line with regard to what she'll and how she's treated... and when she transitions from wanting to be liked by everyone to standing up for herself.

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