26 October 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008 - 15 comments

An honor or a burden. That is your choice.

Being in a split family is difficult for everyone, kids, parents, ex's, step-parents, ect. I've lived my entire life in a split family so I know the issues, I may not understand them, but I am familiar with them. When I split from my ex I knew that my son would also live his life with these same issues. While he was young enough to not understand the details of a split family, he still has to live it. He doesn't know anything else.

As his mother I've tried very hard to make his split family life comfortable. I involve his dad's family in everything that involves him. I have tried very hard to keep the peace with his dad and step-mom. I've been told that I'm a pushover in some situations, and yes I am, but I don't want to rock the boat. I don't want to make my child feel bad or feel animosity in his split family life. So while I am working hard to make life easy for us all, I have others who are trying to make life hell for everyone involved.

Before there was a step-mom involved life was good, my ex and his soon to be wife were present at all birthday parties, Thanksgivings were joined, dinners were had together and yes my ex and his future wife were present at our wedding and us at theirs. But when they shared their marriage vows life began to change and I got a call one day saying that anything "joined" would not be happening anymore, "it's just too hard on my wife". Okay???? I still offer invitations and continue still to be open to positive parenting TOGETHER. I do this because the only person who should be thought about in this situation is Jacob. None of us should think about what the other does, it only will hurt one person and that person is the innocent one involved.

It has been brought to my attention over the 7 to 8 years since my son got a second mom, that my parenting is "not okay". I need to let go. I'm too involved in his life. I do too much for him. "Let him grow up". If he wants to do sports or other activities "he needs to find his own way there and his own way to pay for it". He should be more responsible for himself. "He needs to walk to and from school and it's okay for him to be alone at home until someone arrives 3 to 4 hours later." School projects should be done completely alone with NO parental involvement.

These things have been told to me by both my ex and his wife, to my face. And always I take it. I try to explain myself and the way I'd like to parent, but it is not okay, ever. The feelings of my ex and his wife about me for the most part have been kept at bay from my son. They may tell him that they feel life should be lived this or that way, but they usually keep their feelings about me slightly hidden. Slightly. Recently though, their feelings have become more verbal to him. And finally it seems their true feelings were shared with my son.

I say finally because it is just now been shared with me, by my son. I'm sure he has been told before now, but he said on Friday he didn't want to start a fight and he didn't want to hurt me. While it stung that he has to hear this about me, I didn't get mad. I took the opportunity as a learning experience and a way to explain the importance of parenting to me.

To me, being a mother is a honor. I take my honor VERY seriously. I raise my son and will raise any other children in my home the same way. I am not ashamed nor am I changing my parenting ideas. I wasn't given this gift from God to sit back and not attempt to make a difference. For me, being a parent means being involved, guiding through life, allowing individuality, and raising a child to be a healthy part of our society. To me it means not walking away, but always being there, unconditionally. Nor does it mean that I portray that parenting is a burden to me or to make my children deal with their lives alone.

Yes, I am involved in his life and yes I may hold on a little tighter than is necessary, but I do it because I care and because he is a child!! I do not believe in most of his step-moms parenting values, but I don't disrespect them, not do I share with my child that they are wrong. Over the last two years I have let go more and let my son try out his wings. But I will only do these things when I FEEL COMFORTABLE with the situation. In my mind, if I'm not comfortable then the situation is not something I'm willing to go through with my son, because in the end I am the one who is there with him dealing with his failures and triumphs. He is not living his life alone by no means.

You are only a child once in this life, once. Why go though it in a hurry or unguided? I still to this day depend on my own parents to guide me, that is the honor part of being a parent. To guide your child. It is okay to let your child play in the mud, hold your hand, wear plaid and stripes, ask for help on a school project, have a parent home when they arrive home from school, or make life choices without being scared to ask his or her parent about the choice.

I do understand my sons step-moms ideals, she wants her children to be solely dependent on themselves and learn that "life is hard, deal with it". Yes she has said that many times to me and to Jacob. Heck yeah life is hard, trust me I KNOW how hard life is and so does Jacob, but can't a child understand that in a different light? A filtered light that slowly becomes clearer as his or her life progresses, not starting at age 5. Yes I may be fried for believing this, but why put our stresses on a child when they have their own life issues to deal with. I do not want to put on my child that he can only play sports if he pays for it himself even if we have the means to pay for it and he is told that, he is 13 for goodness sake and doesn't have a job nor should he need to get one yet! SO why put that stress on him.

While Mike and I parent one way and Jacobs dad and step-mom parent another way, it doesn't make it okay to belittle each others skills or ideas. I wont change and the other half of the parenting needs to understand that, but they wont. I know they will not achieve anything while beating down another persons ideals, they will only have it backfire, which unfortunately has already started to happen. Jacob feels such stress going to his dads and struggles to make everyone happy. He just wants everyone to be happy, but he does not like the way he is treated at his dads. He doesn't want to explain that he is fine with my parenting ideals and knows that he can tell me or Mike when he is unhappy with something we ask, do or say. At our home, life is talked about together and discussed on ways to deal with it. At his dad's it is the way it is, he has no voice.

So what do I do? I continue to be who I am for my child and others who will call me mom. I do make mistakes and I understand that not all of my skills are good ones, but I can't see my mistakes until I make them and I can't see if my skills work until I try them. But I can and DO learn from each failure and each achievement. I will hold strong to my beliefs and hold my head high because it is my honor to mother a child not a burden.


I know oh to well about split families.. I have a step daughter who has not come down and seen her father for almost 4 years now.. due to her mother's way of belittling us.. we have rules in our house and will continue to have rules no matter who comes into this house..
KyLee's dad and I have a weird relationship due to the fact that we were really good friends and just didn't work out.. we all get along.. his wife doesn't like it to much ..but we as KyLee's parents do what is best for her.. I would not lower your standards but I would say something due to the fact that this is making your son very uncomfortable..
I would hope they would do what is best for him. that is who this revolves around and that is what you are there to do as parents..
It is sooo hard in a split family.. my parents use to bad mouth each other soo much.. I said I would never do it.. and never have.. Hope things get better.. I know how it is sooo hard..
If you need to talk.. I am here.. I know oh too well how this is..
Love ya girly...

Oh my sweet friend. I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. but, i must say that your post is eloquently written and so clear about what you are feeling.

Shame, shame, shame, on your ex and his wife. they are at fault here and your son will as a adult look back on this and know that.

The only thing I want to say is that your ex's wife must be insecure around you. As she doesn't feel comfortable with you and now is criticizing your parenting.

Stay strong my wonderful friend. Stay true to yourself. From this view I have always thought what a loving and caring mommy you are.

We are the same. A blended family. Its damn hard work but these kids are worth it.

Love you friend.


Sounds to me like you've got it exactly right. The very fact that your son chooses to confide in you and that he trusts that he can unburden himself to you in a way he can't with his father, speaks volumes about your relationship with Jacob. As you've said, he's only 13. Of course he needs help with schoolwork and should have parental support at home with it(and I say that as a teacher).

Yes, life is hard. And we have to deal with it. 'We' being the adults. Our job as parents is to shelter, protect and nurture. So that when our kids do step out, independent at last, into that hard world, they have the skills, confidence and emotional stability to make good choices.

Life is hard. It's knowing we have others there in our corner that makes it less so.

I think you sound like a wonderful mother.

This is one of the reasons I'm choosing to parent as a single. No opposing side to battle against.

I think you should do what you feel is right. It sounds to me like you're already doing it. I agree with the parenting style you described in this post. And will parent my daughter in a similar hands on way. Good luck in dealing with the ex.

It's an honor. Parent him the way you want to parent him. Let them parent the way they want to when he's with them EXCEPT if you think it will cause him hard. Remember, too, that you've gone through a pretty big homestudy process to become a parent again, and I be they have never been so looked over and picked apart as parents as you are during the adoption / homestudy process. I bet if they went thruogh the process her "hard" ways would not be looked kindly on by a social worker.....keep doing what you are doing!!! Your son is AWESOME!

Hi Kayce,

I can so identify with you on this one....you know I have the same situation with Nick and it is so hard. We have had our moments, but like your situation, the minute she became the new wife or the stepmom, everything changed...it is just nuts! I have tried explaining to my ex, that we all need to be adults and make life easier, not harder for our Son!! I could go on and on, but I don't want to hijack your comments.

I say, listen to your heart and parent him the way you feel is best.

If you want to chat, send me an email...I am here for you!

Hang in there:)


You know I understand your situation. And the boat you are in is about control, not your son. The step-mom will never love him like you do, he is your son.
She will fight your way of parenting because it involved her husband and she doesn't want you as a partner to him in any capacity.
She's telling him what to do and how it's going to be and that is why you are being put down.
She is jealous and insecure. You have a child with her husband and that is making her crazy.
I seriously doubt that these ridiculous things she is saying apply to any of her children.
You are his mother and his lifeline. His father is being over-run by wife #2. You do what is best for your boy. Their advice is coming from one jealous heart.

I can't say that I know how you feel on this one, because I don't. I did not come from a split family, and I don't have children who have grown up in one(and hopefully won't). What I can say is that I have met your son and he is a polite, well spoken, intelligent young man and I think you(and Mike) are doing a kick-ass job of parenting him!

It is so sad that some adults simply can't look past themselves to see what is best for the child.

I worked in childcare for 14 years and I saw it time after time. You are so right when you say that it is the child that is the one who gets hurt in the end.

I think that you and Jacob have an awesome bond in that he feels he can come to you when he is feeling uncomfortable or stressed about the situation with his Dad and he knows you aren't going to judge or say nasty things about him.

I don't have the words or advice to make the situation better, but know that you are in my thoughts often and I think you are doing the absolute best you can do under the circumstances.

Kayce I am so sorry you are having this situation. It is a tough one that I have seen many people go through. I am sooooo sorry but I really agree with what Seventh diamond said about control. This is all about control and your his mom and you love him more than she ever could-- it's just control. I think you are amazing for not bad mouthing her although I am sure you are tempted to do so. You are an awesome parent and I totally agree it is an honor and holding onto that honor is not a bad thing. You are charged with raising up a young man who is going to be a wonderful contribution to society-- not a pesemistic kid that learned fromhis bumps and bruises. I am all about letting kids learn from their mistakes but we dont have to let them flop on their faces with no guidance.

You are a great mom-- you know it and we all do too!!

Love tons,

Christy :)

Kayce I'm sorry you are having this trouble. I can't respond to the split family, I haven't been in that situation. I am sorry that it is a difficult situation for your son. I don't know if there is ever an easy answer

I DO know that YOU have to follow your heart. You don't answer to anyone but yourself. If we aren't happy with the choices made at the end of the day you have no one to answer to but ourselves. I hope that sounds how I am trying to say it. (It's so hard in comments)

Bottom Line... Don't loose who you are. That wouldn't be good for your son either. (Just my humble opinion.)


I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. I won't say too much here, because frankly, I don't know what to say. My parents are divorced, but I've never had to live through what you are living through as a parent.

You have voiced your feelings beautifully here and I know you are doing the right thing, because you are seeing through Jacob's eyes and not your own. I will say a prayer for your family tonight.

I never understand how people can be so hurtful to other's. So much damage can be done by words and actions. Jacob is blessed to have you as his mom.

Hugs Kayce,


Um, as a teacher I much prefer parents who are involved like you are to those who parent like your ex and his wife. You reap what you sow. Tend your garden well, and you will enjoy a good harvest. Let it go on its own, and you'll have weeds.

Keep doing what you're doing, Kayce.

My husband and I were talking about this just the other night. Well, not the split parenting issue, but the "over parenting" claim that some make. We too help with homework, pay for sports, drive them to and from school....all that stuff. We know our kids are "growing up slower" than others and are proud of it. I don't get why our society tries to push kids past the limits of their maturity level on a daily basis?! I had one of Jacob's 6th grade teachers say to me the other day, "....well, they are going to expect him to be able to do this in High School...." OK, and maybe by the time he is in High School he'll be mature enough to handle it, but seeing as how he's in the 6th grade....!!! DON'T GET ME STARTED!!

Hold your head high, Kayce, and keep doing what you are doing. Jacob is growing up to be a nice, young man BECAUSE of you, not DESPITE you. Don't let anyone tell you any different!

I love your parenting view. Beautiful post about difficult situation.

Wow that is a beautiful post. You are so wise, please keep strong and keep going!! This belongs in a magazine!! I can't write out all that I think but you can imagine!