I never thought I would share parenting joys with another woman. I thought I would marry the man of my dreams, raise kids together, watch them grow together in our dream house sitting on a cool 40 acres of private land. But as life would have it, plans are meant to be broken.
There are zero parts of me that NEED help raising my children, none the less, here you are. I have yet to meet you, as with my children. You are too new in my ex’s life, and with how little he sees his children, I encourage him to build a better relationship with his boys before throwing you in the mix. But now that it has been a year of some sort of relationship with you, I feel confident an engagement will follow soon. That’s just how he operates. It’s time we all get together.
You should know, there is no reason to feel threatened by me. I am so thankful for you. I am so thankful that he has found happiness he could not find with our family. I am selfishly thankful that I do not have to worry about him, his depression, or him being alone. You are a blessing to me helping take care of someone I now consider a business partner, but will always love, in some way, as the father of my children.
That love does not come with feelings of wanting to be together. Could we be together? Sure. I bet we could be happy together, but we have both found happiness apart and that is where we are. I do not have a desire to step backwards into a life I left behind. But I take pieces of that life, my ex included, and move forward. Divorce with children means permanently being tied together, so please understand that. We have come a long way. we are friends. We will always be. For you to work out, you must not feel the need to break this progress. I ask this for my kids.
My kids are special. All kids are, but I am partial to my own. They are inquisitive, daring, stubborn (like their dad, so this should not shock you), smart, and my world. As such, I will ALWAYS know what is happening with them. I may someday send them to spend quality time with you both, but during this time I will check on them. I will want to see their faces on FaceTime. I will worry about them. It does not mean I do not trust you. It does not mean I want to interrupt your time. It does not mean I think something is wrong. It means that I am a mom. It means that I want to share in the joy that they are experiencing in the moments they are with you. It means I want to recap their last few days and hear about the fun adventures they had, and the things they learned. Yes, I might even remind them to apply sunscreen because their stubborn dad was never great about it. Maybe you can help me out with this.
You must understand that coming into MY family is not a typical step mom role. L1 was 2.5 years on when we split up. He does not have memories of living with his dad. His memories are stories he has heard. And L2 was 2 weeks fertilized, so he has never had the relationship. They will be building that for a while, or forever. Military life is hard. My kids never know where their dad is, when he is going to be able to see them again, and he likely never will live in the same city. Please, let this relationship grow organically. Don’t try to force it. It will be better relationship without pressure. But be thankful you get to be part of it as it builds and grows. Again, my people are special.
I have a couple requests from you. First and foremost, please only say things you mean. Don’t tell them you love them if you don’t. Even if they say that to you. They love toys, games, swimming, people who are kind. They say it easily. You are old. You know what Love is and how much it can crush you. If you are not invested, don’t say it. It will confuse them more should you leave.
With leaving, please do not say you are unless you are. This relationship you are in has more layers because of children. Fights should be hidden from them, and you shouldn’t walk out on them unless you are really gone. It isn’t a threat you should ever make, but even more so when children are around. They need stability. They need to see happiness and normalcy in this traditionally abnormal setup. So if the relationship is over with my ex, please go, but if you are angry, remember you can’t take back your words.
With words, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t tell them you will be somewhere you won’t. Don’t promise to take them somewhere with no expectation of doing it. They are honest. They will tell you the truth, as almost all kids do. Trust is something I value more than anything, and have instilled into my children. They are handsome little gentlemen. They will have plenty of heartbreak and real world disappointment in their future. Don’t let it start with you.
Don’t lie to them. Of course this is obvious, but I mean in just the simple things. They are smart. I don’t make things up to answer their 593,472,094 questions a day. I know L1 will take what he learns and tell everyone he knows. I expect L2 to be the same. Don’t encourage them to spread false knowledge because you don’t know it. Research it together. Learning with my kids is one of the most fun things you can do with them. One exception: Santa, tooth fairy, easter bunny. They are real for a few more years!
I can’t say that I trust you, yet. But I do have faith that their father wouldn’t put them in harms way, so I am sure things will be fine. I look forward to the growing of all these relationships; them with their father as well as with you. I trust that we will get along fine someday. And again, thank you for being there. You’ve got some big shoes to fill as a bonus Mom in my kids lives, so I wish you luck! 😉
❤ MS Andrea Jackson