When your former spouse gets married, it means that your children are going to have another mom or dad who is going to be an important part of their lives.
This can be pretty threatening, especially if that person is nice, maybe even nicer than you at times. Of course, at times, you are the one who is nicer, but sometimes that’s hard. It’s extra hard if he/she is the one who has moved on, and you haven’t. You are in the unenviable position of being a single parent, with all the struggles that go with that, whether they be financial, exhaustion, or just plain loneliness. Even if you were the one who left, and had good reasons to do so, it doesn’t make your present situation less difficult.
So it’s tough when your children come home and tell you that their new step-mom just made the best cookies with them. Or they went hiking, camping, fishing, with the new dad or mom, and he/she is super cool. (Of course, either gender could make cookies as well.)
It’s tough to say to them, even if you don’t mean it, “I’m glad you had such a good time,” or even, “It’s great that you’re getting along with this new stepparent.”
Because the truth is, as much as it hurts, on some level, you probably do want them to be with someone who is nice to them and makes them feel welcome. You want this because you want what is best for them, what’s going to help them feel good about themselves when they are away from you with their other parent.
The funny thing is, if you give your children permission to like, or even to love this stepparent, it will not only be good for them, but they will love you even more for not putting them in an impossible loyalty bind.
So remember these 3 things:
1) This is hard.
2) The more you let them love others, the more they will love you.
3) You will always be their mom/dad. No one. That’s right, no one can ever take your place.