Co-parenting has been the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. I’ve tried it from many angles. Most of the time, it’s been an all-out war. But, what I hope you will see as I’ve shared authentically in my other blogs is that although being a stepmom has not been easy, it has been the greatest opportunity of all time for me to share and model Christ with the most unexpected person- my husband’s ex-wife.
When I started dating my husband, my goal was to join forces with his ex- after all, we both had the same goal, right? We were both caring for and raising the same children, and we could easily do it together.
What I quickly found out was that she wanted nothing to do with me and wanted her kids to have nothing to do with me either.
Despite her apprehension, I tried to show her that we were on the same team. I would say, ‘Hi’ to her at sporting events and when my husband dropped off or picked up the kids. I would include her in conversations I had with the kids’ teachers. I tried everything to prove that I was a team player.
Her response was to tell me not to talk to her, laugh at me or make fun of me.
In my quest to have a smooth relationship with her so the kids could go seamlessly from one house to another, I was met with constant opposition and increased difficulty in the ability to be involved with the kids. Things such as doctors appointments, concerts, sports games, began to be hidden from us. I felt like the only reason she did this, was to make things difficult, to which she often succeeded.
So how could I connect with her and let her know I was working toward the best interest of the kids as well?
One area we were consistently blessed with an overabundance was clothing for the youngest child.
My cousin happened to have a daughter about a year older than my step-daughter, and she was really into nice clothes. So, when she would give me a batch of clothes, I decided I would keep what we could use and rather than donating the rest, I gave them remaining to my step-daughters mother.
I simply shared.
As one caring mother to another, I shared beautiful clothing I knew a certain little girl would love to have at both houses. It was so hard not to look for a thank you, or any acknowledgment for that matter. Box upon box of clothing was shared, and though I didn’t see it being used, I was hopeful that sharing would be the key that would unlock a peaceful, co-parenting relationship.
I’ve approached my relationship with HER in many ways- some dominating, some prideful, some very fearful and defeated. Sadly, looking back, I began my approach to sharing as a way of manipulating and getting results. But as I learn more about the ways God can use me in such a broken situation, I shifted my sharing approach to that of humility, lowering my pride and my expectations. Making it more about serving HER than what it might do for me.
Yes, it’s challenging to share with someone who seems only to want to take. It’s hard to share with no strings attached. It’s very hard to share not knowing if it will all be thrown away or destroyed out of spite. But obedience is what God requires of me (Deuteronomy 28) in this relationship, so I obeyed what I felt God was telling me to do.
I’m happy to say that after three years of sharing, I’m starting to see the clothing I’ve shared being worn. One small step for the two of us, and hopefully an indication of a softened spot in her heart towards the ultimate goal- sharing the love of Christ with someone who desperately needs Him including an ex.
We Want To Hear From You:
What are some moments where you found yourself trying to connect with the other parent but without acceptance? What are some things that you have done consistently and seen growth over time?