To the woman who will be in my son’s life:
Now that you’re dating my son’s father, I want to get real with you today. I have only been a divorced mom for a few years now, but I’ve seen a fair share of women come into my child’s life during this time. Unfortunately, there have been some who hated the fact my ex-husband has to “deal” with me, the ex-wife and mother of his child.
So let’s get this straight once and for all. Not all ex-wives, mothers of your partner’s children, or baby mommas—whichever term you prefer—are the same. Each woman began her relationship with her child’s father differently. Their breakups don’t follow a set movie formula, and their co-parenting can be chaotic. Maybe she was a one-night stand, or maybe they were married for 10 years. Maybe their breakup was quick and painless, or quite possibly, there was a bitter battle until the end.
But here you are. You’re here with this man whom you’ve grown to adore and he has a precious son. Oh, how much fun it is to go on adventures, play games and enjoy your time together. That child interacting with your man—oh yeah, ladies—that tugs your heartstrings, and you’re imagining that picture-perfect family.
But there’s a point you’re missing. You are not this boy’s mom. He already has a mom.
Every time you see me, you are reminded that I have been in similar intimate moments with the man standing between us. These are the same kind of moments that you now cherish with him. That look in his eyes, the sweet gestures, and that kiss—oh yeah, that kiss—I’ve been there and the evidence is about 4-feet-tall and holding my hand.
It takes a special, strong woman to be in a relationship with a man who has a child from a previous relationship. Strong enough to realize that his past with the mother is the past. Strong enough to realize they share a bond that you do not have, even if you two have a child together as well. They have a history, and this history requires her to be a part of his present.
So let’s get some things straight if you are going to be auditioning for the role of future stepmom to my son.
1. I Am Mom
I will always be Mom. I was there when he became our child. Whether he was birthed by my body, surrogacy or adoption, I am Mom. Maybe one day you will be Stepmom and that is a big deal in itself, but I will always—until the end of time—be his mother.
2. Let the Parents Be the Parents
We are the ones to make primary decisions in our child’s future. I am not saying you will never have a say, but right now, we are the primary caregivers. If he comes to you for advice, give it, but by no means push your opinions. We will ultimately be the ones to make the decisions.
3. Remember I Will Be in Your Man’s Life for a Solid 18 to 24 Years
You might as well not make it awkward. I want to be able to have a conversation without you staring off into space and fidgeting with your hands. This leads into the next tidbit of advice…
4. I Do Not WANT to Be Your Best Friend
We want to be civil. I want to know my child is in good hands. I want to know you are not a psychopathic crazy woman who will all of a sudden kidnap my child as he sleeps. Oh, you’re normal and sane? Thank God. Let’s move forward.
5. I Do Not Want Your Man
We are not together for a reason. I have moved on. He has moved on. So cherish it and be thankful you’re allowed in our blended family.
6. The Past Comes Up
We have memories. Each relationship is different—some couples will have many memories while others will be scarce. We have jokes, and they may pop up from time to time. “Remember when he had that blowout diaper and it went all over you?” or “Our son snores just as loudly as you did that weekend we were in New York on that hard mattress.” Yeah, we remember, but you do not. Sorry, these conversations happen just like with old friends. We cannot help it at times.
7. Communicate With Me
Please remember that I want to talk to my son when he is with his father. It is hard to call and be told by the girlfriend that my son is “too busy” to talk to me. I get it, he probably is, but it breaks my heart. I will do the same to ensure his father can talk to him as often as he wishes as well.
Isn’t this the Golden Rule? Respect has been taught to us since we could snatch a toy from the child beside us. If you cannot respect me as his mother, then how can I respect you?! Do we need to revert back to No. 1?
9. I Am Not Always Bitter
There could be a dozen reasons why I seem upset when you see me. I could be stressed out, tired, running late, or sad for a multitude of reasons. I am human just like you. It does not mean my attitude is bitterness toward you (and I am sorry if you think it is).
10. Move Forward Together
I had my history with your beau. I cared for him, and now we are no longer together and that is what is best. Do you know everything about our time together? Did he really leave us, or did we leave him? Do you know every insignificant issue we went through? Probably not. And that’s OK. The past should stay there. Let’s now move forward together and co-parent the way our child needs us.
So, please stop with the baby momma drama. If you have a child, maybe you understand how I feel. If you do not have a child, then please sympathize and try to see it from my perspective. One day, maybe you will be carrying my little one’s half-sibling, and then you’ll understand my stance. Just be a productive, loving and gentle part of the life of my child when you spend time with him. Get to know me for who I am, not what my ex-husband has to say about me.
And for the sake of the 4-feet-tall little one, let’s be adults.