Carol (the stepmom) and I (the mom) have been going at this ex-wife/stepmother relationship-thing for eight years now. We recently had two back-to-back dinners that illustrate what a work in progress our partnership can still be. Sunday was Sophie’s 17th birthday, so off our two families went to a fancy restaurant. Sophie and Madeleine’s 3 YO little brother, Jacob, was a real trooper, rearranging crackers like a Zen Cracker Master. Afterwards, we went to the abandoned deck of a kid-friendly restaurant and had German Chocolate cake and listened to Sophie serenade us with her 58-yr. old accordion. There was much laughter in the air, lots of stupid, inside jokes and just general frivolity all around.
The next night, Carol and I met for dinner, just the two of us. Haven’t done that in a long, long time…. I think we were both a tiny bit apprehensive. We needed to catch up on some "business" details that have to do with co-parenting and were going to have to clear the air in order to feel comfortable and get down to brass tacks.
It’s never fun, knowing someone may be pointing out some of your shortcomings to you. Asking for you to look at ways in which your efforts are not bearing fruit (and I’m not talking gardening either). Luckily, I think we’re both really good at pre-emptively throwing that stuff out there – owning up to our own crap, seeing what’s called for, making plans to do it differently.
But yipes. Sometimes it’s really uncomfortable. And even if you’re steeling yourself, still a bit stressful!
This is the thing. Since the kids keep growing and changing, there are always new challenges to face. We’ll get one "issue" down, then it goes away and another crops up.
So it was quite the animated conversation and thankfully, we both felt a million times better afterwards. We left wondering, why don’t we do this more often? It’s always so helpful!
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