Always the bad guy…Divorce sucks.

“There are two ways to get on my bad side pretty quickly and pretty permanently. Accusing me of doing something that I am not, or telling me the kind of person I am because you think it are the two ways.”

The truth is, being divorced is sometimes harder then having just stayed in the hellish marriage. Many times the reason we leave is because there are irreconcilable differences – what we don’t realize, is those differences follow us into Divorce-land as well. They saying “there are always three sides to every story” was coined for good reason – because there is. There is your side, their side and the real side – which only the two of you honestly know, unless of course one is mentally handicapped – which many of us may claim the other is! Either way – it can be a mess. According to my ex- I am the reason he doesn’t have his kids, I am the reason for everything wrong in his life. When the truth is – he is wrong.

Yes, there are those relationship where the split is amicable, the divorce right down the middle, no one screwed the other, the kids are peachy keen happy, one got the cat, the other gets the dog and rainbows fly out of everyone’s ass – I’m not a member of one of those!

We divorced after six years of marriage, with children age three and six months. The first year was utter hell – for everyone involved. Then things got better – pretty great actually for about three years. Then add in school, and sports and one side not being as involved and you find yourself being summoned to court for a Status Quo Order. If you are not familiar with this, it is an order that forces the parent making any change, to halt any change pending a Judge to hear the case and the other parents arguments against it. In our case, I was trying to change Schools and he was not in favor.

As quickly as I was standing there in court facing him, discussing our points and reasons for and against, I will never forget for the rest of my life what our Judge said next. Pointing at me he said ” you go get your documents, your dirt on him and all your people  and then pointed at him and said the same following with “You both have a custody battle on your hands – one of you is leaving here next time with Custody and the other without” – my heart fell into my stomach. I was terrified I would lose, I hated my Ex – because he couldn’t just work with us, and he had to bring us to court and now I was going to lose my children.

For the next month or so, I did my research, I met with an attorney, documented the “dirt” I had, contacted friends, family any witnesses possible to be on my side. Sleep never happened because I was sick to my stomach the entire time. Our lives had been thrown upside down and all because of a school choice.

Fast forward to court – walking in, I had my witnesses, my family, documentation, all my ducks in a row. In walks in my ex-husband alone, with not even a pen in his hand. Looking at him, I was confused – this didn’t make sense – what was he doing. He brought forth no witnesses, he used his same argument he has used before – which was repeatedly overruled. Within 15 minutes, the Judge gave me Sole Physical Custody of our children, and with my first breath of what felt like months, I wept instead of jumping with joy. Losing would have killed me, but winning killed me too – because it killed part of the children.

Later that night, he would call me crying saying the kids could to the school, and just go back to what it was – I don’t think he even understood that the court took that right away. My anger at him exploded, and I asked why the hell he hadn’t tried, why hadn’t he fought, why didn’t he say this thing I did bad, or that thing I did bad, where was his wife, his family – Seriously what the hell were you thinking. He just cried and said he was done fighting.

We went  a year without speaking, I was the one that took his kids away, making him a weekend warrior and no longer a father. School conferences would go without his attendance, anything about the kids on our time he didn’t care about – even if it was serious – he would say he didn’t have a say – so why tell him. It was hell on him, and them, and truthfully for me too. He never went to our daughters games, or practices – he would sabotage her by making her miss a game, or not allow her to go to practice. She would try to share things with him, and he would push her away saying she was like my husband now, and that she was choosing a life without him. For a year, he repeatedly did this, to where now she doesn’t spend time with him, unless she is forced. During this time, I wrote him multiple times, to get him to snap out of it, before it was too late, to not make the same mistake with her, that our parents had made with us – and he would just ignore me.

During this time, my husband and I would argue, because I was trying to fix things for my ex with the kids – because in my husbands opinion, I wouldn’t allow my ex to fail in my children’s eyes – I didn’t feel he should fail. Both kids during this time got closer to their step-dad. Which is to be expected, my husband was stepping in, where their dad had stepped out. As time passes, and things progress both kids are closer to their step-dad than their father and little by little, they pull away from him more. The middle is where I find myself constantly, trying to smooth things over, talk the kids into a visit, or the ex out of my evil accusations. I thought things would get easier as the years passed, and I was wrong. I’m not even sure who I am battling anymore, because its just a mess.

I never tell him, he is the reason  we got divorced, or that he is the reason he lost the kids – I never remind him of all the reasons or the facts – I just try to encourage a relationship with his children. But to be honest, who children are they really when he just keeps letting them down?

Some days, I just think I can never win – and my kids will pay the price.

Heartbreak – Reality of being JUST a Step-Mom.

When you truly realize you are JUST step-mom, your heart will break.

When you truly realize you are JUST a step-mom, your heart will break. It will feel like you have lost all control, all sense of function and almost as if you’ve lost a child. Once you realize or are even possibly smacked in the face with it – it will feel like a shock, like you were blindsided and never saw this coming. The reason I know this, is it happened to me today.

During this exhausting fight over contempt, parenting time, child support, having me banned from pickups and drop-offs and whatever else she deemed necessary – I feel like every aspect of myself has been tested and re-tested and I am the one who loses.

How did I lose exactly? Because, I married a man and we live in Oregon apparently-

Our attorney called us last week and said that he was going to turn in paperwork asking for in addition to our Tues-Sun every other week, that we also get Wed-Sat on the other weeks, so that we get him every week for at least a couple of days. You’ll notice I say “We” when another cold hard fact is it’s actually “he” and not we at all. My heart was ecstatic at the thought of having little man around every week, watching his bond with my husband growing more than it has already been and all the happy thoughts that follows having our family whole a little more than we have had.

Then, within a flash – it all changes. Husband walks out of mediation with a grin – he whispers to me “We got more time” my heart is about to leap out of my chest I am so excited!! BM even talked with me about Ethan and was very pleasant – things were really going our (his) way, finally.  Then once were outside I ask the details and he tells me ” during Summers we get him every other week from Sun-Sun and we get him spring break, and Christmas break” so he is set for school. Instantly I feel my breathing stop, my head is screaming internally WTF, you agreed to what?? and as he is trying to explain how this is MORE time, and now it’s not up to the Judge, and this is GOOD, all I am thinking is  my heart is broken! Who cares what happens next SUMMER, and we already have him on Christmas break, that’s not EXTRA that’s not what I want – Damn-it that’s not what I want!!! And guess what – It doesn’t matter what I want – because I am just a Step-Mom. As much I want him to be, he is not my son, I am not his parent and nothing will ever, ever change that. It makes me hate every article I read and was against, it makes me feel like a failure – it hurts –  A LOT!

As I yelled and freaked out, then calmed down and tried to rationally explain my point and how he just traded in for a horrible offer, because he is afraid the Judge wouldn’t have given it to him, because he is a man and we live in Oregon – we got nowhere. I should just be happy we got more time. In my mind we lost days,months even – this year overnight calculations will be 130 – next year with their “new agreement” he will have 145, had he waited until Monday and had his attorney go in like he was supposed to – he would have got 209!!   TWO HUNDRED & NINE days out of THREE -SIXTY-FIVE – but I’m just a step-mom, what do I know? I’m exhausted and don’t know what else to say at this point.

Have you felt the pain of realizing you’re just a step-mom?

See you next blog – Jess