If you've been following me on instagram (@lisa_m_nicol) you already know that I met my ex's girlfriend a few weeks ago - they are moving in together in a few weeks, and it was definitely time to meet her in person!
She reached out to me, which I really appreciated. So, we met at a pub and sat down to chat for a few hours - and I was nervous!!
I mean, she will be the third most frequent person in my kids lives. (My boyfriend and I haven't moved in together yet, so he's got a less critical status in my kids' lives, to my mind).
And like my daughter said: hopefully she doesn't turn into an evil step mom when they start living together :I
Over the course of our meet up, I realized if I had met her several years back, when my ex and I had just split, this meeting would have gone much differently!
Having my kids influenced by someone I hardly know at all is a tough prospect and I would have been MUCH more inclined to want to control the whole situation if I hadn't done so much healing and letting go over the years since my marriage ended. If I didn't feel so completely confident in the fact that I can be an amazing mom to my kids AND they can have other important people in their lives who add value to their childhood. It's not an either/or kind of thing.
It all made me wonder: what seeds to I want to plant, cause this is surely the beginning of something important ...how do I want this new relationship or co-parenting dynamic to start off?
Should I make lists of things I never want her to do 'first' with the kids? Or even a list of things that I never want her to do with the kids, no matter how many times I've done them already?
Should I treat her like an enemy to my family?
What would her role be and how would it change now that she'd be living with my ex?
Oh LORD, my head hurt already...I was definitely out of my comfort zone :)
Thankfully - I used the same technique I use with co-parenting - when I'm not sure how to respond to something that initially stresses me out:
1) Breath Deeply. In through your nose and out through your mouth. As many times as necessary to feel more relaxed and calm :) You could be here at this step for days - that's OK too! This is one great reason to do most of your communicating through email or txt, so you can simply say 'I'll get back to you in a day or two' and then keep breathing until you can see through to steps 2 and 3.
2) Remember: My first priority is my kids' happiness
3) With that in mind, what's the next right thing I can do?
Love is always the answer. Expansion, acceptance, openness.
Not hate, or fear, or contraction. This is a living hell.
With that - and taking baby steps and trying to put any worries out of my mind - we are onto a new adventure with a step mom :)
My only trigger point that I'd even consider discussing with my ex is if the kids aren't happy and they can't seem to work it out with him on their own.
So far, for the most part, the kids are happy to have their own rooms :) Since two of my kids share a room in both houses right now - so that's a big upgrade for them! And moving in the summer is a good idea too, since it gives everyone a little time to settle into a new routine with a little more space to absorb the changes and without the chaos of the school year :)
And I'll be cheering them on and supporting my kids the best way I can: by being open and welcoming to their step mom and listening to their concerns and worries and talking it all out to resolution.
The future is always ours to create :)
Wishing you all the best,
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