My stepdaughter is angry with me. She feels judged and bullied, so she’s cut off all communication with us and the kids. I did come down hard on her because of some really inappropriate friends and posts on facebook, but I worry about the security of my house and family if she is putting my information out there for everyone to see.
Its a hard juggling act, trying to keep my cool running my newly expanded household while she very publicly makes poor choices. (Facebook is a blessing and a curse to a broken family) I worry sometimes that I am too hard on her. I worry that because I have her kids I do judge her actions and online comments. (its hard to feel sorry for her “I’m so tired” post when she has spent a night partying and I’ve spent the night doing homework, baseball practice, dinner , dishes and laundry for five kids) But then I think about how quickly they have acclemated to this nuclear family. I think about the work we’ve done with grief counselors, teachers and the church in these brief weeks that we’ve had them. How much they love the rules and the structure. Will they have it if they ever go back? Will she sit with them to help them do homework? Will she go camping with them, or take them to church? I don’t think so.
So we sit, my husband and I, me with a nice glass of red wine, he with a cup of decaf, trying to understand her point of view. Her utterly broken childhood (much like what these kids are going through right now) with a mother who abandoned her to a foster mother and a life of insecurity. Poor choices in life, followed by a marraige that ended badly. So many poor decisions, and she doesn’t have the tools to turn her life over. We know she wants to be a good mother, but she also wants to raise five pitbulls in a one room brick house. She wants to raise her children in the church, but she also wants to go to clubs that offer free drinks to ladies all night long, and have wet thong contests………..we can’t just wrap our heads around it.
So we sit, and we ponder the new chapter in out life. One we thought had closed for good… the Girl Scouts, t-ball, baseball, meeting new friends, and new friends parents, Sunday school, bag lunches and field trips that need us to chaperone. Its exhausting and exciting at the same time. I didn’t think I’d be at this place again. But being in this place at this age is different. I’m calmer (mostly) and I’m working full time, so we have enough money to take care of food and clothes (more or less.) and I know the value of stability, practicing multiplication tables and saying prayers at bedtime.
In the end we just have to stop being angry at her bad choices. We also have to stop blaming ourselves for not stepping in five years ago, when she started struggling with drugs and alcohol. We are here now, the kids are safe and happy. We just pray that someday she’ll choose to be a full time parent again in a way that these kids have become accustomed.