Within the same year my ex husband got remarried, he and his new wife made our daughter start calling her new step mother, “mom”.
I will acknowledge that the word ‘made’ is strongly subjective here, however, no one can tell me otherwise that a 5 or 6 year old would randomly know to call a fairly new woman “mom” of their own accord without some coaxing.
Needless to say, and especially regarding the circumstances…
I. Was. Pissed.
I still don’t like it to be honest, and out of all the things I’ve had to overcome regarding my divorce, and him cheating on me with his wife,… this is the most sore spot I still have.
I remember when my daughter was about 4, and she spent the weekend with her father. I saw posted pictures of her weekend with her dad, and his ‘new friend’ at the time. When she returned to me, I asked her if she had fun with daddy, and she said yes. She told me about her weekend, and I asked her if anyone else went too (they went apple picking). She said no (which I knew was false). I said, ‘are you sure? No one else went with you and daddy?’ And again she said no.
Then I looked at her and asked, “ Did (——) go with you and daddy?” She hesitated, then said, yeah.
Since the time that her dad and I split, and because of my sadness and anger about the situation, especially since at that time the situation had been so fresh, I never used the other woman’s name or even spoke about her in my house; But at that very moment, when I saw her hesitation to also not want to speak her name or acknowledge her with me, I realized that my silence spoke more loudly with her than I realized.
I was silently teaching my daughter not to accept her, not to speak of her, not to like her, and not to love her.
My heart was sad and I realized I was either planting or watering a seed that I never intended in my daughter, and that was … silent hate.
In the flesh, I was honestly fine with that… BUT, me being who I am, who I strive to be, the mother that I am, and the way the world is already set up, I told myself I would NEVER teach my daughter how to hate.
So as my heart was crushed at the realization of that, I looked at her little face, right in the eye, sucked up all my grown up feelings that wasn’t her burden to carry (the anger, resentment, hurt, etc.), and I told her, “It’s OK if she went with you. You can talk about her. Is she nice to you?” She said yes. “Did you have fun?” She said yes. “Do you like her?” She said yes. My heart continued to sore through each little yes, but I continued to press on.
“It’s OK if you like her. I’m so glad you had fun,” trying to make a big smile so she didn’t see any angst. “Anytime you want to talk about her it’s OK, ok? You can tell me, it’s OK, I promise.”
Her little eyes got a little bigger, she smiled her big smile, and we hugged, I have her a big kiss, and she went to play with her toys.
And Just like that the conversation was over…