A Healthy Stepmother . . . laughs until she cries.

Or . . . did I get that right?

Should it “be cries until she laughs?” Hmmmm, right after I posted last weeks entry about dreaming up a peace-in, I began to notice that all my peace-in ideas were falling apart and it didn’t take me long to think…..the next blogpost needs to be about WHAT you do  in the space between the wedding and the peace?

Well, first there’s denial. This isn’t that bad, I can tolerate this. And this phase can go on for a very long time. Depends on how tough you are.

Then come tears and feeling like a victim. Why is this so hard? This can’t be happening to me. But, once you wake up and notice that you’re in this really angst-laden place in your life that you could have never imagined being in, well . . . I’m sorry to say but martyrdom sneaks in. I said “I do,” sooooooo, I’d better do. But I don’t want to do it THIS way! Most of us grit our teeth and forge onward, but layers of bitterness creep under the veneer of the politeness. Heaven forbid either you or your husband let the kids see you having any emotion other than happiness, it’s just not permissible. And, honestly, once a stepmother is bitter it’s very hard for her to let it go. I’ve been surprised by the depth of the hurt that lies under the bitter for some of my friends, but no one else looks to find the pain. They are repelled by the bitter and they avoid that woman and her support system dwindles further.

Or, maybe a nap is a good idea.

I left out the anger phase, maybe on purpose. According to Wednesday Martin, Stepmonster, 40% of us are anxious or depressed. And, in the same book it’s reported that depression is anger turned inward.  I’ll bet the statistics of depression mean “clinical” in the sense that they have been diagnosed by a mental health professional. But, I’m talking about the street depression that is rampant in our situation.

But I think we stepmoms have street-depression and some anger. But, the anger doesn’t come until you come out of the depression. After you move away from the depression you can find space to go ahead and live your life. Some of us move through that and I’ll bet some of us don’t.

And, here’s my theory, not being a psychologist and all. I think our stepmother worries actually interfere with our husbands doing their own work to handle the situation as they want to handle it. I wonder if we weren’t feeling so bad, well, I wonder if we’d see that it’s easier for them to get in touch with their own sadness. I have seen a couple of glimmers of this in my situation. It was painful to witness and I can see why I might have unknowingly waded into the middle of it. I didn’t want him to hurt, who wants to watch her husband hurt?

So, I’m gonna wake up tomorrow and laugh, cry, wail, hoot, crow, giggle, ponder, get mad, get happy, feel depleted, find ways to restore, and get on and off the roller coaster that is being a stepmother. It turns out, there’s a lot to do while you’re dreaming up the peace-in!

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