A Healthy Stepmother . . . buys time.

She pulled in the driveway and turned off the key. She didn’t get out of the car, instead she sat there, observing the rush of emotions that came as she read the text message that the kids were coming to dinner, unplanned. She waited for some inspiration, but instead felt caught, trapped, resentful.

In about a nano second, her next thought came . . . you need solitude.

She sat there, buying time, running through fantasy scenarios in her head. Maybe no one would notice she’d come home. Maybe the dogs would not run around and go crazy because someone had arrived. Maybe her dear sweet husband would see that she just needed a few minutes to collect herself.

She sat there, buying time. Breathing, feeling, noticing.

Photo courtesy Photos8.com

She let go of the blame game, including the one about feeling bad that she wasn’t happy and joyful because they had company. She just sat and noticed and listened to her gut. What bothered her wasn’t about blame or what she wanted or didn’t want. It wasn’t about what should have happened. It was simply that she was tired. Plum, to-the-core tired. She had no more energy to sort through feelings, no more energy to worry about how life was supposed to be. No energy to worry about what the kids needed in order to feel okay.

Her gut told her to let the blame game go because to hold it and carry it and let it grow into anything was an old habit that got her nowhere and wasn’t true anyway. But sadly, she’d learned that game all too well from watching her parents. At any point in her past, she’d have come charging out of the car, stalked into the house and huffed in silence until her husband begged her to say why she was upset. She’d have told him she felt hurt, unconsulted, and left out. (See the post about learning to feel lonely and having it be okay.)

Knowing that she was tired, knowing that she wanted some space to let her feelings calm. Knowing she wanted to make a move from a calm state of mind, she sat there, buying time.

It worked. Her husband came out to greet her. He wondered what time she’d like to eat dinner. She confessed to him that she was absolutely exhausted and needed a few minutes to lie down before dinner. They settled on a time and she left the front seat of the car to enter the house.

She went to the bedroom and shut the doors so not even the dogs could get to her. She closed all the drapes and lay down. With eyes closed, she contemplated how tired she was. With eyes closed, she became aware of her heart wanting to be open and present, aware it was already trying to expand to include being close to others and letting them be close to her. She could also feel resistance, her thoughts still stuck in the past.

She lay there, buying time. She waited, her heart waited. She breathed, she noticed. After a brief but long stretchy-like time, she joined her family downstairs. She was ready then, her transition complete and she gratefully took part in the conversation that flowed from, between, and with them. There, at the dinner table, she gratefully received the food her husband had prepared.

5 thoughts on “A Healthy Stepmother . . . buys time.

  1. This is another great post! You always put into words the way that I often feel. I love that you were able to let go of the blame and not play the blame game. I try (God knows I try) so hard to do this and sadly, am not always successful.
    I am sometimes, just not always.

    I will do the same – buy time, access my feelings and go into situations calmly. Or try anyway…

    Love the happy ending.

    • Ohio, I have a feeling you do this often. It’s okay if it’s not always. Sometimes is so perfect. To be able to do this even sometimes is enough to shift us out of an automatic, knee-jerk response that then sort of hi-jacks our truest needs or intentions and leaves us separated by a pile of misunderstanding. For my own part, I’m enjoying those times that I stand together with my husband with nothing between us. Thanks for reading!!

  2. Great post! I am often pushing myself to be in situations I don’t want to be in and then later being resentful. But I am the one that chooses what I do! Great suggestion here.

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