The Honeymoon

This is an ongoing series on Blended Families. To read the previous post click here.

I’m sure Cinderella loved Lady Tremaine in the beginning. It always starts out with a love fest. I don’t think any stepmother would enter into a relationship with children who hated her. Cinderella, being an only child had to have imagined having two sisters would be a blessing. Lady Tremaine must have felt that one more daughter to love would be wonderful as well. Finally two broken families would become one complete one! Sounds romantic and safe doesn’t it?

If only that were the end of the story, we’d smile and go home bored. We don’t know the middle part of the story but we know it ends very badly. We know we’ve never seen Lady Tremaine smile. Not even once. We know that she has become angry and bitter. Have you ever asked yourself why?

Further we know from Cinderella’s perspective that she feels she is a slave, she gets no love and everyone hates her. This is pretty typical even today. In the story of Hansel and Gretel their dad was a woodcutter. How long must their dad had been out in the woods that their stepmother got fed up, and sent them to the witch’s house?

While these may be fairy tales of our childhood and great Disney animated movies we can learn a lot from them. For example, will the biological parent please stand up? Where are the parents in these scenarios? Where are the grandparents and the support systems that these families need? This is an important key to the entire process.

The honeymoon phase is that dating part of the relationship where everyone is happy to know each other. Only I wonder how much of this is imagination and wishful thinking and how much of this is real? In a dating situation it’s a lot easier to overlook the underlying issues but if we are honest we see the issues, it just that love clouds judgment in this stage.

I know a woman who thought her boyfriend’s kids were out of control and needed some discipline. When she broached the subject with him, he answered, “Of course my kids are out of control, I’m out of control, that’s why you are so good for us, you will bring us balance.” Instead of heeding the warning signals that were being thrown at her she became a Lady Tremaine within a year. The problem was the family clinged to her. They had fun with her, they wanted to be around her and she was flattered enough to overlook her intuition.

Other women I have spoken to say all was well until they got married then the children turned on them. It really wasn’t that the children turned on them, it was that there are such delicate dynamics here. Day to day living is a much different animal than the honeymoon phase.

You must go in with eyes wide open. What are some of the obstacles? What do the biological parents think of this new relationship? In the movie Stepmom, there is a scene where the children are horse-back riding with their mother played by Susan Sarrandon. The children are discussing Isabel their dad’s new love interest, played by Julia Roberts, and they seem to like her. There is a poignant moment in the film where the children see the reaction of their mother and sense that she is not pleased at all. So they tell their mother, “If you want us to hate her we will.” Remember that a child’s first allegiance is always going to be with the bio parent. Even still Hollywood makes endings simple. Real life is not.

One of the healthiest thing a parent can do is give their child permission to love. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case in a divorce situation and so a war ensues where the prisoners of war are the children.

4 thoughts on “The Honeymoon

  1. I would say being a step-mom was probably one of the hardest roles I stepped into, I have been married 9 years and we are now settled in, our kids are older so we don’t live together. We have off and on had the older kids move in, move out didn’t like the rules…etc…I have always treated them all the same. I never really knew how they felt about me but they always respected me when we are in each others presence. Not sure what they say behind my back but that’s okay I really don’t want to know:). 1 year ago my grandson was born and my step-daughter wanted her bio mom in the room, which I understood it, then after the baby was born bio mom left and didn’t return the whole day, I got to be there to change the baby, help my daughter take a shower and get her settled in for last night in the hospital before going home..I was so happy, I got to have my time, but it’s true had her bio-mom had been there she would have been first choice, I understand that but my daughter and I have grown in the past few years. It’s no more a challenge she is still her dads only daughter and I am his wife, she doesn’t have to challenge everything, she knows her dad loves her and I am not here to be the enemy. I will say last year I felt they really loved me my kids bio and step planned a surprise birthday party for me, my step son wanted it at his house he said” he wanted to thank me for all I had done for them” I will say it was the BEST birthday ever!!!

  2. what a blog for Aug 18th – the day of our 3 yr wedding anniversary. I know our family is blessed by the Grace of God. But watching that trailer brought tears to my eyes. I can relate in so many ways, I don’t think I’ll be able to watch the movie, too close to home (not yet anyway).
    Congrats to you Vicky on your wonderful bday party 🙂

  3. TQO its an awesome movie, I cry and relate on so many levels…I watch it every-time it’s on, have my cry fest and wipe away my tears and and move on to what ever the next day brings me. It really is a great movie the trailer is good but doesn’t show what happens between bio mom and step mom that is the best part. I am just at a point in my marriage where I attend events at my kids bio moms house and everyone makes me feel so welcome, its been a long process and not something I would want to do everyday but it’s been a healing process that I am thankful for, it took 9 years to get to this place:)

  4. that is wonderful news for you, I am truly happy for you! I don’t think that will ever happen for me though, I was kinda friends with bio mom before she abandoned her family, her husband and her kids as well. She has a lot of problems(from walking away from the Lord, she is a miserable person), emotionally unstable, drinks, drugs, only calls the youngest one who still lives here once a month or so to harrass him and give him a hard time.. which I think stems from her jealousy and hatred toward us. I want to make it clear that she had abandoned the family for over a year before I began even just talking to my now husband, there was no affair stuff going on here.

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