When my daughter Elle was born 18 years ago, I thought no one could take care of her the way I could including my own mother! My Mom was quick to point out that well - she raised me and I survived, as well as, my three brothers - if she could raise four kids she probably could muddle through watching my baby while I took a shower! Hard to argue with that logic!
Over time you get over yourself, you still think deep down YOUR way is the one and only way, but you're willing to let the little things slide when others care for your child for that well deserved break that you needed yesterday! Still the overbearing mother instinct comes roaring back in a hurry with the introduction of a Step Mom into your child's life - no matter what their age.
As a Mom it was one of the hardest things I had to do - accept another woman into my daughter's life. Elle's Step Mom came on the scene when she was just a year old. Step Mom was younger than me and childless. Made even more complicated with her belief that she was the ultimate authority on parenting and I should happily welcome her critiques and suggestions. Often times implying if I followed them I could someday be half the parent she was. As you can imagine it didn't sit too well with me.
With each new critique and change demanded by Step Mom, I only grew more resentful. Why did marrying my Ex Husband give her a license to rate and manage my parenting?
When I became a Step Mom three years later to five kids with two different mother's - My experience with Elle's Step Mom was very fresh on my mind. I quickly realized how easy it was to fall into the trap of judging the mothering of my Step Kids by the Ex Wives. I chose not to share my observations nor offer recommendations to either women about their parenting. I knew full well that sharing my "corrective parenting" with either woman would only create more problems than it would solve.
My choice didn't mean that it was all peaches and cream coming from the Ex Wives to me. They had their judgments and demands on what my parenting should look like. From my perspective it was more about my style rather than substance!
Having been on both sides of the equation I offer the following:
As a Mom dealing with a Step Mom - ask yourself - if my own Mom or Best Friend let the kids do the same thing would I let it go? If so let it go with the Step Mom. If it isn't putting the kids in real physical or emotional danger than LET IT GO with the Step Mom! The kids will survive - believe me!
Many Step Mom's were Mom's long before they became Step Moms. They parent differently than you do because they've been a parent to their own kids and are now raising them with your kids. It's more likely they are going to raise them in a way that suits them best.
Step Mom's without kids, are just learning the ropes the hard way just like you did years ago. Only the kids aren't babies and everyone isn't telling them - it's ok - we've all made mistakes - don't beat yourself up about it! It's usually the opposite - the expectation is that they should have known it yesterday. Give the Step Mom a break and support like you were given when you were a newbie raising your own kids.
I have yet to met a Step Mom who doesn't have a story about the Mom including me. But....the kids probably would have survived and thrived without you there - so unless Mom's behavior is putting the kids in physical or emotional danger - LET IT GO!
If it is putting them in danger - then let your Hubby handle it! You will never be the one the Mom changes for and it will only create more tension between you and her and your household and her household.
Mom's style is more likely the opposite from you - hint it's probably a big reason why they're not married to your Hubby any more! So even though you see great things happening with kids in your new routine - let Mom figure it out on her own. Or maybe she will ask your Hubby for help and HE can offer some suggestions. Ultimately unless your kids life is in danger - they'll survive living in two very different households! Believe me - I've got a few!
Don't sweat what you can't change - concentrate on what you can change!