We used to talk constantly. We were chatting on Messenger, texting, and/or emailing basically all day everyday. We took the girls (my stepdaughter and her other daughter) out for play dates, I swung by her house with coffee, and she attended my wedding reception. Hell, she even lived with me for 3 months.
Many of you told me I lived in a fairy tale, my situation was unrelatable, and I couldn’t possibly help stepmoms if I could be so close with such an understanding bio mom. Others put us on a pedestal and deemed us #goals.
Things were so easy once. We shared secrets, we leaned on each other, and we brought out the best in one another.
And yet, one day, I looked up and realized, I’m not best friends with bio mom anymore.
The Day I Realized I was not Best Friends with Bio Mom Anymore
It was Halloween, and I was hiding in my bathroom, conveniently taking a shower at the exact time my stepdaughter was being dropped off from trick or treating with her mom’s family.
I was equally angry, confused, and sad. I was disappointed that our co-parenting was starting to resemble parallel parenting more and more each day, I was salty that we couldn’t share the trick-or-treating experience since it wasn’t “our year” (we had all celebrated together before), and I was devastated that my stepdaughter uninvited me from also attending her field trip because “It’s Mommy’s first time and I want it to be special.” (I’m certain she doesn’t even know this last one happened, but discouraging nonetheless.)
My thoughts were increasingly high-conflict, I was retreating from my other relationships, and it felt as if everything was out of my control.
Then I got over myself and picked up the phone. She probably wasn’t even home from drop-off yet, that’s how soon after I realized something had to change. I had to change.
I texted her and said that I had been really struggling and that I missed my friend. Could we get together and chat? And I meant every single word of it. I did miss that friendship; things were so much easier when we got along. I need to talk things out. I’m an over-communicator (just ask my husband) and I process my feelings by talking through them.
A day later, she responded after what I’m sure was a lot of thought and prayer and told me she just wasn’t ready for that yet.
And that’s the day I realized I was not best friends with bio mom anymore.
And you know what? It’s okay!
It’s completely her right to deny my request to chat. She doesn’t owe me a relationship, and we aren’t the ones who need to co-parent; that’s my husband’s responsibility. We certainly aren’t required to be best friends. That was just a bonus. The true point of our relationship is to care for a child that we each have time with, the very best we can.
Every relationship on the face of the earth has ebbs and flows.
If you tell me that you’ve never fought with your best friend, call me in a year. If you say your relationship with your partner has never experienced a disagreement, I’m calling BS. Every relationship has seasons.
We had our high-conflict season during our court battle. We had our best friend season. And now we’re in a co-existing instead of co-parenting season.
Does that mean I don’t care about her or that now I speak poorly of her to my stepdaughter? Of course not! It simply means that she and I don’t have a close relationship today.
Our current chapter doesn’t take away from those prior chapters. I have fond memories of those play dates, our time as business partners, and those inside jokes that no one else will ever appreciate.
Moral of the Story
If you’ve gone from sharing a bottle of wine with bio mom to hiding from her at drop off, it happens more often than you think, and you are not alone.
If you found yourself discouraged because you haven’t become best friends with bio mom, take comfort in the fact it’s entirely possible to successfully co-parent with someone that you’re not best friends with.
My beautiful, kind stepdaughter is being raised in two homes that love her very much. She isn’t damaged or broken because her mom and I aren’t best friends.
My worth as a stepmom is not defined by my friendship with bio mom, my value to my family is not lessened because of that loss, and my self-worth will not come at the cost of it either. This is a season, this is not where the story ends.
Stay tuned mamas,