* Drama-free Zone

OK, I'm happy to report that there will be no lawsuits or court battles or official nastiness. The kids are already asking to come to our house, and Pa bought them all Halloween costumes this week. But you can be sure that when we see them next, we'll be having some discussions about trust and honesty.

I've learned a couple of lessons from this ordeal. First, I need to stop letting my husband's ex get to me. Experience shows that she likes to stir up emotions and create conflicts, but she seldom follows through on her worst threats (even when she does, her lawyer has more sense than she does). I can't give her power over my own happiness. Second, I need to be more relaxed about my relationship with my stepkids. I started out on really good footing with them, but lately I've been pushing more discipline on them and I don't think they're ready for that. I need to back off and let my husband handle the discipline whenever possible. Finally, both Pa and I need to establish some clear house rules so there is no longer any question as to what the expectations are for all children at our house, including Hercules.

When I started this blog, I promised myself that I wouldn't discuss my stepchildren. I finally violated this rule due to my building frustrations and need to VENT. Unfortunately, the issues surrounding my stepchildren have been consuming most if not all of my emotional energies for this past year. It has been the biggest single strain on my marriage. I have considered divorce on more than one occasion solely due to my inability to cope with my stepkids and their mother. Fortunately, my husband is willing to do the hard work when it comes to communicating and negotiating a peace. He often encourages me to get away on weekends when the kids come over, single-handedly taking on all 6 kids on his own, without even flinching. I am lucky to have him.

My stepkids challenge me because the primary influence in their lives is their mother, and she is an extremely dysfunctional individual. Divorce and remarriage are hard on kids and I didn't expect this adjustment to be easy for them. But I know that she is only making it more difficult by encouraging them to rebel against their father as well as myself. In their eyes, their mother is a saint and their father is the cause of all their troubles. She is building a steady campaign of anger and resentment towards him. She subscribes to a victim complex in which it is better to assign blame and feign helplessness than to take responsibility for your situation and actively seek to improve on it. Therefore, when I try to impose my values on her children, they only resent me more because I actually hold them responsible for their choices. It's very difficult for me to accept the fact that I have very little control over how they choose to see their world and interact with others. I am already witnessing the pychological damage that she is inflicting on her kids, and I only foresee more deep-seated emotional issues for them, and the fact that I may not be able prevent it drives me to insanity.

I am a problem-solver. I like to take a bad situation and make it better. I'm very, very good at it, too. I'm beginning to think that the big lesson for me here is that control is an illusion. Some things are simply beyond my power to control, and I need to accept that without giving in to despair. Lately, I have been giving in far too much to despair when really, this is only one small aspect of my life. There are so many good things in my life that I'm grateful for, I really shouldn't allow a singular issue to blot out the rest.

So with that, I will return to our regularly scheduled programming of tales of Hercules. I'm happy to report that life with Hercules has been pretty quiet these days. He's starting to look like your everyday, happy little boy. I must be doing something right! So let's leave all the drama behind and resume our Herculean anecdotes, shall we? I've got more good news to share, so I need to wrap up this post and start a new post for the good stuff.

Here's a photo I took of Hercules on the trail this weekend. I'll be posting some more in the next week or so. Oh, and guess what Hercules is going to be for Halloween? A ninja, of course! Photos of that soon to come, too!

Posing on the trail


Anonymous Kari said...

What a great lookin' kid!

(Hang in there on the other stuff...)

10/31/2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger fiercelyfab said...

that's beautiful shot. I hear you on not allowing a single situation jade the rest of the greatness in your life.

11/01/2005 9:24 AM  
Anonymous reneemay said...

thanks, ladies! your encouragement really does me good:)

11/01/2005 10:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey renee. I was surprised to read that the "troubles" entry because I didn't even have a clue that was going on.
I'm sory to hear that she is being such an instigator. I don't want to say to much on here, but I have a lot of respect for you in dealing with the the whole situation, not just the lice battle, but the stepchild battle.
I used to be the rebellious child that thought my father was the one to hated, and my mother was the saint. Though my mother didn't instigate it as much, I was the same way the kids act towards you now, and to my dad as well.
Its pitiful that we cannot show them what is really going on, but hopefully they will come to terms with the situation like I did. Everytime I come over when the kids are there, I see the exact attitude I once had. Oh, man it sucks, and it may take years to change, it did for me. but surely they will come around.

11/08/2005 9:35 PM  
Blogger BeautifulLegacy said...

I was just surfing the blogs and ran across yours. Great pictures of Hercules!

I can feel your pain with an ex, my friend is going through stuff and she has resolved to stay out of the discipline of the stepson. It's sad what a person (esp. a mother) will do to manipulate kids.

12/05/2005 6:15 AM  
Anonymous Renee May said...

Thanks, Beautiful! Glad you enjoyed the photos. Exes, divorce, and remarriage can be pretty messy, but let's hope that time will heal all wounds, eh?

12/06/2005 8:22 AM  

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