28 Jul

Have you made a U-turn?



NMKNMP is internet shorthand for “Not my kid, not my problem”.  Have you heard yourself utter those words?  

NMKNMP is like its own little city.  For some of us, it’s a place that we arrive when we’re driving aimlessly between the cities of “What I Say Doesn’t Matter” (population: 1-YOU) and “Wasn’t Blending Supposed to Be Easy?”  (population: 1 million).  We arrive at NMKNMP completely defeated because we’ve come to the conclusion that our input about what goes on in our stepchildren’s lives means nothing.  

For others, it’s a place that we come to as giddy as we would be about a bucket full of cash and a weekend in Las Vegas.  We’re overflowing with the new-found freedom that we’ve discovered after learning the steps to the “Stepmother Stepback”.    We arrive, unpack our suitcases and hit the pool. 

I got to NMKNMP because I took what I thought was a wrong turn.  I tried for three years to blend our families, without much success.  I was frustrated and kept wondering what I was doing wrong.  I came from a blended family, had children of my own, and naïvely thought, “This should be easy!”   Ha! I had no idea what I was up against.  After reading “Stepmonster” and a few very teary conversations with DH, I knew I needed to head in a different direction. With total support from DH, I declared that I needed to stop encouraging the blending of the family like an overenthusiastic cheerleader.  I needed to concentrate on myself, my relationship with DH and my own children.  I needed to do the “Stepmom Stepback” and fast.  

So I did.  

It was easy to take a U-turn since my stepdaughters are EOW, but I still felt guilty.  I had to hang up my Super Stepmom cape in the closet and that’s not an easy thing to do for this overachiever. But ultimately, it turned out to be the best thing for our family.  DH has total responsibility of his two oldest daughters on his weekends.  He manages their meals, their bedtimes and whether or not they brush their teeth or change their clothes.  When we first got together, those were some of the day-to-day issues that he left for me to manage.  It made perfect sense to the both of us because I was managing my three children as well.  But now, what gets done and what doesn’t get done, is his responsibility and honestly, he’s done a great job at stepping up to the plate.  All that’s left for me to do is show them love while they’re here and let me tell you, that’s a very refreshing place to be.  Battles over clothing?  Not my kid, not my problem.  Battles over meals?  Not my kid, not my problem.  Don’t want to go on a family outing?  That’s okay, I’ll take my three kids and you can catch up when and if you feel like it. 

I found myself in the city of NMKNMP thinking that I wasn’t going to like the accommodations but found that once I had checked in and unpacked my bags that the amenities were quite nice.  My stepdaughters were being taken care of by their father, who’s really discovering his own parenting style after leaving the “dirty work” to his ex-wife (for the last 9 years) and me (for the last 4 years).  No longer did I feel guilty about not trying harder to blend the family.  And best of all, my relationship with DH is better because I’m not so stressed out every other weekend.  

What about you?  Have you arrived at NMKNMP?  How did you get here?  What do you like and dislike about it? 

4 Responses to “NMKNMP”

  1. Syn July 29, 2010 at 4:59 am #

    I’ve been in the NMKNMP city before! I’ve also been in the “not my ex, not my problem” even more often!


  2. Erin July 29, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    I’m giddy just a the usage of the phrase “Stepmom Stepback” 🙂

    I’m an overachiever, a people pleaser and a former martyr myself so it was difficult to step back and watch what felt like a slow motion car wreck on the way to Your Kids, Your Problem.

    Having done it, though, I can’t believe how much better — how whole — I feel now that I’ve stepped back and let my husband and his ex-wife parent their children.

    I feel like the best version of me now, which is something I struggled with for a long time.

    I remember some of the ladies in the Stepmom Posse tell me that that stepping back is a process and that it may feel uncomfortable at times. It did feel awful for a moment, just like any change does, but in the end everything worked out.

    I encourage all stepmoms that stress out over their stepkids’ problems to make a beeline for NMKNMP ASAP!!!

    • BioStep July 29, 2010 at 10:31 pm #

      As always, I love it when you comment on my posts! I neglected to add my links when I posted, so I finally added the link to your blog post about the Stepmom Stepback!!

  3. Life of a Stepmama July 29, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Love this, and I visit this city at times when necessary but also the not my ex- not my problem city as well. I am a full time resident there. Hubbs does a great job with his son and on a day to day basis gets him up, dresses him, brushes his teeth fixes hair that sort of thing. I do the occasional bathroom duty when needed, and I fix his meals. He is 3 so I think he views us as people he has to listen to but he does a much better job listening to his daddy then to me. I think he is still trying to figure out who I am to him at time. Love the post!

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