Mom and stepmom co-parent harmoniously – it’s a marriage package deal

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother.” I used to spend a lot of time fantasizing about the man I’d marry, the children we’d have, and the life we’d have together when I was younger. My mother always predicted that I would marry an older man, but I never imagined marrying a man 16 years my senior, with four children and an ex-wife. Who would concoct such a scenario for their fantasy life in their right mind? Never in a million years would I have predicted that that ex-wife would one day move in with us and become an integral part of our family’s daily routine.

Courtesy of Elisha Beach

You can certainly assume that many people find it difficult to comprehend the reality that my husband, myself, and his ex-wife, Tracey, share a home. People often ask, “How did that happen?” when I explain our living situation or introduce her to someone, and it’s pretty entertaining. People will understand why this makes sense for us after learning more about me and our family dynamics.

Courtesy of Elisha Beach

When I was 12 years old, my parents divorced. Based on what I knew about divorce, I was frightened of what my sister, brother, and I would face if we divorced. Despite their hurt and fury, my parents fought extremely hard to ensure that it had as little impact on me and my brothers as possible. My father relocated to our first family home, which was only a short bike ride from where my siblings and I lived with our mother. We stayed with my father on weekends, but our everyday routines remained largely unchanged. My mother continued to drop us off at school, and my father proceeded to pick us up. He’d drive us home and inquire about our homework or projects. My father would still come over for a family lunch now and then, we shared holidays, and both of my parents attended all of our events to show their support.

Courtesy of Elisha Beach

Considering everything, our new family structure worked out rather well until my father remarried. I had graduated from high school and relocated to another city. Still, it was evident that the addition of his new wife had thrown a kink in what we had established as a family following the divorce. It’s never simple for a kid of divorce to negotiate the relationship between divorced parents. When a second wife or husband is thrown into the mix, it can lead to even more issues and miscommunication. And in many cases, it is the children who are forced to make allowances for the judgments made by the adults.

My parents’ divorce taught me that it was possible to respond with love and respect even in the face of a tough and uncomfortable situation. But I also realized that when I married my husband, his ex-wife and children were included in the box. I never wanted to be the one to cause a rift between any of them as a stepmom. There was never a period when Tracey wasn’t in the picture, and I acknowledged and respected that. And the simpler we can make it for each other, the better it will be for everyone, especially the children. I had no idea how far we could push it.

When I met my husband, neither of us intended to be in a long-term relationship. I was young and just starting my adult life, and he was a father of four with a soon-to-be ex-wife.

Courtesy of Elicia Beach

The only thing we had in common was that we both wanted to have a good time. That fun eventually led me to meet his children a year later and relocate to Los Angeles with him. I met his ex-wife Tracey a few years later and married him six years later. Tracey has been transparent and polite with me since the beginning, even when things have been difficult. She always gave me the freedom to form my relationships with her four children, and I tried to help her in any way I could. Our friendship got tighter and more supportive over time, especially as I had my children. As a stepmom, I developed a better awareness of my responsibilities.

Courtesy Of Elisha Beach

However, most people are baffled about how we went from living in separate families to sharing a home. It wasn’t precisely planned for my husband’s ex-wife to move in with us. It began as a temporary arrangement as she and her girls moved out of an apartment. Although we have gotten along reasonably well over the years, I was concerned about how living under the same roof might affect our relationship. However, as we grew accustomed to our new living environment, things seemed to gradually transform into a perfect living condition for all parties involved. My husband was working in Canada when she moved in with us, and we had recently obtained custody of our oldest child due to a family emergency. Tracey’s children were all adults, and the three girls had recently decided to live independently. I found out I was pregnant with our fourth kid not long after that.

Courtesy of Elisha Beach

I felt overwhelmed and alone, and she had been a stay-at-home mom for 30 years and was about to become an empty nester. We had no idea that we were about to become each other’s best allies. She was there for me in ways I didn’t even realize I needed because she just got it–from cooking family meals to simply being a normal, sensible adult with whom I could communicate. She knew precisely how it felt to be in my shoes, and she gently stepped in to help me. She also had a sense of being supported.

We have eight children between us, with four of the younger ones living with us. My spouse works as an actor and frequently travels for work with little notice or preparation, and even when he isn’t traveling, he works long and irregular hours. Tracey and I both wanted to be full-time stay-at-home moms, but the hectic schedule that comes with being married to an actor makes it tough to have a full-time nanny because we don’t always need them. When it comes to any additional support, we may require with children, we want to keep to family and close loved ones. As a result, we decided to become each other’s support system.

We consider ourselves as one big family when it comes down to it. We do this family thing together as one unit at holidays, birthdays, celebrations, life events, and even everyday life! There is no distinction between her and us. We are always the ones in charge. Whatever you want to call it: extended family, mixed family, or whatever you want to call it. The most important thing is that we have one other’s backs.

Tracey has shown me a tremendous amount of respect and acceptance, and I have the utmost respect and admiration for her. My children adore her, and she treats them as if they were her own. They even refer to her as “ex-mom,” which we find amusing. And when it comes to my wonderful stepchildren, I’ve been quite fortunate. We’ve been such a great support system for one other over the years that we’ve started calling each other ‘sister-wife.’ And I’m not sure any of us would want things any other way at this time.”

Courtesy of Elisha Beach

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