Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A Letter to the Future Mrs. X
A girlfriend and I had a long lunch with cocktails the other day. The topic du jour was being a Mrs. X –you know….the woman who marries your X who without fail will be criticized about everything from her parenting skills to her nail polish color to the number on the bathroom scale. We all hope the new Mrs. X will be dumb as a box of rocks, have a behind the size of Texas and, of course, make our X miserable so he will finally learn what a SOB he is/was.
In reality, we should pine away for the perfect woman – someone who will be pleasant to talk to at family functions…..someone with a sense of humor so when Junior shows up at their house with his latest ant farm project and proceeds to drop said project on the floor shattering an ant world all over her kitchen……she won’t commit homicide….. We should want someone good to our children and who treats them with dignity and respect……..
It’s a stinky job…..being the Mrs. X. You inherit all of the family disfunction….not just your own, but your Man’s, too. You not only inherit his family, his kids, the dog, the goldfish and the Bob Marley album collection---you also inherit his X…..let me repeat that…..yes, you inherit his X—who most probably will hate you till the day she dies.
My X is getting married this summer. The new wifey isn’t exactly who I would pick to be the step-mom in my kids' lives…..but I wasn’t actually consulted…..and quite honestly, if I chose…..I would probably pick someone with the above qualities…..you know….dumb as a box of rocks and someone at LEAST a jeans size larger than me…..maybe even two…. BUT, in the spirit of charity, the Easter Bunny, spring lambs and April Fools day, I am giving the future Mrs. X a little help….just a little.
Dear Future Mrs. X:
I know you are madly in love with my X---I know right now everything is all tulips and sunshine and I genuinely hope that you two will be eternally happy….etc. etc. etc. Being a step-mom and dealing with me will not be a walk in the park……I apologize in advance. If the X and I could deal with our dysfunction properly…..well….he wouldn’t be my X…… Here are a few tips to make your life a bit easier as the new Mrs. X.
Treat my children kindly and with respect. This is non-negotiable. Feel free to enforce your house rules, but know that there is a line.
At family functions, talk to my kids…..engage with them. Find out what they like and who they are…..they are pretty good kids…..I know they remind you of my existence and of a life you weren’t a part of…..but embrace it because they aren’t going anywhere.
Don’t try to drive a wedge between my X and our kids. Don’t badmouth their mother……..I have heard that she can go from zero to psycho in about 15 seconds……so keep your thoughts about my life to yourself and to your hubbie….don’t speak of them to my children.
When you see me, be polite. It’s a scary thing being around the former Mrs. X….. I have been there….but remember, there are many weddings, graduations, birthday parties, and births to attend…… Better yet, bring a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses---we will probably both need a drink.
Encourage my X to spend time with his children…..make some new traditions (just don’t make them conflict with mine---remember that zero to psycho comment). Include them in your plans.
And lastly, be patient….it takes more time that you ever thought for kids to warm up to the newbie. It takes more time than it should. But if you invest in their lives, you will eventually get a return.
All the best,