Want to hear something funny about being a step mom? Parent teacher interviews. Each year, my stepson's Mom and I head off to student teacher interviews. We usually arrive around the same time and navigate our way through the hallways of our son's school. Usually, it has been a long time between interviews and we always forget how we will be received as two Mom's. Of course we know how close we are as co-parents, and our husbands are content knowing we are handling this detail of school life. We get along great and are generally really happy to see each other. Naively, we often forget how this translates in these modern times to people who don't know us and would expect women in our position to loathe one another, let alone go take care of parent teacher interviews together.
We arrive, sit down, say our "hellos" and introduce ourselves as our son's Moms to a new roster of teachers. Then bam, there it is….."OOOhhh we see, how nice to meet both of you." With the familiar tone of of "oh how special" and an undercurrent of "interesting, a modern family." Although we would love to let the teachers believe this for a moment, we are quick to let them know that we are not lovers, but both heterosexual and genuinely committed to our son's best interest. The teachers then slip from an "oh how interesting and special" to one of genuine confusion as it seems our kind of relationship is even more rare in these modern times than a lesbian one.
The teacher's seem to look for clues to see who is the dominant Mom, and who best to address their comments and criticisms to. They look to our son for some sort of indication, and move on slowly at first to begin this unfamiliar interview. In the end they come to find some comfort assessing that we are equal in our commitment to our son and can be spoken to with confidence knowing their observations will not trigger some sort of hidden domestic dispute.
We of course always giggle at this and enjoy watching the natural course of human behaviour trying to make sense of two Mom's coming together in the best interest of the child. Even funnier, was the most recent set of interviews, when neither of us could go to the meeting and our husbands had to go in our place. They also get along great, and had the chance to experience this strange set of of assumptions. Of course, being radical male kind of guys, any sort of homosexual reference put them in the defensive. They had no idea that two Dad's arriving together would be interpreted as a couple. They had a good laugh as well, and chuckled knowing how great it is our society has evolved to accept all sorts of relationships.
Let's hope the future will include more divorced couples who have risen out of their differences to serve the best interest of their children. We are not perfect, and certainly had our growing pains, but we have learned a great deal about the high road and the pleasure in knowing we have done our best. I encourage all divorced couples to strive to make peace and find joy in the common goal of raising children. I am here to say it can be done.
Getting unbusy on purpose has been a process. I'm here to share some of what I have learned and the tales of its making.
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