Ex Etiquette?: Sharing Mother's Day When Your Kid Has Two Moms

I share custody of my two children with my ex-husband and, to be honest, his wife, the kids' stepmother. She does take very good care of them when they're at her home '-- and the kids like her. This year, the kids are scheduled to be with their dad on Mother's Day. I want them with me. I'm anticipating a fight because I know she will want them with her. But I'm the Mom! How do we handle this?

As a rule of thumb, if divorced parents can swing it, I always suggest that the kids be with Mom on Mother's Day and Dad on Father's Day. But, when kids get close to their stepparents, the back-and-forth associated with Mother's Day and Father's Day can be almost as troublesome as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Ironically, Mother's Day originated as a day of peace. In 1872, overcome by the sufferings of war, Julia Ward Howe wrote a proclamation suggesting that mothers come together to stop the conflict. A noble thought, to be sure. She could not have anticipated that her day of peace would someday actually initiate conflict. But ask any mom at odds with her child's stepmother and she'll tell you that if there is conflict between the two women, it is more apparent on Mother's Day. Sharing the day does not come naturally.

The concept of sharing our children, in general, does not come naturally, especially with an ex-spouse who has infuriated us in the past. Then he remarries and, to add insult to injury, the kids may actually like his new wife. Now you share your children's time and affection with not only their other parent, but with his new spouse as well. Many have confessed, "It just doesn't seem fair."

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