I’ve heard about step parents being jealous of their spouse’s children, but I never thought it would happen to me.
I’m not talking about the so-called “expected” stuff, like when Mykl takes the girls on a Daddy/Daughter date. Those are awesome, and I frequently encourage him to make more time for those dates. While he's connecting one-on-one, I usually take our other kids out to the park to play or something else fun so he can focus his time without feeling guilty that someone is left out.
Their regular bedtime routine excludes me and Levi, and that’s totally fine, too. Mykl brings the girls downstairs and spends time tucking them in and reading to them each night. I don’t mind that at all. Usually Levi is already in bed and after I say goodnight to the girls, I take advantage of the time he’s down there with them for a little bit of quiet “me” time, either reading a book or watching a show on TV.
No, I’m talking about the jealously that creeps up on you after a while, the kind that you don’t even realize you’re feeling until it’s already under your skin.
This week has been tough for me. Mykl & I have been getting on each other’s nerves daily, and we’ve really been struggling to get back in sync. I think I’ve finally pinpointed part of the reason why, and it’s something I’m totally ashamed to admit.
I’m jealous of the girls.
Life is busy for us right now. We have some big changes going on in our family. The girls are moving farther away from us with their mom, and Mykl is starting a new job. We’re wrapping up the summer at warp speed trying to prepare for these changes. The result is that we’re both busy and not making enough time for each other.
Here’s the thing about jealousy. I don’t think anyone TRIES to let that emotion sneak in. I don’t think anyone wants to feel that way, especially about people they love. I know I certainly don’t.
The best explanation I can put into words is that I feel left out. I know it’s temporary, and I know once all these changes are in place, we’ll figure out a new routine and settle into it and all will be well. Mykl and I are really good about communicating openly about our feelings, and responding to each other’s needs, so I’m sure this is just a natural part of the process.
It still sucks.
There are only so many hours in the day and so many days in the week. Giving the upcoming move, I’ve been encouraging Mykl to spend even more quality time with the girls than usual. That time has to come from somewhere. He still has client deadlines to meet and work to get done. We still have a household to run. It’s inevitable that something is going to take a hit, and lately, that’s been our time together.
As we get through this transition, I know some of that struggle will continue. You can’t always balance work and life and family and kids and significant others equally. There will always be give and take.
Right now our focus is on the girls, which is where it SHOULD be. I think we’re doing that right. We’re spending time with them individually and as a family. We’re making the most of the time we have left before they move.
Next we’ll be focusing on Mykl’s transition into his new job. We’ll be adjusting our routines and getting everything for that in place.
Throughout all of this, we’re continuing to work with Levi on some issues he’s been having at school. We’re also focusing on co-parenting with Jason (Levi's dad) and continuing to be consistent between both households.
Somewhere in all of this, Mykl and I will find each other again and make our connection more solid. It’s weird to feel disconnected, but I know it won’t last forever.
I guess I just needed to put my feelings out there so I could examine them on paper and remind myself that jealousy is normal and temporary and I’m dealing with it in all the right ways. And maybe if anyone else has experienced this, they’ll know they’re not alone.