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Embrace the Evil

Since the dawn of divorce there have been step-parents and step-children.  Few figures in history, however, are as vilified as the step-mother.  One has to wonder what terrible things the mother figures in poor little Walt Disney’s childhood were guilty of, so deep is his hatred of all things motherly.

Cartoon villains notwithstanding, it seems the role of step-mother was almost created for doing evil.  Children who are not your own are suddenly either demanding your attention or shunning it.  As the new woman in their father’s life, you’re either the new toy or she who must be destroyed.  If you happen to fall into the former category, well chin-chuks and attagirls all around! We’re the lucky ones.

For you poor, beleaguered creatures who fall into the latter category, fear not poppets, Smumzie is here to help.  And we say – if you’re taking heat and being labeled “The Wicked Step-mother,” – embrace it.

Few things in life are as rewarding as helping to mold a little soul, to teach life skills, or – as fate would have it – to corrupt fragile little minds.

Why, I remember a time not so long ago, when Skiddle complained that Mother was forcing her to shower at night because she didn’t want Skiddle to wake her up early in the morning with (gasp!) the noise of the blow dryer.

Neither tantrum, nor crying, nor threat of ignoration could convince Mother to permit a morning grooming ritual.  Poor Skiddle was at her wits end and naturally, she came to us for some words of wisdom.  We sat the innocent little darling down and demonstrated the error of her ways.

Tears?  Tiresome.

Tantrums?  Passé.

Ignoration?  Depending on the situation, perhaps a welcome opportunity to actually get something done.

Not much can be done with a Mother who simply says, “No,” and walks away.  Make no mistake, Smumzie feels that a firm, “Because I said so,” can be very effective when used properly.  A Mother who starts to defend her position with excuses, however, has opened the door for negotiation.  And this, dear Smummies, is where your influence can have a profound effect on your precious little skiddlings.

“Ask Mother again for the opportunity,” We suggested after allowing Skiddle to bask in the warmth of our enchanted embrace for a few precious moments of bonding.

“When she says, “No,” ask her why.  ”Because you’ve already discussed this before, she’ll have had the opportunity to fine tune her argument.  Amateur Mothers will simply replay the previous excuses and expect them to suddenly work this time.  A Clever Mother will have used the time since you last discussed the issue to devise what she feels is the ultimate answer and she’ll blast it out immediately.

“Either way, pay close attention as she gives her excuse.  When her voice starts to rise and she’s just about to lose it, say, “Ok, thanks,” and walk away.  Five minutes later, re-approach her and say, “Mom, I think it’s time we talked about birth control.”

Then, little mignon, sit back and enjoy the fireworks.  When she’s done, say, “There now, doesn’t the timing of my shower seem like such a small thing in comparison?’’  Pat her hand reassuringly and walk away, happy in the knowledge that you’re helping Dear Mother to learn some new life skills.

That’s all the time we have for today, dear readers.  But never fear, Smumzie has so much more to say about negotiation and conflict resolution and how you can help your very own skiddles learn how to navigate through life.

Now don’t you feel good?  I do.

Cheers!

Smumzie

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