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My husband’s girlfriend loves my kids. Ugh.

My husband left me for his girlfriend. They moved in together right away, and she immediately started parenting my kids, as in, refers to them as “my kids” and getting involved in parenting decisions. Half of me feels like I need to remain Zen about it and the other half of me wants to punch her. How can I deal with this? What do I say to my kids?

Here’s how you deal with it: take up smoking, walk behind her on the sidewalk one day, “accidentally” flick your butt in her hair and then scream “FIRE!!!!!!” and run away.

Kidding! Smoking is bad for you. Just set her hair on fire.

The burn here (pun totally intended) is that your husband left you for this woman. If you had divorced, and he found a nice lady who wanted to lovingly parent your children, you would probably be slightly more happy about the situation. Better to have someone who likes them, or even loves them, watching over them and driving them to school each day, than someone who calls them The Assholes and feeds them beef jerky for breakfast. But your husband, with her, tore apart your family and has now set up shop with this other person who now fancies herself Maria Von Trapp.

There is room for both of the feelings you’re having. You don’t say anything to your kids. You say, “Oh, Sally bought you an X-Box and a kitten and is taking you to Disney World? How wonderful.” And then you go in your bedroom and kick the closet door and make a voodoo doll of Sally. But you don’t say anything to the kids. They need a happy home life in both of their homes, and no matter how she got there, Sally is part of the package now. Your job is to be a good mom and a good co-parent with their dad, and to take up some kind of violent sport to work out all of your anger.

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