Being a parent is no easy task. The biggest problem in becoming a parent is realising we don’t really know whom we are raising. We can instil the best of our knowledge, the kindest manners, and provide the best education to our children and in the end, it comes down to the choices that child wants to make for him or herself.
As a stepparent, you come into the post-divorce messed up parental equation realising that you don’t know squat about the children or their past. You could rely on the parents (the person you are dating and their counter part) but ultimately, you are just collecting data that is based, primarily on the opinion of a loving parent who genuinely wants the best for their child, a child you are taking on whether you want to or not.
I have been fortunate… well, let’s be honest, my children have been fortunate. The two fathers that helped to create these really cool kids chose women that I don’t have to worry or stress over. There is nothing inappropriate that has taken place. No tears or anxiety follow my children home after spending time with their dads and step-mums. These two women outshined me as a step-mum, for certain. Though I remedied my wrongs and foul errors as a step-mum they still outdid me in that department. Where were they when I was a step-mum???
I am grateful that the two women who agreed to a life with the fathers of my children have such a desire to be in my children’s lives. They not only show as much commitment to their husbands but respect for my position in my kidlets’ lives. Neither of these women has attempted to run me out of my parental role or make my life difficult by brain washing or flipping the children against me. I have heard horror stories and honestly, I am glad I don’t have to worry about power struggling with someone who doesn’t want power – just to be included.
The step-mums in my life know how I feel, hopefully. They know I slip up and talk out of bounds and they both know they have permission to remind me of that. I don’t always like to hear it but that quick cashing of the reality check is what I need sometimes to bring my head out of the “mumma bear clouds” and back to the present situation.
Many women would be upset and be putting down a superiority gauntlet detailing what step-mum can and can’t do and I just won’t do that. I don’t like everything that these women do in their homes but I bet they don’t like everything I do either. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as we put the children first. After all, we are bonded through them.
So, for the step-mums in my children’s lives, I have this to say to you:
1. So, far, you have found where you fit as “mum” in your home in terms of the kids – thank you! My kids appreciate you and have generated a special place in their heart for you and that means something to me because heaven forbid, should I not be here one day you go from the best supporting role to best primary role.
2. Your relationship with the kidlets is between you and them. I will positively foster that relationship as much as I can from my home.
Listen: Ever heard of birds-nest parenting? We deep-dive on the trend, on our podcast for imperfect parents, This Glorious Mess. Post continues after audio.
3. Pride in terms of the kids is yours to enjoy and mine to enjoy. It is easy to share the more stressing or difficult responsibilities of parenting and it is challenging to share the moments of pride when it comes to the special moments. A sense of pride, in terms of the children, is not something we share but something we create within ourselves based on the breadth of the relationship with each individual child. So, share the pride and joy with me – the more the merrier for the children’s sake!
4. I don’t hate you and I won’t! You have chemistry with a man that I don’t and, while that might upset most women I see it as a positive. These kids need to see positive healthy relationships at home. Healthy relationships within and between the parental units outweigh staying married to avoid stigmas.