Friday, November 11, 2011

Sometimes thinks things were easier before she started reading Step-Mom stuff

Sometimes, I think my journey of step mom was so much easier when I didn't read the Step mom stuff on line.  What stuff do I mean?  Magazines, blogs, websites, facebook pages, support groups. . . you name it, all marketing toward the strange life of the step mom.  I read so much contradictory information about what is and is not appropriate. 

When I first started dating my husband, it seemed so easy.  I am HIS girlfriend and HE happens to have been married before and has two great kids.  I was nothing more than Dad's girlfriend.   Now I'm Dad's wife and a step mom.  Research shows that remarriages with children are 71% likely to end in divorce.  I'll be honest, I think I was better off when I didn't know that statistic. 

Some information states that I should butt out no matter what.  After all, these are NOT my children.  I did not create them, and push come to shove, I have NO legal obligation to them.  Other references state that I should work hard to be a partner with the kids Mom.  We should learn to work together and should get along.  

It should be simple but it's just not.   I am fully aware that I will NEVER be the kids mom.  They don't need a  mom, they have a mom already.  What's difficult for me is that my tendency is to mother all children.  It's just my way.  If YOUR kid came to my house, I'd "mother" him or her too.  I'm a kid person and relate well to children. . .thus whyI am in the line of work I am.  The difference? My step kids live with me half the time.  I am not living one of those step parent situations where I only my step children every other weekend or something like that.  I have been in their lives half the year for the past two years.   It's very hard to draw that line and just stop mothering them.  

I know it is very ackward for their Mom to see me at events.  I participate in T-Ball, school programs,  and attend parent-teacher conferences.  Many people will tell you this is wrong or weird or just plain not okay.  My husband asks that I attend and since, I'm not married to kid's mother and she is not my friend, I guess, to be honest, I don't really care if she feels ackward.  The feeling is mutual.  It is ackward for me too. 

Part of me thinks that it would be best for everyone if I just did not participate in things related to the kids.  After all, some of the research states this is what should happen since I am not their mother.  Yet, I would feel very sad if this were to happen and so would my husband.  The kids and I have a good relationship and they have stated they miss me when I am not around.  So, I am guessing they would be upset if I did not attend things either.

I feel sad for my step children because they did not ask for this.  They did not ask for Mom and Dad to get divorced and to have go back and fourth between houses.  They did not ask for Mom to have boyfriends and for Dad to get remarried.  I work very hard to be sensitive all the feelings involved. . and this is part of the complexity that my world has become.

Here is a blog I enjoy. . . and speaks to the complexity of the step parenting issue:


Step Parenting with Grace said...

Every stepfamily is different and you don't have to model your stepfamily after someone else's. It's okay to be involved in your stepchildren's lives - that's how you bond with them. I like to look at it as being an additional parent. We're not trying to take the Mom's place but there's never too much love to go around. And just because the stats say that 71% of 2nd marriages fail, doesn't mean yours will. I've been married 16 years the second time. Yes, it was hard in the beginning but it gets easier. Hang in there - the only way we fail as stepparents is when we quit.

Rachie-Babe said...


Thank you for your kind words! They really made my day!!!!

Sue said...

I have nine step-children, six of whom were still at home when my husband and I got married. We are now empty nesters, but the kids have always lived with their dad/us, so not being involved in their lives or simply being their friend were not options I could live with.

In fact, we broke most all the rules about step-families, and for the most part, it worked for us. I'm not saying it's been smooth sailing the whole way, but as far as I'm concerned, it's all about love.

I love them, I want what's best for them, I am there for them as much as I can be. I was the one who made sure they were clean, fed, and clothed. I took them to the doctor, sat with them when they were sick or sad or struggling with one thing or another. I read to them, studied spelling words, helped memorize prayers, made the last-minute trips to school with homework. I made birthday cupcakes for them to take to school, sewed Halloween costumes, and attended every parent-teacher conference, ball game, concert, and play.

My husband's ex came back into their lives a few years after he and I got married, and she has tried (sometimes successfully) to convince the kids (and now the grandkids too) that I am an awful, horrible person, they shouldn't love me, and that loving me takes something away from her. She tells them that I am no relation to them whatsoever--that I am just their dad/grandpa's wife, etc.

She has managed to cause a lot of tension, and my relationships with the kids have suffered some as a result, but I continue to be there for them, and I bite my tongue a lot and tell them constantly how much I love them.

And? I try to focus on something a wise woman (Step Parenting with Grace) recently told me, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men ...." (Colossians 3:23) She reminded me that I was put in my step-children's lives for a reason. She said I may not ever see the rewards for what I do in this life, but God sees what I'm doing and will bless me.

Some days, that's all that keeps me going.

Rachie-Babe said...

Hi Sue! Thank you so much for your words! I appreciate your feedback and feel so much better after reading your comments and Grace's. :-)