Hey everyone, just a stranger stopping in to say hello 😉
But really, it has been a while. Things have been really crazy in this little life of mine, nothing that I will bore you with the details of but it has been hard for me to get down to my computer and write a post when things are crazy and my mind is in a place of it’s own.
As I am sure you all can understand.
Today I have had one topic on my mind that will not leave and I am keep getting the feeling that I should write about it, so here I am 🙂
What I am about to talk about it solely based on my experiences. I understand all situations are different and no two have the same outcomes. But this is my story and does not reflect the stories of others.
I don’t know if anyone knows but I am a stepmother and have been for 6 years.. I am not only a stepmother to one kid but four. I made the decision to become a stepmother at the naive age of 19.. and it hasn’t been all dandelions and roses. It has been a rough six years to say the least.
I have always accounted the fact that I was 19 to the reason I chose to marry a man with so much baggage, I strongly believe if I had been older and had more experience in life that I would have turned around and ran away faster than he could say “I do”. At 19 I had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting into, I was the classic “old enough to know better but still too young to care.” And what a blessing it was, had I been older I wouldn’t have known all I was missing out on.
Now, yes, I did say it hasn’t been pretty but I also didn’t say what a wonderful experience it has been as well. Now being a stepmother means that you could ask me every single day the question, “Would you recommend marrying a father, to another woman?” and every time I will have a different answer. A few answers I have given are,
“If they really love that man then yes.”
“Only if he is a widow.”
“Only if they are strong enough to take all the heartache.”
“Yes, the good far out weighs the bad.”
Those are a few I remember saying when the subject of step-parenting is brought up. Now I know I am no expert on step-parenting and I am by no means a psychologist but I have been doing this for a bit and have learned quite a few things along the way.
First things first, like I said, it is very hard. There is a lot of heartbreak and a lot of time spent feeling alone. There are moments where you feel like an outsider, when your husband and his kids are discussing all their memories and you have no idea what they are talking about or when they talk about the children as babies and you feel so heartbroken that you didn’t get to experience it because you love those kids as if they were your own and you wish you could have been there for their whole lives. You also have the moments where you feel like you are nothing more than a glorified babysitter, the parents are working and the kids are left with you.. no big deal right, you love those kids and you love spending time with them.. true, but you also get no credit for doing it and the kids will eventually just want their real parents. Not because they don’t love you but because kids just want their parents, it’s human nature. You will probably feel used and under appreciated eventually too because you are expected to be like a regular parent but no matter how hard you try, you will never be the bio parent and therefore hardly ever get the benefits of being a bio parent.
But,there is also some added benefits. Not being the bio parent also means the kids feel more comfortable to share things with you when they are having a hard time and need a heart to heart. You aren’t their bio parent so they trust you in a completely different way than they do their own parents. You get to enjoy the good things along with the bad things and you get to shape how these humans turn out as adults, but when things don’t go the way they should you can always blame your spouse because “you’re just step-parent” 😉 You also get to have a break from the kids when the stress is getting to be too much. When you have your own children breaks are never required or even expected but as a step-parent, it is required you share your time and on some visitations the breaks are well deserved..
Don’t forget, you also have to co-parent. Co-parenting is probably the hardest thing about divorce. If more couples understood the immensity of co-parenting, I think they would double think the whole divorce thing. It is hard for most bio parents to co-parent so imagine being the step-parent. In my case and probably other cases, the bio parent doesn’t exactly welcome you into their child’s lives with open arms. You will be seen as a threat and therefore be treated as such. You are good enough to do all the things any other parent would do but not good enough to get the respect for it. And because of this you will feel like you aren’t good enough and feel resistance which in turn will cause turmoil in your marriage and your spouse has to play the middle card. The card that requires them to not make the bio parent mad and disrupt the co-parenting but also not upset you and hurt your marriage.
So this leads me to the point of it can be worth it. If you have a love that is greater than the troubles, than you have it made. The most important lesson that I have learned in my experiences of being a step-parent is that, you will have bad days but you have good ones too. At the end of the day, when my marriage is better than the step-parent troubles then I know it could be worse.
My marriage will always rise to the troubles and as long as I know that then I know that it is worth it.
When I feel less than or second best, I look at my spouse and know that I am not.
When I feel under appreciated or used, I look at my family and see the happiness in their faces and know that it’s not true.
No matter what trials I face, I know that my husband loves me and appreciates everything I do and even if the kids don’t see it, one day they will.
So if you are contemplating being a step-parent, you should know. It’s not for everyone. It is hard and you have to work at it. Some days you will feel like you can’t make it through anymore, but in order to overcome that you need to know that you have a spouse that loves you more than anything in this world. You will have to make your own self confidence and know that your marriage is worth it. If you can’t do that, then run. But if you can then embrace the struggle and feel the warmth of the love.