Just entering this step parenting thing, I began revisiting my old copy of Cinderella and other classics to explore what a bad step parent is so that I may avoid the stigma. Here is what I came up with.
- Don’t lock them in towers or they will consort with animals and overthrow you.
- Don’t deny them access to the ball or stand in the way of the Prince.
- If they want to scrub floors and sing, by all means don’t make their job harder.
- Don’t make them bring you coffee or tea in bed. There is often a mouse under the cup.
- Don’t let them wander in the woods alone.
- Mr. Disney has a very depressing view on step parents.
I was fixing my hair yesterday when the 6 year old boy wandered in. I made a little small talk with him about his new room and rocking dinosaur sheets. I was trying to find out what other items I could put in his room that would make it feel more like his home when he blurted out, “You are now my stepmom. What is that?”
“Well, I married your dad”
“I *know* that (insert suffered sigh from 6 yo) but what is it?”
Unlike my daughters who do not have a father here on Earth anymore, these boys have a mother. Losing or having their mother replaced is not what anybody wants, but how do I explain a “step parent”
“Being your step mom means that I am choosing to make you as important to me as her (pointing to my 6yo daughter) Being your step mom means that I will choose to love you no differently than my daughters. Being your step mom means I will choose to do the same for you as I do my daughters. I don’t love any of you more or less than the other. Being your step mom means I choose you.”
He shrugged his shoulders and acknowledged he got it and wandered back off to play.
I hope he gets it, because its deep in its theory. I barely get it. I’m just doing what I can to follow the rules I learned from Disney. Don’t treat them as though they are not important regardless of birth.
As I stand at the stove and serve up 8 dishes of food, I look at the 8 faces around me.
3 of them I held at birth. 3 of them I know like the back of my hand.
They are part of me.
5 of them I haven’t known for long. 5 of them I am just learning.
They are part of me.
I’m not here to replace their mother. I am here to honor the type of mother they need me to be when they need me to be it.
It’s not going to be easy, but it will always be entertaining at the least. With 8 children and 3 puppies, there are going to be issues. I just pray that I always let an issue be my teacher and not my definition.
Just as in parenting/step-parenting…I enter 2012 with that resolution. To be open to be taught. To let the bumps and bruises that are bound to happen be my lessons, not my definition. To be just what I am needed to be when I am needed to be it. To be a mother to all eight and be enough to each one of them. To answer when I am called and to give more than required in all aspects of my life.