I love my family…my big chaotic blended family. Hear me though when I say that Step Parenting sucks. Especially when you have several kids added in that are the same ages as your natural born kids.
Your kids are used to you and you are used to them. You know about 99% of what to expect from them as children and what is the “parent/child relationship.” Like it or not, they know all your buttons and what is cool or what is going to make you flip out.
Then you get step kids. They are not used to you and you aren’t used to them. Just as mentioned above: You DO know about 99% of what to expect from them as children and what is the adult/child relationship; but you might as well chuck all that out the window. It’s not going to fly.
My husband and I have already faced the “YOU AREN’T MY MOM/DAD” and I have to reign in the sarcastic response of “Well I know that…I don’t have stretch marks with your name on it.” Kids just don’t get sarcasm….well, unless you are one of my natural born children who have grown up with it.
My husband has a unique situation that I don’t face. There is no co-parent waiting in the wings for their turn. My children have fully accepted him as “Daddy” until he does something they don’t like…then he has to compete with a ghost of a memory. I feel sorry for him because the children’s “Ghost Dad” has turned out to be a fantastic creation of the best dad that ever walked the Earth.
My situation…the mom is on this Earth and we “mother” differently.
This is where I have had to recondition myself as a parent and it sucks. It’s mothering without being a mother but being a mother; yet not their mother. (ouch…my head)
It’s disciplining without being the direct disciplinarian. Allowing the step children to know that I will enforce and support the rules/guidelines that have been put forth to them by their father and mother. Its sticking to my original rules and discipline techniques with my children and trying to not let them see that there is a difference as I try not to step on the toes of the other mother. It’s letting the stepchildren know that I acknowledge that their mother lets them do “x” but its not something we do in this house.
Its acknowledging that through no choice of theirs, their lives have been shuffled like a deck of cards. All the cards are there, but their mixture is different each time. How can we possibly expect them to know what’s going to happen next or who they will be with next when we don’t know ourselves from day to day? How can we expect them to be secure in the relationships around them when they have changed so much?
It’s trying to patient at the blatant defiance and see it as an opportunity to work on building a relationship of realistic expectations. It’s not even natural for the children to want us to be the new “Dad” or “Mom”…they haven’t known us that long, how could they possibly desire that type of intimate relationship with us? Relationships take time, moments that boundaries are tested and the showing of a desire to stick it through no matter how ugly it gets. My expectation with my stepchildren? That they honor and trust me enough to come to me if they need to. That they know that I made a choice to have them in my house and accepted them as a part of my life. I don’t expect them to love me and I will treat them no different if they never do. That’s it.
It’s trying to provide a sense of stability within our house while its unstable and always changing as we deal with the roles each adult is responsible for.
It’s him being pitted against “Ghost Dad”
It’s me being pitted against “Real Mom”
It’s obviously loving the children I gave birth to more, but trying everything not to show that. I’ve had time to nurture those relationships. I gave them life. It’s natural.
It’s honoring the relationship that a child has with their natural parent and making choices to encourage that bond, regardless of personal opinion.
It’s acknowledging that step parenting goes against our core for parenting. It’s being able to say that it “sucks” and doing it anyways.