Like all parents know, parenting is a difficult job, I tend to think it is the most difficult job ever. Unfortunately, children do not come with a manual, a guideline, or even the simplest of directions. And step kids they come with even less except for an INSPECTOR who take inventory with every visit, challenges every decision, and questions every action and is basically ready to jump on you at any minute. How many of you know what I am talking about….
Kris and I have been married for 8 years, it will be 9 years in June. When we married, I acquired a full family. Emma was 5, Will was 3 and Kate turned 2 three days before the wedding. So instant family I had, although only every other weekend. Finding the perfect level of motherhood I found to be very difficult. Before we married, I remember agonizing over the fact that I was afraid I would not grow to love them as much as I should. I had a niece and two nephews who I adored and spoiled and I just couldn’t see myself loving them as much. I also found it difficult to make the switch from full time mom two weekends a month to a married couple with no kids the rest of the time….
As time passed, my worries of not being able to love them easily went away because loving them too little was not a problem. It seems that most times, I find myself loving them too much. There have been many times I have even dreaded them coming because of the devastation of them leaving within 48 hours. Drawing the line between enjoying their stay, and agonizing their departure has been a very difficult thing for me.
Due to circumstances that I am not going to mention here do to legalities, Will came to live with us when he was in Kindergarten. It was a joyous day for me… I was finally going to be a FULL TIME MOM!!!! And when I say a full time mom, that is what I mean. Will has autism…. So full time pretty much means around the clock… Some days it is even longer than 24 hours at a time. In case you don’t know about Will, or his sleeping habits… Please check back for other posts…. When Will moved in with us I thought I had died and gone to heaven for the first couple of hours… then the stress set in as to what I was going to do, how am I going to do all of this… how do we know what to do, when to do it, or how?? You know those typical questions all parents have. But there was the added stress that he didn’t talk… so everything was a guess. Unlike normal mothers… I celebrate “Mother’s Day” on two different days, my celebration days are June 19 when Kris and I got married making me a step mom, and October 9 when the addition of Will to our home full time, made me a “real everyday mama”.
Now for those of you who are step moms I am sure are going to be able to relate to this more so than those of you who are not in those situations. But being a step parent in a blended family is very difficult. Those who tell you any different are LYING… I promise…. Now, I will say it isn’t possible to be happy, but it isn’t an easy road by any stretch. For one reason, there is always a third party involved in your marriage. Despite what you want to think, the former spouse, ex wife, or thorn in your side is a constant in pretty much every decision. Most often they are consulted before decisions regarding their children are made even if the child is currently in your home. Now, I must admit things have gotten much easier as the kids have gotten older, but now the decisions are just more life staking than before… But where a “normal” family only has two parents who live in the same home to consult, our situation has four!!! So it does get overwhelming… I will say that my husband and his ex most often do a good job at working things out. But as the wife of the daddy of the children, and the step mother of the children I often get annoyed at the constant communication and having to share my life with a past lover….
For those of you who don’t have any experience with blended families I can tell you it is nothing like “REBA”…. Although I love that show and admire the portrayal of the relationship between those parties, I just don’t see it happening… I have no interest in being friends with the first women my husband was married to, shared a life with and bore children with. Call me a witch, jealous, or possesive, or whatever, but it aint happening!!! LOL… IF you are able to make it work with your ex then great! IF you are able to make it work with your current spouses Ex then wonderful… You are a better person than me…
One of the things I have had most difficulty with accepting is that although my step children want to be treated like they are my own, want my undivided attention when they are here, and have all the immentities of a normal parent family, they don’t have the responsibility of treating me the same…. I can easily be threaten with, “your not my mama”, “my mama doesn’t do it that way” or ” I will just go home”, and other hurtful things that although maybe true, still cut you to the core. Now, I obviously know they are kids, I also realize they most often don’t mean what they say, and that they do love me…. However, despite the reasons, and the excuses no matter how good, it still hurts, it often makes me resentful, and causes me to cry when no one is looking.
I guess compared to other step families, ours is also unique. Kris and I have been unable to have a child of our own…. I am guessing my female issues all those years did unrepairable damage and left me barren… I am okay with that most days…. I still get sad occasionally and often wish I had a child I didn’t have to share with anyone…. One that was just mine and Kris’. One that had my nose, my smile, and my personality… or that favored me in anyway. But God did not see that in his plan. So I am okay with that… I have learned to embrace it and see that God had other plans for my life… So in our family there is no his kids, my kids, our kids….. they are all his kids but I have easily learned to love them as mine and we refer to them as “our” kids. bottom line….
As the kids have gotten older, Emma is 13, Will is 12, and Kate is 10 and they are all very hormonal and growing quicker than you can guess, I agonize over new worries. Will they come see us when they graduate and don’t have too…. As they get busier and more involved in school will they still come? Will they always consider us family? What about when they go to college. Will we ever get to see them??? I also think about when they marry…. Will I be included in the family photos? Because i am not the mother of the bride…. I am the step mother… where does she fit in? does she fit in at all?? and grandbabies? Will I be apart of their life? Will I get to see them? Will they have a cool name for me? Or will I just be Brandi… Papaws wife? I know I am weird… I worry about things I shouldn’t… Please tell me there are others out there that try to be super women, super step mom and I am not the only one… Cause it is really wearing me out!!! Please tell me I am not alone…