I know many people seek out this site looking for advice or kinship as a step parent. Let me just say that this - I am a step parent and this is my diary. I write about what is on my mind at the moment. Some days it is a vent session so that I can go on about my day in a more joyful manner and other days it is about my day to day activities. From my lay out you can see that I love to cook and travel. Lately I've had very few things to vent about and a lot more of life to talk about. And that is due to a combination of bio moving away, oldest joining her and the drama going with her.
When I met hubby (again for the first time) I knew he was a single Dad of four. I knew he had custody of all his children. I knew dating him would involve a total package - him, kids, a dog and an ex-wife. And I took the step off the edge of the cliff...... and don't regret it for a minute. Hubby was the man I'd been looking for. He compliments and supports me - he doesn't complete me. I'm complete all by myself.
We were a couple months shy of our 35th birthday when we met. I knew that a relationship with hubby meant I would not be having any biological children. I was OK with that. I know women have have healthy babies into their 40s. But that is not for me. I always thought I would have children but had never seen myself pregnant. For me the clock was almost done ticking. And when I saw the mind games bio played on her children I knew a blended family would never work. Bio would have convinced the kids I loved my biological child more than them.
I love children. They come into this world so innocent needing love and guidance. So many do not receive this and it breaks my heart.
A few people told me not to marry hubby. Being a step parent is hard work with little reward I was told. And being a parent is any different I asked. These children come into our lives by birth, adoption, foster care, step parenting or other means and we love them. I don't love my children for the reward.
Parenting is the hardest thing I've ever done. I knew it would be. I have done everything I know of to be a good parent. My job here is not to be liked or to be their friend. My job here is to put myself out of a job. It is to raise children who can function independently as adults. Adults who have a foundation built on love and the skills to be themselves. I gave up a lot of things to raise my children. I would have done the same if I had birthed them.
I went part time at work to spend more time with them. I am at every parent teacher conference, school function and open house. I cheer on their sports games. I drive them back and forth to.....everything. I teach them to care for themselves - cooking, cleaning, maintenance, checkbook balancing, budgeting skills and the list goes on. I cut back on my volunteer work to involve them in life. I have taken them to museums, restaurants, vacations, hiking..... and showed them that life exists outside the bubble of the house. I learned early that there are no maybes. Hubby answered son with a maybe when we were first dating. That means no he said. Hubby said it meant maybe. With bio it means no. From that moment on my answers were yes, no or an explanation. Maybe, if the weather holds out (or whatever the case may be). I would hold family meetings in the morning to lay out the game plan for the day. My kids really need structure (I think most do). They are looking for boundaries as well and it is up to the parent to define them. They can't cross the line if one isn't set.
I modeled what a mature relationship between a husband and wife is. There are no screaming matches, stomping out of the house and unfriending each other on facebook. There is communication. There is mutual respect. There is agreeing to disagree.
At the end of the day I can sleep well knowing I did my best. It may not have been perfect but it was my best. And if I was wrong I apologised.
Being a step mom works for me for many reasons. I'm not a week end mom. I have them 24/7. Hubby parents with me. He sees me as a partner not someone trying to discipline HIS kids. They are our kids. They do not call me mom. I let them call me what they are comfortable with; that is Kim. When we were first married the girls started calling me mom and bio put a cabash to that. And as far as youngest is concerned moms give birth and step moms take care of you. I don't take anything personally. They have lots of issues. They love their mom even though she is abusive. I have never referred to them as my step children. They are my children.