Today I am sharing a new feature in my blog. I am sharing, in a brutally honest way, my struggle and joys of being a step-mom.
I follow a few blogs about being a step mom and have listened to a few podcasts but everything seems to deal with the troubles of the ex. I'm not struggling with the ex. I leave that to him. They have found a way to co-exist and that's fine by me. They have both moved on and both remarried so all they really share now is my stepdaughter.
What I desperately struggle with is being an instant mom figure. A mom with no legal rights, no sense of purpose and a limited history with the child. I have known her just over a year. I love her. I want the best for her. I want to be the best for her. I want to set a good example and be a positive influence. I just feel like I fail, a lot.
Sometimes I feel like I am walking a tight rope. She lives with us half the time and we get along great except when she gets frustrated with me. She has a bit of a smart mouth and I have a bit of a strong will. We both have tempers.
I don't know how to handle everything. I am a newly wed who has never had a husband. Being married is a huge change for me. I am just learning to share myself with my husband. I am also a step mother who has no children. Being a mother figure has no reality for me. This isn't the way I envisioned things. This wasn't my plan. My plan was to do things the way "everyone" does them: Get married in my 20's, learn to be married, get pregnant, have a child, and learn to be a mother while the child is learning to roll over. Reality can be just so overwhelming!
There's more. My stepdaughter's mother has an illness and is disabled. This has effected this child in ways I can't explain and you probably would be saddened to hear. To say this little girl has been forced to grow up too soon is about as simplistic as I can make it. She has, out of necessity been her mother's caretaker at times. She lost her childhood to things no kid should have to do. She is smart and she has handled it, but she is still just a child of 11 and sometimes she forgets that. Sometimes I forget that. I struggle with how to get her to listen and how to not loss my mind. I realize this is something all parents face but not knowing my place makes it a struggle I wasn't prepared to handle. I am out of my element.
Because her mother started becoming very ill just after her birth, my stepdaughter has never had a healthy mother and her mother has been forced to make decisions to put her health infront of everything and everyone. I have watched my stepdaughter, a seemingly tough little girl, with tears in her eyes when she thought her mom wasn't going to show up for her Christmas Choir program. I sat in the auditorium desperately trying to get her attention to point out that her mom actually just showed up a little late. (I am sure it is difficult. Nothing is probably fast when you have to get a motorized chair into a van). I have seen the anger, and felt it, when she asks me to take her somewhere her mom can't or won't. I have watched her struggle with feeling, somewhere deep down, like her mother doesn't love her. I have encouraged her time and again to give her mom a break and to appreciate the time she has with her mom, to talk to her mom, to appreciate her mom. I have told her over and over that her mom does love her and that it can't be easy for her mom.
I have shared with my step-daughter my story of the the loss of my daddy at 5 years old to cancer. I have explained to her how much I would have given to have time with my dad. I have shared with her my struggles with my own Step-Dad and how it took me years and years and years to realize he did his best.
I am not perfect. I try but sometimes I feel, in a place I am not proud of, jealous of my husband and his daughter. I am jealous that he has her. I am jealous that she has him. I feel, at times, like I don't have either of them. I feel left out. He says I leave myself out. Maybe that is true. I keep explaining to him, I don't know how to do this. I am learning on the job.
Before we got married and moved we saw my stepdaughter every other weekend and 5 weeks in the summer. We were the fun house. We got married Sept. 13, 2014, we moved into the new house Sept. 15 and boom! We have her every other week 12 days later. The dust hadn't settled before she became a child torn between two homes and two sets of rules. I don't want her to hate me but I want to establish rules. To his credit, hubby has been very supportive of this. He has been very supportive of my mothering his child. My problem is, I am not her mother. She has a mother. I am her friend. I am stuck because I don't know how to enforce rules in my own house when I feel like, she thinks we are equals.
I'm sure with time this stuff gets better. I'm sure with time this stuff gets easier. Four and a half months isn't enough time to have it all figured out. I'm just so worried that in my trying to figure it out I will manage to alienate both my husband and my stepdaughter. Rock and a hard place.
So I would love to hear from anyone and everyone who has words of wisdom or encouragement. I would love to hear from anyone who has advice on step-mothering. I would love to hear from...anyone who can shed light on any of this. Can someone just tell me it all will be okay?
Finally, if you are interested in my Thankful Thursday blog hop, It is still open! I would love to have someone join in and co-host this thing if anyone is interested.
|Click here for Thankful Thursday!|
Also, because a few folks have expressed an interest, I am going to host some form of a What I'm Loving Wed hop. Check my blog page for more info and we will try and get that one going next week!