Updated: Mar 21, 2021
Apparently at least 50% of families in 2021 are blended families... So, what does that mean?
I have been in the role of step parent for the last 3 years. I am a support system for two young boys, who already have a mom and dad who are very much apart of their lives. So, what does that mean for me?
Well, if you are a step parent, you know this is no easy breezy task. You walked into someone else's family, even if you became a part of it by marriage or cohabitation. I think all step parents can agree that unless you are one, you haven't the slightest clue of what the real experience is like. I stand by that.
Being a stepmom is one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had. Only in the last year or so has it been truly rewarding. Let me share...
We are know kids are a lot of "work." They too are people, who have needs, desires, wants, and feelings. They ultimately need and want the same things we adults do- to be acknowledged, heard, seen, and loved. Those are demands that we as adults seem to be figuring out how to do for ourselves and our partners, friends, and family... so throw a kid(s) in the mix and BAM! now what?
I was not a kids person before I met these little ones. I once claimed I didn't want children at all. When I met my partner 3 years ago and happened to know we were meant for eachother, that meant a package deal with two children, and ex-wife, and their previous life together that came with challenges and beautiful experiences that are still very much part of our present daily life.
In case you read a little about my relationship with my partner's ex wife earlier- yes, we have a meaningful friendship outside of coparenting! It really exists! When we first met, it certainly was not rainbows and butterflies. She and I would both agree that we had dark opinions, judgements, and said or did things that reflected those feelings. But that's just what they were- feelings. In my experience being a stepmom and sharing conversation with other stepmoms, it appears that most of the chaos and conflict stems from feelings. Now, I am not saying that feelings are not important. They are. However, we often create a false reality created directly from our feelings. Feelings are fleeting. They come and go. We often make judgement and conclusions with no facts but entirely from our feelings.
When I eventually stepped away from my fears about what everyone else thought, and really thought about what kind of experience I wanted to have, I created a blended family life that became full of joy, laughter, connection, with a few bumps along the way. Turns out she wanted the same thing. I do not yet have children of my own, but as a mother, it sounds like most biological mothers are just interested in being in the know and have the open door to connect. When I came from my true essence and allowed her to come from hers, incredible experiences were created. I am very grateful she and I have the relationship we do. Amazing things are offered and show up when we release the need to control and create a reality based 100% off of fleeting feelings.
In this last year, maybe because of the pandemic and being forced to spend more time together, I see my value in the kids' lives. I am needed. I am not needed because I go out of my way to clean up messes 50+ times a day or play chauffeur, but because I provide safety, trust, stability, and love. Sometimes, we expect that we are instantly thanked or rewarded for every little thing we do, and when we aren't, it hurts or provokes that nasty side we have to come out. I am learning that allowing the kids to express their gratitude and need for me in their own way is what is truly rewarding. I am still learning to control less and be grateful for more.
I am sincerely grateful for my blended family.
PS- All moms are amazing. All moms are enough. All moms need a break and self care without guilt. All moms are appreciated by someone. If no one has told you today, I acknowledge you. You are enough! You are amazing! You can do this!