Chapter 3: Things I wish someone would have told me before becoming a step mom.
I always knew becoming a step mom would have its challenges. Having children in your life from the day they were born, you live all your firsts and learn step by step how to adjust your life. Being a step mom, you have this invisible wall separating you from being a "real parent". This "wall" is what I wish someone could have told me or explained to me before becoming a step mom.
This "wall" is different for everyone and is set up by people all around you; the grand-parents, the biological mothers, the other parents at school, peers around you looking into your life.
In my mind, you do good, you spread love, you do what is best for a child, and you're a good step-mom right? Wrong. This wall that I am talking about, it goes beyond simply being a "good parent". There is such thing as being "too nice" when you're a step mom.
If you don't help discipline your child, you are not a real parent.
If you discipline, you are too much.
If you don't give your full attention to activities, you're not involved.
If you try to get involved in school activities/sports, you're simply "too involved".
"Too much", words you will never hear as a "real mother", but are constantly reminded as a step-mom.
"Too much", as if there is a quota for what you are allowed to do, or for the amount of love you are allowed to have, better yet, a quota on how close you can become to your step-child.
If your step-child wants you somewhere, asks for you, wants to talk to you... right away you are "over-stepping" and it is "not your place".
I thought a warning to a step-mom would be:
"You will have responsibilities"
"Having a child is hard"
"Are you ready to take care of a mini human"
... but in reality, I would have liked to be warned about this invisible limit on the amount of "love" you are allowed to feel for this child. I would have liked someone to tell me:
"Not only are you very capable of taking care of this human, but you will fall in love with this human, be part of his life, he will be part of yours, he will ask you for your opinion, he will try to get you to say yes to things that daddy said no, he will ask to sit beside you instead of daddy, he will love you, he will start saying certain things just like you, you will see yourself in him, you will want to see him every day, be at every play or hockey game.... The hard part is not adjusting your life to include this little being, but to learn your acceptable "limits" and to be emotionally ready to be constantly reminded that "he is not your child".
While I am incredibly lucky to have a partner that encourages me to simply be myself, you are not just 2 people parenting. Often you are 3 or 4 people in the mix... and it can get messy.
Do not let people around you dictate how you feel is right to act around your step-child. There is no right and wrong in parenting, the same applies to step-parenting. The important is that you, your child and significant other are happy.
The important through all of this is your relationship with your significant other. What other parties do or feel, you can not change, but your relationship is what matters. If your step-child wants to sit beside you instead of his/her parent, your significant other should be incredibly happy. In my case he has told me "The fact that my child is comfortable enough to be with you without me, that he asks for you when you're not around, is a testament to the love and care you bring to this family and the love my child has for you. That makes me the happiest man in the world".
The key to being a good parent, in my opinion, is to have a good relationship with your significant other. Children can feel when there is tension as well as when there is love.
The Little Mum Book