Being a [Step] Mom: Become Friends with Your Demons

In my blog the other night I wrote about grit. A few blogs ago I wrote about optimism. Writing about something and practicing the things you write about are two different things. I’d love to say that I’m always practicing. I’m not. But, what I am doing is always trying to practice. One of the ways I do this is by writing. And the reason I’m able to write is that I’m becoming friends with my demons.

I have always hated the saying; “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” It’s so depressing. And whether or not there is value to that statement, I don’t care. It just sucks that sometimes we have to live life that way. But I do think it can be something really positive when talking about self-awareness. We all have our self-created enemies, our demons. And the difference between a successful person and an unsuccessful one is how well they know their demons.

Let’s be super clear here. When I’m talking about success, I’m not talking about money or things. I’m talking about people who lay their head to rest every night and more often than not, feel full of gratitude and satisfaction for the life they’re creating for themselves.

But here’s the thing, it’s not pretty. The words may be and the way in which I express all of this sometimes is. And the things by which we measure success often are. But becoming friends with your demons first means wrestling them to the ground. And that’s pretty messy.

I’ve talked about this so many different ways, but I think it’s important to keep talking about it. For me. And for you. Because it’s messy. Some people think to speak. But I speak to think. Or in this case, I write. And the thing I write most about is my step-motherhood. So as I wrestle, I write. Or maybe as I write, I wrestle. I’m actually not really sure it matters which way that goes.

The Demon. The biggest demon I’ve wrestled with since becoming a step-mom is this: my kids are not mine. I did not carry them or birth them. I did not spend the very earliest and most vulnerable part of their lives caring for them. These tiny humans whom I now raise day in and day out; who have made me poor and robbed me of sleep, who I cry for and because of, whose destiny I play a large part in creating… are not mine. And forever, no matter what I do or how fucking amazing I am, or optimistic, or gritty, they will never be mine.

This demon is a bitch.  She totally sucks. And for a while, and even sometimes still, I am powerless to her.

So, what’s the lesson? Why is becoming friends with this bitch of a demon important?

Because I created her.

Nobody else. Just me. Before I met my husband. The kids had a biological mother. At this moment as I type, the kids have a biological mother. And if tomorrow, I got hit by a bus, the kids would still have a biological mother. Their birth, their creation had absolutely nothing to do with me. So why does it define me so much?

The obvious answer is because I’m raising them. Not two days on, three days off. (Which btw is not to say that makes anyone any less of a parent). But I’m raising them. My house is their full-time home. My entire everything is about them. I have 4 kids. Not 1 biological kid and 3 step kids. I have 4 kids in my house all of whom my entire world revolves around.

But, they are not mine. And they never will be.

So, this demon. She’s my friend. Not because I like her. I don’t. I fucking hate her. So very much. But, she’s the best kind of friend. She reminds me what I’m made of. She allows me to see myself in a way I never could have before. And no matter what, no matter my crazy, she’s still there at the end of the day.

And what she does for me is remind me, constantly, that this is an opportunity. A blessing. In the worst moments. The step-mom moments, where it is because they’re not mine. And the mom moments, where it is because they’re just kids. And the moments where I don’t know the difference, which way is up and which is down. I never ever lose sight that these days are precious, numbered, and I could be all, “the glass is half empty” about it, or I could celebrate how very full my glass is.

Because the thing is. When I look at her, this demon, I see me. And I don’t want to look at myself that way. So, the choice I make is to be relentlessly optimistic, relentless gritty. Because anything else, simply isn’t an option.

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