From My Perspective
I said in my previous post that I won’t spend much time on becoming a step-mom to my step-kids and that’s true, sort of. The thing is; it’s a mess. Not my love or sense of responsibility, but navigating all of this. I can separate it though.
The reason I want to pretend I won’t spend much time on the topic is that in my heart they are mine; and if you ask anyone around they think they are mine as well. And I treat them as such; I love them and hate them and love them more just like they are mine.
But I’m also always so very aware that they are not in fact mine. I did not wish for them, or carry them or watch over them as they slept completely exhausted in the earliest years of their life.
Great Advice for a Mom
A friend of mine once gave me really great relationship advice. He said that if you’re happy more than you’re not than it’s worth it. You might think it’s crazy, or horrible, but I sort of applied that to deciding to be a step-mom. At first it was all nail polish and pretending to love x-box and speaking in gentle terms. But then slowly the moments of being human, of being an actual mom crept in. You know those moments when you rip the noisemaker out of their mouth because it’s 7 am and you’re slightly hungover and you need them to not make any sounds, let alone that of a rodeo clown?
Yes, well as those crept in, along with the guilt, I had some decisions to make. I could walk away. Back to the house, I owned by myself at 27, back to my well-paying job, back to my love of travel, back to my independence… But no the thing was, I was happy more than I wasn’t snuggled in every weekend in the chaos making eggs and breaking up fights about who was looking at who. I decided. That all of it; the good, the bad, and the very ugly- was worth it.
Fast Forward to Today
Four years later it’s still worth it and it’s still hard. In so many ways I am incredibly secure in my role in my kid’s lives. But this doesn’t mean that regularly I wonder if I am enough or if they will tell us they want to live with their biological mother. And I’m waiting, anxiously, for the first time, one of them yells at me that I’m not their real mom.
I constantly have conversations with myself about emotional intelligence and how to practice it. I read articles and talk to parents, but nothing ever really validates my feelings or my needs. And I think the reason is that the more I love them, the more I treat them as though I did wish for and carry and watch over them in those earliest years, the more they feel like mine. Again, I will never devalue or interfere with the relationship they could have with their mother. But, my instinct to protect them and put their needs above mine will always prevail. And the more that happens, the more this all just feels normal. It feels as though this has always been, and always will be.
And so while I will continue to pretend that I don’t need to spend a lot of time here because we have been living in this place where my 3 oldest kids are for all intents and purposes my kids, sometimes I will revisit it because to protect them and love them as a mother does, sometimes I will need to work it out- through words, with you.