Let me tell you…being a stepmother is hard. There are a whole lot of unwritten rules and unknown boundaries that you don’t realize until you break them or cross them. Don’t get me wrong; I was under no illusions that marrying a man with 3 children was going to be a cakewalk. I was prepared for it to be challenging at best. Well…it was about 45 bazillion times harder than I could imagine.
So, I’ve come up with a little list here of do’s and don’ts that may or may not help some of you out there.
(Please read these with the bit of sarcasm that is intended.)
1. Do NOT make the mistake of thinking you REALLY are a parent. You don’t have to worry about forgetting this one. You’ll be reminded constantly (by both parents and kids).
2. You will be expected to be a parental figure when it is convenient for the parents (i.e. Helping with homework, picking up kids from school or friends’ houses, washing dirty laundry, picking up messes made by said children, etc.) and when it’s convenient for the kids (i.e. they want permission to do something or they are telling on a sibling).
3. You will be expected to realize your proper place as a non-parent at other times. These times will be communicated to you on a need-to-know basis.
4. The “ex” has been placed in your life to be a constant thorn in your flesh. You probably made the mistake of asking God for patience or perseverance or some other virtue at some point in your life.
5. The parents can speak frankly about the children. The can say to you (or to each other) our child is a drama queen or is lazy or needs help in this area or that. You are NOT allowed to agree with these statements and NEVER repeat these things out loud. It will be received as an insult. It’s that whole concept of “I can call my brother lazy, but if you call my brother lazy then I’ll kick your butt!”. (my brother isn’t lazy, by the way)
6. The unwritten rules (that no one knows ahead of time) can change by the moment. What may be right and acceptable today could very likely be forbidden tomorrow.
To be honest, I deeply love my stepchildren. I know the youngest loves me back just as much. She and I are best buds! The middle child…hmmm…I think he does too though he won’t likely admit it (I think if he admitted it he’d think he was somehow betraying the mother)…the oldest (aka the man-child) thinks I’m (and this is a direct quote) 60% evil stepmother (which I am doing my utmost to live up to) and 40% decent human being.
Me? Well I’ve decided that I have to be a super hero to even get it 1/2 way right!! I’m shooting for Wonder Woman (because my husband thinks she’s sexy…if I’m going to be an “evil stepmom/superhero” I may as well be sexy too!!!)