Have I mentioned lately what a thankless job being a stepparent is? Hmmmm…it’s probably been a couple of weeks. Just in case you’ve forgotten, I’m here to remind you again.
Mind you, the issues are not the children in most cases. It’s the grown-ups that cause the most distress…yes, the grown-ups. If you are a stepparent then you are likely nodding your head “yes” right now. The children are merely the innocent bystanders forced to play in this game.
Let me share with you just a few things that the “grown-ups” in my life have done that are infuriating.
• the “ex” in our family’s life did her very best to make me the villain in the story of our new life. She used the (then) 15-year old as a confidante…sharing things with his immature mind that couldn’t (and shouldn’t have to) be grasped about the ways of the world. Some of it was true…most of it weren’t. Said 15-year old has had a chip on his shoulder about me ever since. He also felt compelled, as children do, to share with his little brother who was 13 at the time. We have battled the anger and misplaced distrust for almost 5 years now. Fun stuff, huh?
• This summer I found out from the (then) 11-year old that mommy had shared some things with her about stuff that happened in the failed marriage…of course, all implicating my husband. How nice of her, right?
• As a stepparent, I am remind over and over that I am not truly qualified to parent. This is not spoken outwardly by anyone…but I can read between the lines. Why? All I can really surmise is simply by sheer fact that I don’t “parent” the same way they do. I am in a limbo of when I am deemed qualified to parent (when kids need pick-up or drop-off, money, homework help, messes cleaned up, dinner made, laundry washed) and not qualified to parent (any time decisions are being made that directly affect me, my home, my finances).
I am not a selfish person. But I want to be respected in my own home. I want to be able to have house rules and expectations in my own home. Is that wrong? Does it make me selfish? I have given so much and sacrificed so much for 3 children who are not mine; each I accepted into my life with open arms. I didn’t have to. It was my choice. The reality is that for all I’ve done and sacrificed, I still haven’t earned my say in anything when it comes to the kids.
There is an opportunity for parents from divorce situations to have someone placed in their children’s lives who cares just as much about them as the parents. Yes, I AM talking about the stepparent. Sadly, some stepparents don’t care or take this role seriously. I did. And I do!