Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stepmom

For the past seven months, I have been a stepmom. 

Confession--most of the time, I think I'm failing.  

My stepdaughters live three hours away.  We don't have them during the week, drive them to appointments, or get to go to school functions easily.  Seeing a choir concert is a 6 plus hour drive for us (and we've done it multiple times this year), so it's not easy.  We miss the big girls and we spend more time with the little girls with them here in Texas with us.  Our blended family is busy and I struggle daily to juggle it all. 

Being a mom is HARD.  It's exhausting and it is full of demands.  Being a stepmom?  I had no idea how much harder.  You don't have the unconditional love of the child you've known since she squeaked in your arms moments after birth.  You don't have the child who wants to curl up in your lap or have special mama/daughter time with you.  You don't have the child that knows that even if you get frustrated with them, you love them to the depths of your soul.  You have the child who never wanted you in her life in the first place and always knows her mother can do it better (and she can, they have a great mom).  

I'm never first choice.  In the line of four parents, I'm fourth.  No doubt.  I'm learning to accept this. 

It hurt at first because I so wanted the girls to love me.  I so wanted them to want to spend time with me or want to communicate with me.  I got my feelings hurt.  A lot.  I responded poorly.  A lot.  I tried.  Over and over.  I still try.  Sometimes it's met with terrific results and I cry because I think "they like me!  maybe they can love me!"  Sometimes it feels like we are right back to square one and I cry because I wonder if I'll ever stop wondering if they actually hate me (sidenote--I don't believe they really hate me, it's just my own fear creeping in).  

Step-parenting feels like a dance--it's very one step forward and one step back. OK, two steps back. 

Being a stepmom has it's incredible rewards.  My stepdaughters are amazing.  They are talented and funny.  I've learned a lot from them.  They are terrific big sisters to my girls, and do not see the boundary of step when it comes to Maggie and Katie.  Those are their sisters and they adore them.  We can laugh so much as a family and have developed our own inside jokes that are just for our family of six.  I love my stepdaughters.  I love them so much and I'm crazy proud of them. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not unhappy.  It's been a terrific summer with his12 year old here with us for a month.  16 only joined us for a week because she was working all summer at the frozen yogurt shop in her town. It was hard to not have her here with us.  We can't make her come and we accept that she is working with responsibilities now.   I made it my goal that 12 would have a good summer.  We had playdates with her favorite Texas friends, sleepovers and a trip to the water park.  We took one friend and the three of our younger ones to a cabin on Possum Kingdom lake for a week and have a blast.  At the end, she rated the summer a 9 out of 10.  We had our bumps in the road, but in the end, it was a great summer.  We miss her already!

Most importantly, I love their father.  I love this family and no matter how long it takes, I am committed to this blended family. So, I'm a stepmom. 

Are you in a stepcouple?  How long?  What advice do you have to someone still gaining her footing in this new dynamic?  

10 comments:

One crazed mommy said...

Oh Jenny -big hugs to you! I'm not a stepmom, so don't have any words of advice - however my best friend could have written your post word for word...I have heard her struggles, frustations, and fears in dealing with her stepchildren (who were 13 and 15 when they got married). Hang in there!

Robin said...

Jenny I've been following you for so long now and you never cease to inspire. I think you may never be mom to step kids but you can always be a friend and an ally. You'd be very good at that I'm sure. I think it's harder too, when the children are a bit older. Hope you all have a great summer and trust yourself...you've earned it.

Klassy Kreations said...
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Carmen said...

Jenny I have been a stepmom for 26 years. It's hard, really hard. I would like to say it gets easier as they grow up and have families of their own. It doesn't, then they have kids of their own. I've had my feelings hurt a million times. My stepson was 13 when I married his dad. He has never liked me. I've tried everything with him...He'll be 40 in August and nothing has changed. His mom and dad had been divorced 3 years before I married his dad. His mom had remarried. He got mad when we got a home, told his dad he never bought his mom a new home. He has always got mad if I buy my children anything. His sister is just the opposite, she has been my light through the years. She has always been so good to me. Her children are my grandchildren. Her brother has told me I'm not his children's grandparent more than once. I have felt like giving up a million times. My husband has had it harder than me. He always feels like he is in the middle. You just have to be as nice as you can be and love them even when you feel unloved and unwanted. I've always said I would never do it again. I don't like being made to feel guilty because I love my kids and grandkids. One more thing our four kids always get along great...I have a son and daughter and he has a son and daughter. When we got married my daughter was 3, my son 9, his daughter 6 and his son 13. Now my daughter is 29, my son 36, his daughter is 33, and his son is 39. We have 10 grandchildren together, I have 4 he has 6...

Courtney Jennings said...

My husband came into our marriage as a ready-made dad without a lot of practice. When we got married I had two girls ages 4 and 15 roughly. We had dated for over a year before we got married so my little one knew him since she was about three years old. She loves her 'Daddy' and has him wrapped around her little finger. She goes to see her bio dad and comes back with saying things like you are my 'step dad' - that just about breaks his heart but he knows without a doubt that he is her 'Every day Dad' and that's what matters. My oldest is a lot harder to deal with, she's 17 1/2 now and she has never felt that my husband is her Dad. She loves him and likes him, but she comes to me with all things and never goes to him with anything. It has been hard for my husband being a 'stepdad', but I know without a doubt he loves 'my' girls as though they were his own. I pray that one day my oldest will come around and form a friendship with him. Right now she's in this zone of teenager-young adult-I don't need my parents. It's hard for me too because I see the hurt in my husband's eyes when she pushes him aside, but all I can say is keep praying and it will get easier as you find your new normal.

Dusty said...
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Dusty said...

When I married my late husband in 1996, I gained a daughter. She was just about to turn 7 and now she's 25. It was extremely difficult at first, but now it's amazing! She is my daughter!

I also inherited a "dad" when my mom married my step-dad when I was 15. I hated him for a long time, but now (I'm 41), he's my dad. Without a doubt, he is my children's grandfather. My younger daughter (10 yo) told me that I need to get remarried before she has kids because she wants her kids to have a grandpa like her!

Good luck! It will take time to form the bonds that your heart desires. So, my advice to you is to keep your heart open and keep trying!

stephanie banowetz said...

I am not a step parent. I have to say this post speaks volumes though. You are doing it. You are being their parent. You love them, you care about them and their feelings, and you are doing it. Keep up the great work.

Crystal Miller said...

I've been with my boyfriend for 6 months, and he's got 2 and I've got 4. His youngest is 10, oldest is 14. I get along great with the 14 year old, however, the 10 year old has a mouth, and is never happy with anythign I do. We are serious, he just bought the house behind him for me to live in, my kids love him, it's hard, but I think of you everytime I want to throw my hands in the air! You've been my inspiration thru my divorce, and now dating!

Amanda Starry said...

When I was 4, I gained a stepfamily. A dad and all his siblings, nieces, and nephews. I'm 35 and he just passed away on 4/14. I was omitted from the obituary. Nothing like losing an entire family in one fell swoop. Heartbreaking, but true. To me, he was more than a stepdad, he was my hero. Your girls will warm up, I promise.