This past weekend my father and stepmother came to visit and surprisingly I really enjoyed having them both here and was sad to see them go. Well let me rephrase that, I always enjoy my dad, the surprising part was that I actually enjoyed my stepmother as well.
My dad has been married to her for 28 years and oddly enough I have never really seen her as much more than his wife. As a child I felt like she only dealt with me because she had to, and I was convinced she was only going through the motions and at times felt like an outsider in their home. I’m more than certain that my disdain for her started at an early age based on information that my mother fed to me regarding my dad. God bless her, my mother was hell bent on making my dad’s life miserable, and if the saying was in existence back then she would have, without a doubt been known to most as a “baby mama”. As I grew older I think I truly began to see her in a new, more positive light when I had to walk a mile in her shoes by marrying a man with a child and becoming a stepmother myself.
For sometime I have struggled with my feelings regarding the whole blended family ideal and oddly enough I feel as though I should have felt more comfortable marrying into this type of situation being that I was raised in the same environment. However, the opposite happened. I started beating myself up because I didn’t see my stepdaughter as my own child like everyone around me always claimed I should. Ironically I was reacting in the situation in the same manner by which I felt my own stepmother had wronged me. I never wanted that for my stepdaughter, I owed her more being that I was that child who was shuffled around every other weekend, for the summers and alternate holidays. Once I eventually got over that hurdle, I found it difficult and at times still do find it hard to say I have three children when I have only birthed two. I know you are probably thinking I am so selfish, and I am. I am working on it, half of the battle is knowing and the other half is doing something about it.
My progress and growth in accepting my own stepmother and acting as one has oddly enough come from my 5 year old son. Although he hadn’t laid eyes on my stepmom her for nearly three years and has only spoken to her on the phone maybe five times the first words that came out of his mouth was “hey Grandma”, I was taken aback and I think she was to. There have also been times when people see me out with Adrian and Addison and ask me if they are my only children and I say yes, and he will embarrass me by saying I have an older sister proceeding to tell them her name and where she lives, then I am forced to come behind him and explain that I indeed have another child, she just lives in another house. Children only know and recognize those who love them, not giving any thought to who is a blood relative and who isn’t. Man do I have so much to learn from him.
Blended families are work for all parties involved. It seems that I am the one that needs the most work in this situation and at times it still bothers me that I have such a hard time readily accepting a sweet innocent child that has been caught up in the middle of an adult situation. I long to figure out exactly where the problem lies, and why I can’t just roll with the punches and move on, but I’m still not there yet. Maybe I am selfish and it feels that my family is incomplete and that I have to always consider another child that doesn’t live in my house, or is it the fact that another woman has control over my husband. Whatever it is, I’ll be the first to tell you that I totally need to get over myself and put an end to my foolishness once and for all.
Any stepmothers out there…got any advice?!!