It was my first week at my new job. I was so excited to meet new people and have new opportunities. One day, while on break, I overheard a coworker talking about being a step parent. “ Being a step parent is awesome, because you don’t have to be a real parent.” I was livid, but chose to keep my opinion about his ignorance to myself. I personally think that if that is how you feel about being a step parent, then you do not deserve to be one. To me, that is like saying “ I love being a parent, because I don’t really have to parent.”
Being a step mom has been one of my life’s greatest blessings. I love my step sons, Nick and Will more than I could ever express. While I do not have any biological children of my own yet, I could never fathom loving them any more than I love Nick and Will. I am sure the experiences will be different ( carrying a child for nine months, giving birth, etc. ), but the love will be the same.
Being a step parent isn’t for everyone, for example people like my coworker. There are things that you need to take into consideration before becoming involved with a man with children, especially if you do not have kids of your own.
You have to accept that he had a life before you, just like you had a life before him- it is just different. He has already experienced at least one of life’s greatest milestones with someone else- becoming a parent. You have to accept that before anything else. If you cannot accept that, then you may as well move on because it is not going to change.
When people first find out that I am a step-mom, they ask me how I “deal” with having my husband’s ex-wife in my life. They usually joke about how I am going to have to “put up with her” until the youngest is 18. People are shocked by my response. I do not have to “put up with” his ex-wife. I like her. She is a great person, and an amazing mom. I know that most step-moms are not as lucky as I am when it comes to that. It was not always easy, and her and I had to develop a relationship over time. I was lucky enough to be in a situation where my husbands ex wife included me in her sons lives. She trusts me to be a good parent, and knows that I will always be there to protect her boys. Communicating is key. Creating a hostile environment is not good for anyone, especially the kids. Do we agree on everything? No. It took lots of understanding, patience, and time, but we were mature enough to set our feelings aside, and create a warm, loving atmosphere for our boys. We would never want them to feel like they have to pick one parent or one house over the other.
Some people do not realize that if they do not get along with the ex- they do not all of a sudden get to be ex-free when the youngest turns 18. She will be in your life forever. As long as you both are involved in those kid’s lives, you are going to have more than their adolescent years to have to “deal” with each other. You have holiday’s graduations, college tuition, weddings, and then guess what….you most likely will become grandparents. And then you do it all over again with them.
Before falling for a man with kids, you need to realize that not only is he falling in love with you, but his kids are as well. And you are falling for them. They are going to look back on their childhood, and remember the times that you spent with them. You will never take their mothers place, but when they are with you, you will be a mother figure to them. They are going to draw you pictures in kindergarten, and hug you when you walk through the door to pick them up from school. If you start a relationship with a man with kids, you need to be sure that is what you want before you develop a close relationship with his kids. If you break up with him, you’re breaking up with his kids too.
Most importantly, if you fall in love with a man with kids, you have to put them before anything. You ARE a real parent. MY CO WORKER IS SO WRONG!!! You may not be able to sign their school permission slips, or be their consent, but you get to do so much more. You get to dry their tears when they are sad, cheer them on at a game, help them learn, and watch them grow. Their smile will make you smile.
Sometimes, things are not always easy, but I promise you- the first time you hear them tell you that they love you, you know you are doing something right!