Our goal is to provide information, ideas and support for working women who are also full-time mothers.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Being a Step-parent

My situation is quite similar to Sam's in many ways. I am stepmom to 3 boys, ages 16, 14 & 10. I have a sweet little girl of my own who will be 3 in a few months. The boys also have another little sister who will be 2 in a few months, by their mom & stepdad . Confused?

Life in our household is pretty chaotic. We have joint legal custody but only partial physical custody, although at least one of the boys is at our house after school just about every day. Because of the way my work schedule is, I end up making sure they have dinner and running them around to a lot of their after school/evening activities. It is very difficult at times and I often feel un- or underappreciated for all that I do by them, my husband and their mother. But it is a choice that I made a number of years ago, and there are a lot of good things about it. I love having a big family (next step - a big house!). I love that my little girl has three big brothers that love her to bits. I love having had the privilege of watching the boys grow from little kids into fine young men, and having been a part of that.

Holidays are a crazy time, trying to figure out how we're going to get to see everyone. Over the years, it has worked out to where we pretty much do it the same way every year for their mom's side and my husband's side, but its hit or miss as to whether my extended family (aunts, uncles, grandparents) gets to see the boys over the holidays. That's just the way it goes with so many people's schedules to try to work around.

I had tried to let my husband deal with scheduling things with his ex, but over the past year, I've taken on a lot more of this directly with her. Its just easier that way. My relationship with her has always been alright, sometimes even cordial. There are definitely things that I don't agree with, but she probably has similar feelings about me (and definitely about my husband, LOL!). Ultimately, the most important thing is that we are all looking out for the boys.

I don't get a whole lot of attitude from them, like the dreaded "you're not my mother!" I've always thought that maybe thats b/c they're boys. I think their stepdad may get a bit more of such attitude. And I think that if they were girls, I would take the brunt of it. But it could be something else entirely. Ultimately, I think its mostly the kids that they are. But a couple of things may have helped. My husband eased me into their lives when we began dating. I've never said a bad word to them about their mom. When it comes to discipline, I let my husband lead the way on that for the most part. Of course I have to step in at times on little squabbles that happen btwn brothers but thankfully, we haven't had a whole lot in the way of bigger issues up to this point. Fingers crossed!

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