Kelly's Korner asked for us step-moms to speak up!
I have done a post on this before, if anyone is interested in reading it, you can find it here.
I have been a step-mom now, technically, for two years, but was with them a year before that. I met the kids when they were 7 (Jordan) and 4 (Sophia). Now, they are going to be 10 and 7! Holy moly they are growing fast.
Our situation has not always been easy, but it's not been because the kids and I haven't gotten along. We've always gotten along, since the moment I met them. They took to me immediately and I thought they were so wonderful and so much fun.
Being a stepmom wasn't really something I was prepared for, but it helped that I was older and kind of ready for a family. It was a huge adjustment, but it almost made it easier because we didn't see the kids all of the time. So, I kind of eased into this whole mom thing. I think being a stepmom first really helped me when Avery came along because I kind of knew what to expect, somewhat. (Although, the stage Avery is getting in now is unchartered territory for me!)
It has really helped that Sophia and Jordan have always loved me and have never made me feel like a stepmom. They call me their stepmom, but never treat me that way. They have always loved on me, wanted to lay on me, kiss me, hug me, and be around me. For that, I am grateful to God because it's not always like that with step families. I do think their ages played into it alot. Jordan, I think, has had more adjusting to do than Sophia because Jordan actually remembers his parents being married. Sophia doesn't. They were seperated when she was one. One day, she looked at Jason and her mom's wedding album and said, "My parents were married?" I mean, it's kind of sad to think that is her reality. But I don't think she knows to be upset over it.
We've always done our very best to make sure the kids have memories and experiences at our house. We have gone on trips, go do things around town, and spend as much time with them as the courts and their mom allows. The hard part about being a stepparent is watching your husband, who is a great dad, not get to see his kids as much as he should. Don't even get me started at how messed up I think the court system is for good dads. I do realize there are many, many bad fathers out there, probably more than good, when it comes to divorce and single mothers who never see their children's father again. But it makes it so much harder for dads like Jason. But that's another
I have always done my best to make sure the kids' other household is included in our conversation and we never, ever speak ill of their other family. When Jason and I went through his stuff to move when we were getting married, he was going to throw all of the pictures away of him, their mom and when they were married and when the kids were little. I told him I don't think it's fair to the kids that those pictures just get tossed in the trash, that is part of their life and they deserve to know that no matter what happens, their mom and dad loved each other at some point and there was happiness in their home. Their mom just had a baby and we make sure to be excited and ask about her alot because that is their sister and we never treat their other family like it doesn't exist. I just think that's silly. I wish I could have more of a relationship with their mom, but it's just not in the cards for us. It would certainly make things much easier.
When Avery came along, I was blown away by how much they loved her. I don't feel they are treated differently at house, even though Avery is my biological daughter. They blow me away with how well they all get along. Avery loves those children and Jordan, especially, is such a great big brother. The other morning, we had a garage sale and we woke Jordan up and asked if he wanted to make some money babysitting Avery in the house. Of course, he was all about it. Did I mention having older stepchildren comes in super handy sometimes??? Ha ha. I couldn't imagine Avery not having them in her life. She just loves them to pieces and is so excited when they come over.
We still have our moments, just like any family does. Like this one, where we spent alot of money on a doll for Sophia and she colored on it's face with a Bic pen. She got into trouble. Discipline at our house was something that took some getting used to. I think with as many episodes of Supernanny I had watched before getting married, I was prepared with how to handle discipline issues (somewhat). We are consistant as we can be when it comes to discipline. The older they are getting, the less we are having to deal with things. When Sophia was little, it took some trial and error to figure out how to address her little quirks. I think Jordan has been more difficult, just because of his personality.
But as I look at him now, I think alot of what they've gone through, discipline wise, has been normal-kid phases that they grow out of. Like I said, I've never had to deal with "acting out," blatent acts of aggression or disrespect. I hope that it's because I respect them first. I have always positioned myself as a person of authority in their life and they have always listened to me. But I have never said, "When you are in MY house, you will act like THIS." And then given them ridiculous rules. We do have house rules, but those are rules all kids follow (or will follow, as Avery gets older).
Before me, though, Jason had a tendency to do the typical "divorced dad" stuff, where he would do their chores for them (not that they had any), wait on them at meals, clean their rooms, etc. I tried to make it as much like a "regular house" as I could, and that meant the kids acted their age, got their own food at meals, cleaned up after themselves, and now, they are cleaning their rooms and helping with chores around the house. I think treating them as our kids and not as visitors or guests in our home (which is what constantly cleaning up after them and waiting on them is) is a good way to give them normalcy. And we do have rules and ways to act at our house that they may not have at their moms. Just little things like, how I react to burping at the table. At their moms, its funny. At our house, it's not. Not if it's on purpose. Just little things like that.
I get alot of pleasure and joy watching them grow up! I have loved watching soccer games, recitals and seeing them learn to read and do multiplication and seeing their personalities develop. I love getting to spend time with them. We will do stuff sometimes and be like, "Jordan would LOVE this right now!" So, they are always in our thoughts, even though we don't see them everyday. I think that being a stepmom is not always easy, but it's just about remembering your PLACE. I am not their mother and never expect to be treated like that. I don't always agree with things or how they are rasied, but that's not for me to judge or decide. I am a cheerleader for them, a loving person in their life, a authority figure when needed, an encourager, a supporter of their dad, and an example of how to be a good person. I think that's all you ready can be as a stepmom!