Friday, March 2, 2012

The Stepmom

Over at Kelly’s Korner today, she’s doing a stepmom link up. If you’re visiting from there today, welcome!
I’ve officially been a stepmother since August of 2008. My husband has two children, Madison and Bryce. They live over ten hours away from us, so we get to see them every other Christmas and for four weeks during the summer.
It has been a difficult journey at times, but I wouldn’t trade any of it now. 
You know that movie with Julia Roberts where she’s a stepmom? Loved that movie…Yeah, I was so naive and young when I became a stepmom. I thought that co-parenting would happen naturally between all of the adults in my stepchildren’s lives. I knew nothing of court and parenting plans. I thought Ryan, the kids and I would be one big, happy family. Reality set in pretty quick…
My stepchildren had no concept of what a stepparent actually was. They knew I was “Daddy’s wife”, but didn’t really understand how I was related to them. Once my son was born in 2009, Ryan and I got a wonderful opportunity to explain how the whole “step” thing worked. It was like a light bulb went off and they finally understood that I was actually their family. It’s a moment I will never forget…
Madison and Bryce are such sweet, caring kids. They are so very much like their daddy. They were so excited to meet Caleb for the first time and have really taken him under their wing. Caleb talks about his “bubba” and “sissy” all the time. The hardest part is that they are so far away. I know they all miss each other like crazy.
August 084
Most of the time, our family feels like a family of three. In the back of our minds is always that we are a family of five. When we make major life decisions, we make it based on five people. When we look at houses, we have to consider where all three children will go instead of just one. We don’t make any decisions without thinking, “What if Madison and Bryce choose to live here full time”. Vacations are planned around all three kids’ likes and dislikes.
Ryan and I learned some things that really help the stepfamily:
  • Ryan and I make joint decisions for our family.
  • We believe in documented communication through email, text, or mail only. There’s no gray area that way. There’s less misunderstanding and no attitudes.
  • We do not disagree, argue, or make decisions in front of the kids. If we disagree about something we wait until we can talk about it when it’s just us. It shows a united front.
  • We one hundred percent do not believe in bad mouthing, criticizing, or belittling any adult in the kids’ lives despite our personal opinion of them.
  • We try our best to shelter the kids from any issues concerning the blended family situation. Kids did not create this issue and they shouldn’t have to suffer through it.
  • Ryan and I believe the kids should be encouraged to be comfortable in both homes. We have never tried to force the kids to consider me as family. They have done that all on their own!
  • We do not try to get the kids to divulge any aspect of their lives while they are with us. Kids are not pawns in some game!
  • We try our best to show what a healthy, happy marriage looks like so that one day they can model the same behaviors in their own marriages. You never know if this is the only chance they can see acceptable relationships.
  • When dealing with an ex, treat it like a business transaction. Leave out any emotion, handle it in a professional manner, and only address issues that actually matter. Fighting over trivial or personal matters does not benefit the kids. It’s just not worth it and it hurts the kids.
If you’re a stepparent who’s struggling, please understand it gets better. It will pass!  If you need someone to talk with who understands what you’re going through, please feel free to contact me at dailydoseofdelsignore@gmail.com! I would be more than happy to talk with you! Sometimes it helps to know someone who understands.

8 comments:

  1. Such great advice!!! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Good ideas there. We handle the situation with my step-daughter and her mother quite the same way. And I love that, keep what you feel about the other party out of it when dealing with the kids. I do my absolute best at that. But oh is it hard sometimes :)

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  3. I love your points at the end... they are extremely important!!!!

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  4. Sounds like you've got a handle on things....it's too bad you don't get more time with the older kids :( But your points were the ones I made too.

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  5. Jamie @ Roubinek RealityMarch 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    You posted some great tips! We make pretty big decisions based on our big kids being in the family, too. We have them almost 50% of the time, but we made a move to be closer to their mom, in order to have them more often. We go through ups and downs, and usually it's with their mom, but right now, we are in a pretty bad place with my 13 yr old step daughter. I keep praying for guidance, as I'm sure you do the same. It's a tough job.

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  6. If you ever need to talk/vent/pray you can always email me. I know how difficult it gets...

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  7. We honestly would love more time with them. We hope as they get older, they will want to spend more time here.

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  8. I know it can be hard, but it's really so much easier on the kids that way. They've been through enough too, no need to make it any tougher. My husband and I hope to be the right kind of parental examples to them in all things.

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