I have stopped myself from writing on this subject over and over again.. I TRY to respect the feelings of certain people in my family, but you know what? Quite frankly, i humiliate and spurn my own offspring as frequently as I want, so i don’t know why I feel i can’t to everyone else in the fam…. perhaps because if they so wished, they could actually READ what i have written.
No matter. It is part of my life and i’m tired of holding back.
I am a stepmonster. I have a step daughter who lives here with us, and has for the past couple of months.
This makes for a very ….. *interesting* dynamic in our house. Our life was complicated before. This doesn’t change that, but it shifts how everyday life goes along on the day-to-days.
I had a stepmonster myself, but i never lived with her and my dad. I
couldn’t imagine imagined living with them from time to time. When I was mad at my mom, or having some sort of overly hormonal perceived crisis at home. But there was no room at my dad and stepmom’s because they always seemed to be preparing for Hoarders. The show wasn’t around back then, but you wouldn’t know it based on their house.
The dynamic between me and my stepmother was cordial. I respected her. I was brought up the right way to respect people older, bigger, and meaner than myself. I was also, i suppose, thankful and appreciative she kept my dad around. She didn’t have to. He contributed little to the home. When he went on medical disability, he planted his ass on the sofa and grew roots.
But she and I got along fine. I wouldn’t divulge any deep dark secrets to her, and it was always pretty clear to me her own children and their families took precedence over myself and my brothers. … which was actually my dad’s doing in that he never tried to change that.
That was their deal. But she was always affectionate towards me, and when introducing me to people, always said i was the ‘bonus’ when she married my dad. I was the ‘chosen daughter’ because it was a choice to have me in her life. She was very careful not to use the word ‘step’. I’m not sure why, actually. It’s making me feel kind of guilty to introduce my own stepdaughter as such. It’s not a dirty word. It is what it is.
So now we get to wade through the waters of equal distribution among three children. Two young’uns, and a teenager. My husband has always cherished his ‘me time’. It’s usually debatable what qualifies for said time. He likes to nitpick it down to the minute and has certain requirements for what qualifies absolutely for ‘me time’. My qualification is usually am i in the car? is anyone with me? do i get to HEAR the music that is playing? done.
So i’m put in a tricky spot. I feel like i’m the referee around here with time spent, who is spending with whom, and what is happening during that time. Is it even? Is it fair?
I should admit here and now i’m a Libra. This is not an excuse, but it just is. I tend to see things on the scale at all times. Everything has a scale, and if that thing isn’t swinging towards middle ground, heads are gonna roll, and i’m gonna turn into SuperBitch. It’s just my makeup.
I have learned to swallow some rage and frustration… lots of frustration. This is not healthy for me, but what is one to do? Seek counseling. This is next on my to do list, after everyone else’s appointments are met.
How do you support the raising of a child who is in your home. Who is influencing your own small children – good and bad – but who ultimately is not your own? This child was raised by her parents. You were not in on the decisions made, but now suddenly you are. The way you have chosen to parent your own children is very different from your husband’s child. How do you make that work? Is it just accepted from the beginning everyone is not going to be happy with this arrangement all the time, but so what? Is there something MORE you need to be doing?
Someone told me once being a step parent is one of the more thankless jobs. i’m inclined to agree. It’s sort of the epitome of ‘you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t’.
But in the meantime, she’s our responsibility.
When I met my husband and learned he had children, i didn’t think it was a big deal. In my mind, at the time, it wasn’t. Being from a similar situation, i thought i was pretty well prepared for it.
*Family Feud Buzzer*
I have tons and lots and heaps of advice and feelings about this topic, but somehow it seems unfair to write it all out… but if i don’t, it is stuck in me. Like a clotted artery.
I suppose one of the things that surprised me was when I was pregnant with my first child. My husband was running his own company at the time and had little time to be home.
It kept running over and over in my mind, “He’s done this before. This isn’t as special because it’s not his first child like it is mine.”
If the depth of that thought isn’t clear, please refer back to my Libra handicap with scales and even-stevens. It wasn’t even.
My husband was a champ when my son was born. At that moment when the first solo diaper had to be changed, and there were no nurses around, my husband’s experience came in very handy. I was so thankful for it. I had no idea what to do with an umbilical cord that looked like a melted Snickers bar, and a baby weenie that was just snipped. Forget about the poop or pee, the first and foremost heebie jeebies were a result of the first two things. Alien.
My husband came to the rescue for the first couple of diapers until i realized nothing was going to explode or pop off.
Then we got to introduce the girls to the baby. That was a whole new experience as well. I could see my husband felt fulfilled.
For me things just got a little more complicated with each milestone.
Now I have my own daughter, and my husband has his oldest daughter here with us. And to add to the web of extremes, my mom is living with us as well.
So there are a lot of emotions and frustrations and fun times and challenging times to boot. It makes for a bigger life, certainly, but still … what am i supposed to do with the frustrations that cannot be brought to anyone under the same roof?