Finding Peace in Step-Parenting

I became a step mama seven years ago.

Nothing quite prepares you for the role.

I had been working in the early childhood sector, at that stage, for 10 years. So I knew my stuff. I even had the advantage of already knowing my bonus daughters, then aged three & seven. All the same – there was first time I had a “sleepover” at my future husband’s house, on a weekend that the girls were there. At the crack of dawn, they came bounding excitedly into the bedroom and on to the bed, as I desperately held the covers up to my chin, lest they uncover a very private part of my naked body … it’s a whole new territory, my sisters.

Step parenting is not an easy gig. When we, as step parents, are having a rough day in our role, I do believe it is a lot do with how we are feeling within ourselves at the time – as it is when any issue surfaces, blended family related or not. It is unfair, and quite judgmental, when outsiders blithely say “When you choose to love a man, you choose to love his children”. You are accepting another person’s child – one who you have not guided, gently disciplined & bonded with, as you do your own. You may care deeply for your stepchild, nurture them and want what is best for them – but there will be days when you don’t particularly like them!

All of our experiences, through life, offer opportunities for growth. Step parenting is, without a doubt, no exception to this rule. When you are spiritually aware, and open to the lessons, your horizons will most certainly appear doubly expanded!

Even now, all these years on, married for four years and with our own little man on the scene, I am still learning. The girls are now tween & teen (Source help me) and we’ve definitely had our share of ups & downs. In the interest of complete transparency, though, I do know that things could be a lot worse. I’ve heard many a blended family horror story. Mine are minimal. 

What I am grateful for are the following:

  • I have a good rapport and good communication with my bonus daughters.
  • My husband & I are on a (very most of the time) united front with his girls.
  • Our son and my bonus daughters get along beautifully and the love they share is mutual in each direction.
  • There is consistency within our household – routine, how we all treat one another, the relationship between my husband & me.
  • We have a (currently and I do hope it stays this way) good relationship with the girls’ mama & their future stepdad.

It helps to remember all I am grateful for, because times can still be trying. If I’ve not filled my cup or my energy is off – it reflects in how I feel about my impending weekends with the girls. I recently reached out for advice and support with this matter, to my village, and some very helpful advice that really resonated with me was to realise, fully, that perhaps life hadn’t worked out quite the way I’d planned – honestly, step parenting was truly something that had never entered my mind, prior to meeting my husband – and that I may need to take the time and space to grieve for the life & experiences that I had been expecting and planning – that never actually turned out that way. For example, I won’t be having any more children – husband & I agreed upon one child, as he already had two – but prior to this chapter of my life, I had always imagined having two little ones of my own.

Above all, we must always make time for ourselves and listen to our inner guidance. Despite what is going on around us, if we attend to our own needs, first, the relationships and circumstances that surround us will fit to the presence that we have created within ourselves.

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