It isn’t a secret that I recently tied the knot! I went from having no children to (technically speaking) being a step mother of two! I will never forget the day that I met my husband’s children! We will call them Red and Blade! At the time, Red was 9 and Blade was 7 (they are now 12 and 10) My now husband and I had been dating for a few months and the day to “meet the kids” had finally arrived. We decided we would do so at their favorite restaurant. Millions of thoughts went in and out of my mind the biggest of course being “what if they don’t like me?” I will never forget the look on Red’s face when I saw him for the first time. I am sure that it matched mine.
Instantly our relationship went from a couple, to a family unit of 4. There was and still is resistance (and possibly hesitation) from both sides. How did I go from being a single woman to a family of 4 within what felt like moments of time? Here’s the answer! I didn’t.
All relationships take time. All relationships with children take more time. What we often forget is children are delicate individuals. Often times when a parent becomes involved with another person after a divorce/separation, the abandonment of a child and even death, is that a child’s emotions and feelings are left feeling raw. Of course, when you add a new adult, almost like peroxide to a wound there is a moment of pain.
I am their extra mom, their step mother. I am not their mother. I will not be today, I will not be tomorrow. My step children call me by my name. That does not mean that they do not love, care and respect me. That does not mean that they don’t appreciate what I do. They do indeed love me, they know I am their mentor, and that I am their fathers partner in parenting. We are treated equally amongst them. Children are a package deal when it comes to a relationship with a “single” parent. It takes time to EARN the love and respect from new stepchildren. This relationship takes time and trust to build. Deciding not to do so is simply not an option for a new “blended family”.
So forget the expectation of (unconditional) love. Instead, go for like. Go for respect. Go for compassion and understanding. Go for having fun and enjoying them. Go for finding things in common and cultivating a positive relationship with them. After all, positive relationships are created by every day, little interactions and acts of kindness. Love can come, fear will leave. Above all, stay true to yourself!
I'm a New Jersey native whose found her permanent home in South Carolina! When I am not connected to the internet I am either chasing a dachshund, day dreaming about Disney World or binge watching something on Netflix!