24 January, 2013

A lifetime of walking the line.

There is a line that exists when raising a child - the line between being supportive of your child and their choices, and making sure they don't end up that ridiculous person on American Idol who seriously thinks they can sing but sounds like a cat in heat.

That line is much, much fuzzier when you are a stepparent. Plus, there are more lines that as a parent, you just don't have to deal with. How much should I try to do? Where do I step in and help? Do I try to be her additional Mom or do I step back and just be a side-note?

The hard thing is, as a stepparent, you almost have to overcompensate because people expect you to be this terrible person who can't love someone else's child and treats them accordingly. But where does the line come into play? Am I going overboard going with Punk and BioMom to California for cheer nationals? Is it too much for me to be put on the email list for her cheer squad? Is that something I should be standing back and letting BioMom tell me all the details? I have a hard time letting someone else have any play in my life when I cannot control it. But am I over-stepping as stepmom?

Lately Punk has had this sort-of 'better than you' attitude towards other people (everyone, really; even the Husband), and it really gets to me. I never wanted to raise a child that was arrogant or stuck up or felt like she was better than others. But how much can I even contribute to who she becomes? I try to be a good example, but what more can I do? I definitely don't want to start problems or point fingers or make it seem like I'm blaming anyone, because I'm not. But I find myself getting annoyed with it, quickly; partly because it's a terrible attitude to have and partly because there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

I've had to come to terms with stepping back. It's actually part of my 2013 plan (I made a resolution to be happy; that's it) - to step back and relax a little. To not be so hard on myself and not get myself down for the littlest things. I spent all of my day off Monday reading. In fact, I've read four books already this year. I read instead of cleaning sometimes, and it's nice. I reorganized my sanctuary to feel better when I'm in there. And this weekend, I'm going to buy fabric and make myself a blanket with the sewing machine I got for Christmas. I'm not going to worry about things that are out of my control, especially in the stepparenting realm. Because, really, when it comes down to it... there's nothing more I can be doing than what I'm already doing. And I need to learn to be okay with that.

5 comments:

  1. Parenting whether you are a "step" Mom or not is hard. Savannah gets sassy, and I am left wondering where I went wrong. Some of it I think is just the age, being a girl, and trying to test the limits...

    Good thing, we are in this together, right?

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  2. Cheer nationals, I think its awesome you went and that BioMom was okay with it, and even more so you drove together and spent all the time together because you both love and care for Punk regardless who is the BioMom! The better relationship you have the better/easier it will be on Punk over the years and throughout different trials. E-mail list, why not? I am on both ends. I would love if we knew more about my step-daughters events etc. from the dance company/school etc. instead of relaid information that just happens to be wrong times, outdated information and such and we end up missing more than we should because we are an hour late because of time changes we were not told about even the day before when asking, at a changed location etc. Long stories there! Its nice to also hear/see it all from the source, just in case things change and they forget to tell you. IMO anyway. Having my kids on the other end, I like to see when their step mom actually shows she cares..many times its far the opposite. She rarely goes to the kids events or shows up for important activities that mean alot to them and without any reason or excuse, she just pain doesn't care to go. I don't think you are over stepping at all! Punk obviously loves you and wants you there, thats whats important.. not what other people think. As bad as BioMom might not want you a part of it at time, you always will be and it will make the world of difference to Punk. (and not saying she doesn't want you a part of it..just alot of BioMoms I know seem to feel or act that way out of jealousy at times etc.)

    I think alot of the 'better than you' attitude comes with age and friends more than anything. But yes the example at home makes a huge difference too. We see it alot with having 2 girls from 2 different families with different morals, standards and the way we do things differently. It makes it a challenge for sure.

    Its super hard for me to just shut my mouth and try to ignore it so I don't feel I am over stepping my boundaries too. They all know what we will put up with at our home and thats about as far as we go with it. We teach our children respect, helping out at home and other things that neither girl has to do in their moms home.

    Things as simple as put your plate in the dishwasher or sink after dinner, pick up your dirty laundry and put in the hamper, make your bed, put away games after playing them etc. and it causes so much drama because they feel like they are being picked on when they have to do it here, but rarely have to lift a finger elsewhere. We won't put up with talking back, name calling, downgrading one another and swearing and many times it ends up a fight with us because they can get away with it at their moms but no our house etc.

    I am constantly trying to teach them simple manners, respect and everyday chores to just learn and be a little self dependent to not feel like everything should and needs to be done for them. Its hard not to want to raise them your way. Its a challenge every weekend they are here in one way or another but we still love them.

    And from what I see and hear you are doing more than awesome as your role as her mom. Love your resolution!

    My all time favorite quote hanging in my family room...
    "In all of living have much fun and laughter, life is to be enjoyed and not just endured." -Gordon B. Hinckley

    Too many times have I gone through stages in my life just to get by, after my divorce I found this and decided its just what I needed. I need to be happy and enjoy every moment. All the ups and downs.. I need to enjoy it all, I need to be happy.

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  3. sorry about the long post :)

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  4. This is a really great and honest post. And I feel like I'm in a really similar place. It is REALLY hard. And it's NOT fair the way stepmoms get scrutinized if they do anything other than act like everything is rainbows and lollipops, or that their kid is anything other than a cute version of the Dalai Lama, and to be super involved in everything the kid does and center your entire life around your kid. That's not good for a parent to do, and it's not good for a stepparent to do either. I'm trying to walk the line between being a parent, but not being his BioMom. I don't want him to just avoid doing terrible things--I want him to be a good person. And I agree with jakell, that means putting away your own stuff, being respectful when you talk to people, and all that stuff. And it can be exhausting and frustrating and depressing. I don't really feel like I have any wisdom to offer you. Sorry :( But I do want to say I admire you for trying and respect your decision to step back too. For what it's worth, I just want to let you know that, and that I'm going through something like that too.

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