Step-parenting is terrifying. Lets make no mistake about this, it is the hardest job and life anyone can endeavor and only the strong willed and biggest hearts can survive this life. You have no idea what any day will be like and it is a life of constant second guessing yourself, shut downs, having no control and essentially dealing with another family’s shit but, even after saying all of that, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love my life and can’t imagine anything different. But it also has its many challenges. There are days that are so wonderful and I feel like a “normal” family and there are days when I feel like a ghost on the sidelines and then there are the days that I just feel like the hammer. But mostly it just feels like my own family. It took a while to get here and it takes work to continue that feeling. Let me tell you my story.
It was about 8 years ago I met my current husband and we hit it off immediately. It was an exciting and passionate love, a kind that I had always hoped for, and went through so much to finally find it. I was so excited. Then he says, “I have two kids”. That didn’t faze me, I loved him and wanted to embrace everything about him openly and whole-heartedly. Plus I am a strong and confident woman, challenges don’t scare me, hah, ya right. After dating for about 8 months we thought it was time to meet the kids. I was very excited but wanted to be sick at the same time. I got super nervous. Who knew that a kid would make me so nervous and intimidate me so much. I was worried that they wouldn’t like me, that they would hate that their dad was seeing someone and just exclude me. I was worried that it would ruin this fairy tale relationship I had. I had all these crazy thoughts and remembered every movie that had a step-mom in it. Cinderella, she hated her step mom. The movie Step-mom, the kids were wicked to Julia Roberts and mean. Who wants to be looked at as the wicked step-mother and be hated. There went all my confidence. I was a loving person and people liked me so why wouldn’t these two little kids like me too? And there my confidence was starting to creep back. I hadn’t even met the kids and the cycle of self-doubt had already started. That didn’t matter, I was going to do this.
One day while at my husband’s house, his son came over to his house unexpectedly and there it was, we were meeting. Holy shit, I went into panic mode. A pit grew in my stomach but I wanted so badly to connect with this kid, mostly so my husband could be impressed by me and how awesome I was to be able to connect with his son. What kind of crazy-ass thinking was this? So I sucked up my fear and tried to talk and play with him. It was ok, mostly awkward at first as he was shy and I was nervous and oddly enough, shy as well. I pride myself on being open and easy going and making friends easily, I can talk to anyone and yet here is this little boy, only 7 years old who made me feel shy, silent and as though I had lost all my brain cells. Fear took over me. For a while we played in some silence with minimal conversation and then it happened: a connection. We were playing with some lego and I found an elastic and flung it at him. For some reason he thought that was the funniest thing and did the same back. We ended up flinging elastics at each other for about 20 minutes and there it was: laughter and a connection. Amazing how a little laughter makes you feel great and like a human again. Suddenly all of my brain cells returned and at that moment there were so many things to talk and laugh about. Funny enough, I think his brain cells returned as well as he began talking and laughing and from what I can tell, acting like himself. It was soon after that he left and I felt light and happy. I did it. I ploughed through my fear and anxiety and made it over the mountain. The rest of the night was so wonderful and my husband also seemed so happy about this, I felt closer to him as well. I enjoyed this small victory however, looming in the distance was yet another hurdle. I still had to meet his daughter, the little sister. I’ll tell that story in my next blog entry, so keep coming back for more step-parenting stories and tips including the First Sleep Over, Meeting the Children’s Mom and Disciplining Children Who Aren’t Your Own. Step-parenting is a lifelong journey which is challenging and tremendously rewarding at the same time. Give me a call and tell me your story and together we get you to the optimal point in your step-parenting relationship.
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