If you follow me on Instagram or on Facebook, you’ve seen my teaser posts leading up to this: Loneliness in Step Parenting. I just want to start out by saying that I really, honestly don’t know how to talk about it. But it needs to be talked about.
There is this stigma that I think a lot of step parents falsely believe when they enter into marriage- that they will be an equal to their partner in parenting. I do NOT mean when it comes to the other parent, by any means. But I DO mean within the household. And it just isn’t true, at least not in my house- and I don’t think we are abnormal.
There’s a lot that goes into this statement, though. It’s not a one-size-fits-all category. In our case, I had been around the kiddos the entire time we were dating, I knew them from church before we dated- I was comfortable with them and they were getting comfortable with me. It took them a long time to realize that I was their dad’s girlfriend and then fiance, and then soon to be.. roommate. But i was still there.
We started sort of implementing some roles for me, on accident, before we got married. I started taking them to their bus stop in the mornings so that my Prince could go to work on time and not have to miss out on hours just to make a couple runs to the bus around the corner. So for me, I woke up 3 hours earlier than I needed and trekked myself 20 minutes out of the way with the intent to help my future husband out. To have some one on one time with my future step kids. To try to do something positive. They saw that things were changing and that new things were happening.
When I became The Step Momma, I sort of expected to be a partner in decision making for the kids. I KNOW that I am not their mother. I am not their mom. I am new. I am the newest. but it is also my house and i have a role in their lives.
When the ugly step parent card rears its ugly face, the Step Momma falls. Fast. It’s easy for me to feel isolated or lonesome. I feel left out. It’s hard when my prince even plays with the kiddos instead of speaking to me. It. all. crashes. down. I get reminded of my new-ness, how fresh I am to this family. And I know I can’t be alone in these feelings. At the end of the day, I can be completely drained from the kids fighting or just the constant pull they can have- not that they are naggy, but just that it is a new life that I am still not used to.
The loneliness creeps in when they have been with us for 1 night and 12 calls his mom because he misses her, but he can spend 6 nights away from us and never call us to check in once. again, i get the mom/son connection, but sometimes that stings too.
How about when the issue of time and visitation comes into play. ALL I have ever asked is that I am notified if there are changes. This is typical in the summer that we will get extra nights with the kids. When I come home I am aching for quiet, solitude. If things are out of the norm, it is difficult for me to even function, really. If we pick up extra nights, I want to be involved in that decision. My plans are important, too. What if I planned a date for us? Or planned to do something different? Or what if I just need a break and some time with my husband? Spring break is approaching, so the Time questions are surfacing. I don’t get to answer because I don’t know 100% of what bio mom has said or what her impact is on the kids. i do know what it’s like to be a step kid. I do know what it’s like to be the voice of reason between two parents who can’t get along. Tonight, I mouthed off and said “let me know what’s acceptable for me to say.” and walked away. I am more easily hurt as a step parent than i ever have been in any other role in my life. ever. the person who holds my heart and shares the same dreams and goals that i have is the only one who has the ability to shake my emotions, and he doesn’t even know when he does it. which makes it tougher.
I don’t know how to explain it.
It’s hard for me to see them have father/child chats and not get updated on what they’re “chit chatting” about. I’m important too.
When they come back from the store and get special treats and nothing for me, I get jealous. I get lonesome when they don’t think of me.
When they haven’t seen their dad or i in almost a week and they, sometimes, come through the door excited to see him. They hug him and get in wrestling matches and i stand to the side. I don’t get much of a hello. I don’t get told good night. I certainly can’t be told I love you. and the last and only hug i have ever gotten was when i specifically asked for one when their mom ripped them away from me. 9 has sat on my lap twice this weekend, but he knows he’s doing something risky- he’s cautious when he does it.
This weekend, we created Mii’s on our Wii gaming system, my step dad gave us his old one a couple weeks ago so we are still customizing and learning new things. They made Mii’s for each kid, my prince and for me. When my Mii showed up on the screen, 9 said “NO. YOU LOOK LIKE THE MOM.” and resorted the entire group of Mii’s and kicked me out. it. hurts.
We are silent because we have to be strong. We endure a lot that other parents don’t. We see a lot. We feel a lot. We are in roles that are unnatural and that’s why it’s so damn hard.
The quote that has been hitting me hard lately is something like, “Why is it so hard to believe that parents can love multiple children, but children cannot love multiple parents?”
Are ya with me? Does this sound like your walk as a step?