I always wanted to be a mother.
I loved kids and could not wait for my own. I spent countless hours dreaming of all the things I would do for and with my own children.
So when it didn’t happen, I felt an overwhelming amount of sadness.
The hole was so deep it made me feel empty, alone, incomplete and even ashamed.
It took a long time to reconcile that I would be alright without.
And despite the façade, the internal battle continues to scream for my attention.
Upon making peace with this understanding, I met (and married) my soul mate.
To my delight he came equipped with three children of his own.
Three incredible kids that I instantly fell in love with.
Three children that opened their hearts to me, welcomed me into their world and surrounded me with a new level of sweetness.
I embraced this newfound role for all that I could. Delighting in being a step-parent, I enjoyed the simple moments I had with them, the opportunity to do and be with them in their journey and assist with their daily needs. I couldn’t wait to help out! The mundane tasks seemed so exciting to me….helping with homework, shopping, driving to programs – it all felt stimulating.
But then the assaults arrived. Apparently I was overstepping – they had a mother and I needed to be more aware that I had no rights. How dare I do “X” with them? They don’t need to spend time with my family -we aren’t blood related.
My actions became “inappropriate”.
Good intentions turned sour.
The judgment and critism hurt.
Sensing their mother’s angst, the kids started to slip away. Fiercely protective, they wanted to right their mother. It felt like knives in my heart when they started to detach. Even harsher when I could see disdain for me in their faces. Adjusting to this about face took a toll on my very being. It made me question my role and my own self worth. And I continue to grapple with this reality.
Today I live with caution. I am very aware that my actions may be misconstrued. This often makes me insecure and annoyed. Needing permission for things I would do without thought had they been my own. I am always cognizant that my measures will be judged and evaluated.
I still run, shop, drive, make meals, clean, care and try to be there for them.
And some days, I find it is easy and fun – traces of how it was at the beginning. And on other days it is feels tricky and unjust. It will never be with the ease of an actual parent. And I will always be mindful of that fact.
Being a step-parent comes with many blessings.
But it should also come with a scale and a step ladder as it is a balancing act of stepping from the foreground to the background without tipping over 🙂