If you had told me 5 years ago that 5 years from then I would have three stepsons I would have thrown my head back and laughed and laughed and laughed.
A few reasons for this:
1) I don’t have boys. I have girls. I practically WILLED the girls to be girls. When I was pregnant with Andria, I announced her gender at the 8 week dating ultrasound. The technician just shrugged and said “You have good eyes lady!” Andria tries so hard to act like I boy, I’m sure she would have preferred to be a boy….so I decided to have another girl. Camryn is your ultimate girly girl – hairdos, and dresses, and DRAMA to the max. I get all of this. I understand it. I doesn’t bother me.
They sit still. They colour. They stay quiet. They bathe, sometimes even voluntarily. Their toys don’t make noise, have remotes, drive, fly, or break apart into six million foot-stabbing pieces.
2) I’m NOT a kid person. The two I birthed myself were…let’s say…surprises, mostly to me. I am a career person. I don’t finger paint, I don’t tolerate whining, and I really, REALLY need my sleep. Kids are messy and unpredictable and generally inconsiderate because…well…they’re kids. When mine came along, I loved them from the very moment I saw them. Then I promptly made darn sure I wasn’t going to have any more.
Whaddaya know. I have 3 stepsons. Over the last 4 years, I have tried to get into the groove of mothering a) kids that aren’t mine and b) boys. The challenges that have arisen seem insurmountable, and surprisingly, there is very little useful literature on the matter. I have a few highlights that I have gleaned from what I have read and what I have experienced for stepmommies:
1) There will be days when you think your husband has forgotten your existence and you are a complete stranger in your own home. Just remember that the kind of guy you WANT to be married to is the kind of guy that will forever overcompensate to his children for the demise of his marriage to their mother. You would never, ever want to be married to a dead-beat dad so when you feel invisible, draw a nice, long, warm comfortable bath and thank God that you are married to a guy who wants to be an amazing father, even if he doesn’t seem to quite know how. The even better part is that he also wants to be a great husband even if he can’t multi-task.
2) No matter how many crafts, activities, gifts and privileges you bestow upon your stepchildren, they will ultimately utter some version of “my mom is better than you.” Remember that you are helping to raise children to honour their parents – and that includes her. When this happens, smile and say “I get ya bud. Mom’s are great, aren’t they?” Then go get a hug from your husband.
3) At the best of times, between biological parents, there will be disagreements on parenting style. Trying to have ultimate agreement between parents in a blended family is like trying to nail jello to the wall: It won’t work and you’ll end up in a mess. State your boundaries and preferences in a loving way and release yourself from the outcome. This will be tough, but remember, that you married a man that comes with children…and they need your love too.
4) You can have your spotless clean neat house in pristine order later. Now is not the time to fuss over silly things when your children and stepchildren need your love (and so does your husband!)
5) If someone offers help, take it. If you need something that you think might sound silly, ask anyway. You’d be surprised how the little things make the biggest difference.
6) Pray. Pray all the time. Pray for God to work in your heart to be soft to your children and family. Pray that He will use your love to create awesome little people in His image. Pray that as your children and step-children grow that they can look back and know they are loved.