Fact. Being a step-parent is a choice. And that choice is made out of pure love. Period. For anyone to willingly accept and love another persons children means they have put some serious thought into the commitment. Serious thought. We live in a society where nowadays it is not uncommon to be from or be a blended family. People are recognizing that love is important and “staying together for the kids” isn’t as easy as it used to be. Do we all wish it would have worked with our kids other parent? Of course. That is always the easiest for the children involved. Unfortunately, that is no longer always the reality (kudos to those who are still going strong). We want to be happy, we want our kids to see us happy. Let’s face it, kids are smart and if they know you aren’t happy it affects them in more ways than we think.
When I had my son, there was nothing more in this world that I wanted then to have this cute little family who beat the odds of teenage pregnancy and staying in love and married forever. That’s not what happened. And that’s OK. We were different. I had to grow up overnight and care for a baby and he got to continue to be a teenager. I was not mad at him for this. It was his choice, as it was mine to excuse myself from that world. I lost him as my son’s dad, which hurt. It didn’t hurt knowing he left me, because that was long gone. It hurt knowing my son would never know his Dad. He would never know where he got some of his annoying traits from, he would never know what it felt like to call someone Dad, he would never know what it was like to see himself in his Dad’s eyes. As sad as it makes me, even as I write this, it has made me stronger knowing that I had to commit to being his rock at all times. It also made me choose very carefully who I brought into his life. There is nothing easy about bringing another person to potentially make a very big impact on your kids life. It is never easy. I feel very fortunate to have found someone who is a great role model for him. He is the hard ass that keeps him in line, where I am the softy who begs for his love. Is their relationship perfect? Hell NO! It takes a lot of effort and a lot of time and a lot of understanding to have that, it will come.
On the flip side, my husband has 2 children of his own. They are fortunate to have both their Mom and Dad actively involved in their every day lives. It was never hard for me to love them because I knew they were supported in every aspect of their life and I was just there as an extra cheerleader, another shoulder to cry on, a friend. Even though it all sounds peachy and I am truly lucky to have great step-kids. It’s not a breeze. It’s hard being on the outside. I have no say in anything. Any decisions that are made are between their Mom and Dad, how it should be. However, when you have committed time, money and lots of energy, it’s hard to accept at times. I don’t have to deal with another woman being a part of my son’s life and I can only imagine how hard it would be to have to handle that, so I get it (kind of). But, as they get older, I hope at some point they realize that even though I have never been a real parent to them, I worry about them the same as I do my own, I am proud of them the same as my own, and I love them the same as my own.
If there is one thing that I have learned from being the daughter of a blended family to being a mother of a blended family is that, love wins. Always.
My Step-Dad loved my Mom and chose to accept us and fight through the shittiest of times and handle 7 kids under one roof. It certainly was not easy and I certainly did not make it any easier. I respect him now more than ever.
My Step-Mom loved my Dad and chose to stay by his side through the good, the bad, the ugly. I love her for being there for my Dad when I wasn’t and will never be able to express my gratitude toward her.
Even though it is a hard, stressful job, I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to have the toughest job in america. For loving my husband so hard to want to create a life for not only me, my son, but the 5 of us as a whole. I am grateful for both of my step parents for loving my Mom and my Dad in the way they deserve to be loved and for loving me and my brothers as their own. All feelings aside. No parent is better than the other. We are here for one reason, and one reason only, and that is to give our children the life they deserve. It is not about money, about splitting time, it is about love. Love conquers all.