Stepparenting is not for sissies. Yes, that’s my opening line. Whaaat? It’s the truth you guys. A recent conversation with a very emotional friend made me realize that the average stepparent has to deal with a lot more junk than they actually deserve.
Now, allow me to add a little disclaimer: it is possible to have a healthy blended family dynamic. So the thoughts in this post may not be for you (you go girl, keep up the great work!) but I’m sure it will speak to the hearts of those who are experiencing challenges on the stepparenting front.
We all know that parenting is super hard at times. And stepparenting is next level, yo! It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always have great rewards. But for those of you who are in that position, I’m sure you’re not just sticking it out for the half-hearted Happy Mother’s Day mumble. We do it because we actually care for the kid and we want to create a healthy and happy family environment. But based on the amount of messages I’ve received and the type of situations I’ve experienced, I’ve gathered that trying to be a good stepparent is not the easiest thing in the world.
Well, because ultimately you’re a bonus… an add on … you’re not really needed but you’re not going anywhere. You do the work, you put in the time, you make the commitment. Sometimes it appears to not be enough (because, you know, you could do better, get off your phone Cathy!) but then other times, you give off the impression that you’re doing too much (because, you’re not the kid’s real parent so can you just put your emotions aside, gosh!)
It’s a thankless job and you’re kinda dealt with a whole bunch of different blows that you literally just have to take, for the sake of keeping the peace. (No one wants to be the stepparent who throws a hissyfit every time they feel disrespected… it’s ugly Jane, we don’t roll like that.)
Your every decision and movement is often scrutinised (how dare you give the child chores to do, you monster!) and more often than not, you’re the bad guy before the movie even started, because that’s the way Holywood writes these scripts.
Besides for being the unspoken bad guy, you’re also the person whose opinion and feelings don’t really matter as much. I mean, duh, it can’t matter because you’re not the parent (add on/bonus, remember?)… you’re just there for show. So what you have to say and how you feel doesn’t really count.
Stepparent’s get alot of flack. I can say this because I’ve given the flack, I’ve received the flack and I’ve helped to evenly distribute the flack, many times. Guilty as charged… there are no pretenses here. I’ve had conversations with friends about their kid’s stepparents (tssk tsssk, who does she think she is?!) and I’ve been part of conspiracies to not include stepparent’s at certain events because “he needs to learn”. It’s ugly.
Who made this universal rule that stepparents are not important? Who decided that the stepfather’s intention is not always good? Who told you that the stepmother can’t possibly love the child as much as she says she does? It’s a silly stereotype, honestly Jackie. Cut it out.
I mean, sure, the bonus parent happens to be there because of marriage and all that, and sure we don’t really need them, but guess what we do want them to love our children and treat them well. Oh the irony.
And then we laugh at them behind their backs, at gatherings, exchanging stories and rolling our eyes because, you know, they are only the stepparent and more importantly, we need the entertainment. (Brown people, where you at.)
I guess what I’m trying to do, with this post, is to stick up for bonus parents all around the world who are trying really hard but can’t seem to break out of that evil stepparent stereotype.
You guys don’t have to love the kid and you probably don’t have to put up with the back biting and snarky comments and, you know, being treated like a hobo at the beach trying to direct traffic for a few coins.
You’re there because you want to be there and you love the child because you want to. And even though others may not see your heart, I do. I get it. I see you. And I want you to know that you’re doing a great job.
Disclaimer: Thank you for your blog post suggestions. I love hearing from you guys. If you have any other topics that you’d like to me/us to chat about, hollar at your girl! To my friend who is experiencing this very real heartbreak right now: sending thoughts and prayers your way.