Lets just cut to the chase, no I’m not an expert, no I do not have a degree in early childhood development, or psychology, but I do have something that can benefit many, experience. Experience in headaches, heartaches, milestones, laughter, and growth. My experience does not mean that I know it all but with any job, field experience is the most relevant.
So, who am I you ask, I am a mother of a very mixed family of 5 children. With my husband having 2 of his own, I having one, and together we have 2, for a grand total of 5 very differently unique children. My step children (which I despise the term, but for the sake of not confusing anyone will use) were 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 when my husband and I started seriously dating, and my son was 2 turning 3. Going from one child to three was more than just a change in plans, it was a change in my life, my lifestyle, and more importantly a lifestyle change for my son. He no longer was an only child, he now had to share everything from his toys to his mom. As our new family dynamic affected both my son and I, it did the same for my husband and his children. We took more than just a detour in our life plans, it was more like deciding to go on a complete different trip in the middle of a current one. Adjustment did not come easy, but we managed.
I am a step parent, my story may not be identical to yours, and it may not even be comparable to yours but that’s what makes it my story. Despite our stories not being identical we do share one common thread, and that is that together although complete strangers we are conquering the step parent journey, with each passing day discovering new setbacks but new heights as well. My goal of sharing my story is for you to take my mistakes as a lesson learned, and build from them. We are humans, mistakes are part of who we are, they are imbedded in our DNA, and mistakes lead to lessons learned. Unfortunately even with turning a negative into a positive, mistakes can leave permanent scars and can hinder growth within relationships whether it is your relationship with your spouse, your spouse’s ex, or your step children. I always wonder how my journey would have been different if I had a guide to help me while I started out. Maybe I wouldn’t have made the mistakes that I did, or even with making some, maybe I would not have made so many. In my journey it took my husband and I a substantial amount of time to have a good working relationship with not only my step children’s mother, but with my son’s father as well. Although we are where we want to be now, and everything is flourishing, I cannot help but think of all the great opportunities that we have all missed out on. Ultimately our bad behavior didn’t just impact us as individuals, but it impacted our children, don’t be us learn from us.