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Step-parent, One of the Toughest Titles of All Time

I’ve been a step-mom for just shy of 19 years. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had. I wasn’t blessed with kids of my own, but I’ve done to my utmost to be a good parent to my husband’s children. Mine were young when I came into their lives. My step-daughter was seven, and my step-son was two. I thought they would easily accept me once they got to know me because they were so young. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

“My daddy! You can’t have him!” were my step-daughter’s first words to me when I met her. I’d never dated a man with children before, so I was flabbergasted by her vehement outburst. The entire evening was strained. She didn’t see any of the movie we’d rented because she was so busy glaring at me all night. There was no doubt in my mind that she absolutely hated me.

I drove home that night thinking that my relationship was doomed if my boyfriend’s daughter hated me. I nearly broke up with Jim right then. I was upset by the prospect of ending things since we’d been dating long enough that I was already completely in love with him. I decided to stay with him and show the kids that we could be a family. Like I said, I loved the man. I still do.

My relationships with my step-children could be likened to rafting whitewater rapids. We’ve had ups, downs, twists, and turns that most parent/child relationships experience.

My step-son was more accepting at first. He used to call me “My Mama Margarito” when he was a toddler, but once his speech developed where his mother could understand him, that stopped. For many years, I was nameless unless he needed parental permission for a school trip or someone to attend a bad parent/teacher conference.

My step-daughter, in particular, blamed me for her parents being apart. I didn’t even meet her dad until after his divorce. Through the years, I’ve often heard, “If it wasn’t for you, my mommy and daddy would be together.” She loved hitting me with, “You aren’t my mom, and my mom says I don’t have to listen to you.” Of course, I also heard the normal statements that go with teen angst such as, “You are ruining my life! You will never understand me. You just don’t know anything!”

There were good times, too. My step-daughter insisted that I, no one else, be the person to teach her to drive. She knew I would be patient with her and work with her until she was proficient. I spent several hours driving her around in her car while she sat in the passenger seat just watching me. Once she finally got comfortable behind the wheel, I couldn’t keep her out of the car.

My step-son is becoming a talented self-taught blacksmith. I get to see his projects go through all of their phases. He shows me pictures of projects that he plans to start in the future and often asks me my opinion. He even discusses life issues with me every now and then.

My step-daughter usually comes to visit once a week. I hear from her via text fairly often. We enjoy a friendly relationship. She even calls me to just hang out with her once in a while.

No relationship is perfect. It still hurts me when they don’t give me a card on my birthday or Mother’s Day, but I know they both love me in their own way. Being a step-parent is not for the faint of heart. I took on all of the responsibility of being a parent without the rights. However, throughout the years when I thought things were hopeless, one of them would do something that showed me my efforts weren’t being wasted.

If you’re a step-parent, you may feel like you’re failing or wasting your time. Take heart. You are probably making a much more positive impact on your step-kids than you believe. My point for you who may be feeling overwhelmed by the stress of being a step-parent is that it got better. Both of my step-kids are now adults. We all survived their childhoods. They have both given me grandchildren who will hopefully accept me as their nana regardless of blood connection. After all, love isn’t based on blood. Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you have enjoyed my seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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