Yayyyyy - I got another question from the lovely and inspiring Deb over at missivefromsuburbia.blogspot.com (yeah, so much easier to type in the url instead of the link thing! I promise that I'll get Firefox one of these days because my posts look like they have multiple personality disorder with some being all type and some having the pretty effects! Just call my blog Britney, bitch)
Deb asked me what it was like being a stepmother and if I was worried about it before we got married?
I'll answer the easy part first. I wasn't worried about it before we got married because I'd already had a taste of it prior to that time. Hubby and I tied the knot on 7.25.06. I knew going in that I was marrying him and all his baggage...there were no blinders, there were no rose tinted glasses. I already knew the ugly naked truth.
Now, that being said, being a stepmother is like shoving toothpicks into your veins. Painful and something you realize quickly you don't want to do! Now, before anyone freaks out, I know there are some stepfamilies that get along just fine and everything is hunky dory (ie: Hubby and my kids) but Deb asked ME what it was like so I'm answering from my perspective.
Hubby's oldest son lived with us from August of 06 to July of 07. Every single day was pure hell. Hubby and I were at each other's throats and the house had a general air of noone wanting to be there. This year is how I knew my marriage would last - if we can make it through that year, we are good to go!
You see, Hubby's children - particularly his oldest - weren't happy with the parent's split. Oldest wanted his parent's back together and asked several times why this couldn't happen, even while Hubby and I were living together, engaged, and pregnant. His general attitude toward me was - you are nothing more than my dad's girlfriend and I will not listen to a thing you say. He broke/bucked every rule we had in place. He wanted to go home to his mother (who lives in PA - hence all the references to Hubby's trips there) by Christmas but Hubby made him finish out the year. Stepson decided that he would do everything in his power to make us regret that decision.
Both of his children live in an environment without a lot of discipline or follow through. They aren't used to rules and regulations. They don't like my house. They don't like me.
So, after our year of hell, I had to figure out how to make things enjoyable when they come to visit. Afterall, they are Hubby's flesh and blood and I want their time with us to be spent as pleasantly as possible. Last summer when they flew out, I had a long talk with Hubby and explained to him the things that make me crazy - mostly coming home to find my house trashed and every rule we have in place ignored. I made sure that he was the first one home. I found errands to run and people to see. I would get home around 6 or 7 each night which gave Hubby time to get things returned to normal and spend more quality time with the boys.
You know what? The visit was actually pleasant. I found that since I was able to nag less, Hubby was more willing to step up to the plate and make sure rules were enforced. Because I could see him taking care of issues, I became less bitchy and more willing to be home.
The short answer is: being a step parent is just that. If there are two parents who are involved (involved being the key word), your place will never be anything more than as dad's wife or mom's husband. Once you can accept that and let go, being a step parent is not to terrible.
Disclaimer: this is written purely from my own perspective of what I have dealt with. It is not meant to be construed as expert advice or a definite of example of what having step kids is like. My own husband's perspective on this would be much different than mine. Obviously, specific examples of issues have not been disclosed since I don't want Hubby thinking all I do is bash his kids or his ex-wife. As far as the ex wife goes, I could fill a post but since she's not my ex, I will refrain for Hubby's sake. That doesn't mean its not open season on my ex! Also, if anyone has any great tips on dealing with steppies, I would love to hear them!!!