You know when I was growing up my mum always used to say that I can never be with a guy that already has kids, among other do’s and don’ts when speaking about dating. I definitely took that on saying to myself why would I want to be with a guy whose children aren’t mine. I was actually a snob about it and if I did entertain a guy with children in my young days, I knew I didn’t intend to spend my forever with him.
More than often, where I am from, when a man opens his mouth to say he has kids you think one of two things.
- He’s still sleeping with his child’s mum or at least on occasion
- Baby mama drama
When a woman opens her mouth to say she’s a parent you think to ask one of two things.
- Are you still with the father
- (If not) is the father still around
How sad is it that women are assumed to be the ones that brings the ‘Drama’ and the men are assumed to be MIA? Don’t get me wrong there is an element of truth to the above but still it’s sad.
But…. Hi, I am a stepmom and my husband is a stepdad and if you are in your 20’s the chances of you becoming a stepparent aren’t that low. I myself have never brought drama to my daughter’s biological father mainly because my daughter wasn’t planned and I don’t believe in force. Love is expressed effortlessly and if you have to make the ‘effort’ I shall leave you in peace. My husband is a dad to all his children in every sense of the word and so the question ‘are you still there for your kids?’ didn’t have a chance to pop into my mind because to know my man is to know his kids.
Shall I tell you what changed my mind that I would consider a man with 2 kids in my more mature days? No it was not because I had produced fruit of the womb already (that’s a lame reason – ladies do not settle please);it was because he said “which women would want to be with me in my situation?” That said a few things to me instantly. It said to me that he comes as a package and whatever women got with him got with his kids too. It said to me that he was involved and his parental status was undeniable. It said to me that because he has two children already that he may have to give up a worthwhile relationship and what that concluded to me was ‘love struck’ emojis in my brain and tingles in my ovaries.
(side note – for me if a father is not in his child’s life that is a red flag for you should you have a child with him also)
I was a single parent with the same worry but the beauty of it all was that we got each other on what was the most important level of our lives. I thank God that I wasn’t such a snob that I would over look my now love. His transparency was my anchor.
But let me be real – It soon dawned what if his kids didn’t like me? We are talking young humans that have their likes and dislikes, personalities and my being a mum didn’t make the very real fear of meeting them any easier.
My approach was to be myself and it paid off, to hang back just enough to allow them to be comfortable in my presence and not to impose too much on their relationship with their daddy. I’m guessing my husband was all the way in love with me by this point (for those who know him he may deny this) because he made it clear that I was a part of the mix and so was my daughter. I am blessed that the kids meshed well fairly quickly but should I give advice, allow the relationship between you and the child its own time to develop. Slow cook that chicken because that is how it retains the most moisture and flavour, and yes… I did liken this situation to cooking chicken because you all understand me better now don’t you?!
It’s not easy being a stepmom let me be frank but I intentionally love them and our pick and mix family is full of flavour. So here are my top ten commandments in case anyone would wonder..
- Don’t consider yourself as a bonus parent or a replacement parent for when they are with you
- Do not play favourites – you are a blended family but a family NONE the less. Be a blessing to all your kids
- Be your husband’s supporter regarding his ways of parenting.
- Be your husband’s refuge when he is weary and needs some physical and/or emotional support. E.g. you take the kids to the cinema if your spouse promised but now decides he really needs a lie in or something comes up.
- Be respectful of the other parent for the child’s sake if any (basically don’t rock the boat).
- Be an advocate for peace in your own home and don’t try to involve yourself or fix anything that occurred before you.
- Expect bumps in the road – nothing is perfect and this to will require work and patience.
- Be honest with your spouse concerning the stepchildren – you are a team.
- Don’t make your marriage about the kids, when the kids grow up and leave like you did, all you’ll have is each other.
- Pray for your peace, strength and patience. Pray for all the children and of course your spouse
In my blended family the Lord has really got me back here!
Teamwork makes the dream work!
Let’s talk next time,