Last year Dory was kind enough to share her experiences of becoming a step mum, which you can read about here. It really resonated with some of you and I’m delighted to say she’s back today to share the second part of her journey. I’d really struggle to deal with the issues that Dory has had to face and I admire her achievements. Over to you, Dory!
In my last post I gave a brief background on meeting my Husband and his children. Now, I’ll tell you the honest (if a little rambling) truth about what it’s like being married to a man who has two children from a previous relationship and becoming a step-mother.
In the 4 years since meeting my step children for the first time, we have become very close. Don’t be fooled, they are by no means perfect children, and there have been mighty lows to rival the highs, but generally when we are all together, we are a tight family unit.
One thing I cant get my head round is this. When they go home they turn from polite, well mannered, funny children into foul mouthed urchins who fight all the time. As they’ve got older they have mellowed slightly and argue less but when they were younger we were forever getting phone calls because their mum couldn’t cope with them. When H left the discipline went with him and thus, H found a long time ago that it was better for him to worry about their behaviour with us, rather than rushing to discipline them for their mother. It got thrown back in his face too many times and eventually, when she called him to ‘get round here and sort these effing kids out’ he said no. Too many times did he rush round there, tell them off, take their belongings away and generally, parent them, for her to them turn on him and say he was being too harsh. Too harsh on a boy who got expelled from school at age 9 for calling a teacher a c***? How I didn’t get involved and give her a piece of my mind, I don’t know. I just knew that H was their dad and it was up to him to dish out the punishments and it was up to him to deal with her, not me, and nowadays, if they are bad with us, H punishes them. If they are bad with their mum it’s her call. In the past few years this has worked quite well and now, we plod along quite happily.
This leads me into one of the first thoughts about being a step-parent. What happens when your ideas of what is right or wrong differ? What happens when your step children behave in a way that you find wrong, but your Husband doesn’t? It’s very hard to hold my tongue sometimes. B and F are both very forward and quite outspoken, they get it from their mum, and sometimes I find their attitude, especially around adults, slightly disrespectful. In the early days I wouldn’t have ever said anything, but now, after 4 years, I feel I can tell them to stop being rude, or answer someone when they speak to them. However, sometimes, H doesn’t agree with me. This can then cause an argument between us. He once accused me of always trying to find fault in the kids, or always seeing the worst. Which gets me thinking, do I do this? Honestly? Maybe I do. They are, after all, a product of their mother (I’m not her biggest fan) and therefore have many of her traits, which I can pick out a mile off. I know when they are being sarcastic or purposely stubborn and I don’t feel they should get away with it. I also feel that maybe H looks at his kids with rose tinted glasses, finding things they say funny, where I find them rude. Perhaps it’s because I am jealous of the relationship they have with my husband. He loves them unconditionally and his daughter makes his whole world go round. It’s very hard to deal with the fact that I am not the only one H loves. It’s something we’ve had to work on, and we still work on it now. I think it’s different when they are your own children, but I am always reminded that B and F are not my children and maybe on some level, I hold that against them. I love them, please don’t get me wrong, I love them so much and F and I especially have an amazing relationship, we’re best friends! Over the years we have become really close, but I’m not her mum and I never will be and sometimes it hurts.
I think that perhaps (and this is my own self consciousness) I am judged by people. I wonder if they’re thinking that I’m too young to have step children their age, (I’m 27, they’re 12 and 9) or that perhaps I was some sort of home wrecker who stole a man away from his children! I’ve even been mistaken for B’s older sister before. I sometimes feel that step mothers get really bad press as jealous, selfish women who hate their step children. I can’t speak for the rest of them but I’m not! I know I’ve mentioned feeling jealous earlier, but we’re talking for a split second. The rest of the time I’m trying to feed them (I’m definitely a feeder), make them laugh, having dance offs with them and generally enjoying being around these amazing little people who have enriched my life so much. I love them. They might be loud and too forward and a bit mental but my god, I wouldn’t have them any other way.
H and I are currently trying for our first child. I’m scared and excited and generally impatient because it’s been 3 months and I’m still not pregnant! Even though I know it can take a long time and there may be problems etc. I just really want a baby. The kids want us to have one too. They are always asking when we will be having one, talking about wanting a brother or sister, where it will sleep, F has even picked out a pram for us! Part of me worries though, that B and F might feel jealous or resentful towards a new arrival. However, H’s attitude is that they will have to deal with it. Fair enough, but I still worry for them. The other part of me cannot wait to tell them and I just want to involve them as much as we can. We’ve talked about it of course, and when (god willing) I do give birth, I will want them to come and visit their new sibling as soon as possible, within a few hours if they can. I have thought about the fact that this would not be H’s first child, he’s already experienced this before and sometimes this bothers me. But it’s his first with me and he is 10 years older now so it’s going to be a slightly different experience! Wish me luck on this journey readers, I think we might need it. If we fall now, my screaming newborn will have to contend with a 13 year old boy full of hormones and a 10 year old girl who’s going through puberty! What joys we have in front of us…!
When I was younger, my life plan was not to meet someone who already had 2 kids and a nutcase ex and then marry him and spend every other weekend and two nights in the week playing step mum. I wanted to travel, buy a house, a lovely car, have enough money to buy beautiful clothes and all those things. However, here we are in our 2 bed flat with the cat, no hope of moving for at least 3 years, a clapped out old Peugeot, hardly any money and me with terrible roots (!) simply because H has 2 kids to support. I’ve often thought of what life would be like without the kids, we’d have more money, more free time, no ties. We could move away, even out of the country, we would have a car each and we could go on 4 holidays a year. Marvellous I hear you cry! But! And this is a big but…we wouldn’t have a house filled with laughter every other weekend, we wouldn’t do all those fun things we do with the kids like go to water parks, arcades, play areas and bike jumps, we wouldn’t have had a best man and chief bridesmaid at our wedding who meant more to us than anyone in the world. We wouldn’t have a family. And that’s exactly what we are, a crazy dysfunctional little family that we can’t wait to add to. We are – My H, his step son B, his daughter F and now me. Only one of the children is H’s and neither of them are mine! On paper, it shouldn’t work, but it does, beautifully, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I wish you lots of luck with your TTC journey, Dory. I already know you’ll make a fab mum.