There are days that being a Step Mom is as painful as giving birth, but without the reward. No matter how positive you try to stay there are going to be days you fall down – and dwell there for awhile. It may be for days, or weeks – but if it reaches months send me an email…
I have been going through this lately myself. I have a great relationship with my mini men. However, about a month ago, my 14 year old was angry with me. You know – how dare I ask him to dust his room…I am sure you can all think of a similar argument you have had with your Step Children. The difference is that Monkey has some fairly severe anger management issues. He blows up regularly at school and at his Mother’s house – but with me he had always been different. He never had had an episode…until now. He was angry and wanted to show me just how upset he was. He continued to destroy things in his room looking for a major reaction from me – but I didn’t. I remained calm hoping to bring him down. It became a battle and he was set to win. He grabbed my book “What Is A Momo?” and tore it into tiny little pieces – and through them at me. It was a dagger that went straight through my heart. This was the book that I wrote for my Step Children – for him. It was a huge accomplishment to get it published. We created that book, step by step, as a family. Somehow I thought it represented our bond – the love that we shared…and he destroyed it. He tore it apart, piece by piece.
How did I react? I remained calm and simply said if that is what he felt he needed to do, to go for it. Minutes passed and eventually he asked for a garbage can to pick up the mess he had made. Of course we talked about it and eventually we made up, but there was a part of me that felt broken. Days passed. I told my husband that I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull myself back up. A small part of me remained angry, the pain was festering and it was unhealthy. The problem was, Monkey knew it. He recognized that I was being distant and was reacting with more bad behavior. Swearing at me, throwing his homework…oh ya, he was a real peach. I felt that this was the beginning of the end, and it could have been. It was a turning point for my family and we were heading in the wrong direction. We were drowning and I wanted a life line.
I believe things happen for a reason. A random person – one of you – found a blog post on Pinterest and sent me a message about how much she needed to read it, it had inspired her and lifted her back to her feet. Next a friend of mine had reached out and asked why I had not been writing for awhile. Truth was, I wasn’t being the positive Step Parent that I knew I should be and had lost my direction in the seas of true heartache. I started this blog for all of us, all Step Mom’s that find ourselves right where I was stuck. Again and again I say that a lot of what happens under our roofs is based on our own choices and attitudes. I had gotten lost in my own grief and forgot that the only real way to turn this around was to fix what was broken…in me.
I sat Monkey down again, but this time it was different. I told him how I was feeling. We chatted about him feeling me distance myself from him, causing him to feel alone and act out. I looked him in the eye, and forgave him – really forgave him. I explained that my heart was hurting, but together we could mend it back up. He jumped up and gave me the most sincere hug that I have ever felt in my life. That little boy was bursting with joy! He too was hurting and I gave him a way out.
Getting angry, feeling pain, being defeated, are all parts of being a Step Parent. It does not mean that you have failed. It does not mean that you will never have a good relationship with your Step Children – It means you are a human. It means you have stepped up to the plate to make a difference in your families lives – and they really do need you! You may be jealous at times of your children’s love for their Mother, you may resent their bond with their Father, all of these things are REAL. Feel them, own them, acknowledge them – but now, let them go. If you want your family to work, recognize the crappy hard truths of what you are feeling. It is ok, here’s a secret – we ALL feel those things. They are not pretty. They are not feelings to be proud of, but that does not make them less real. Acknowledge that they are there and tell yourself – your love for your family is greater than any of the crap that comes with the job. Marinate in that love – the little moments that warm your heart and make a smile spread across your face. You will do this – You can do this – and if you ever need encouragement, I am just an email message away. Take care my friend…
~ Amy Z