Dear Fabulous Stepmom,
I see you. It’s almost switch day and you are tired. Taking care of kids is kind of exhausting some days. You do all the things a real mom does and yet you will always be the “step” part of the equation. We’re trying to change that reputation but you still feel it as you pour milk into cereal bowls and pick up dirty socks from behind the couch.
Why are the socks always behind the couch? The kids mention something they’ve done at their other parent’s house and you smile at them because you want them to know they can talk about anything but it wears on you– this constant stream of knowing things about another person without really wanting to. This is a point of contention sometimes– and you wonder if the other parent would die if they found out what their kids of told them about life at their house. You have leverage if you ever really needed it. You stay neutral though– like Switzerland or Costa Rica. You are the queen of this household it’s your safe place too. And yet there you go, flushing toilets that were forgotten about and stepping on toys trying to get to their beds for a goodnight kiss.
You have the patience of a saint some days and other days, like today–you feel like you are in the middle of a tornado.
Gripping the steering wheel tighter isn’t going to solve the fighting in the back seat or the amazing rendition of the latest Katy Perry song. Should they know all these words? You switch it off to their dismay and find something “clean” to play.
Sometimes when they leave you notes that make you want to cry. Those little words scribbled on the chalkboard, “We are family. Love wins.”
They’ve written those notes when you were probably in the closet hiding. They love you — they tell you all the time.
You love these kids like you’ve never loved before. It’s stretching you. It’s changing you. It’s making you crazy. Or maybe you don’t really love the kids. It’s okay if you don’t — you love their father and that puts you in a position to care for them in whatever way you can. Don’t beat yourself up about it.
I see you. We go through the same things over here too. We are still trying to figure this whole thing out. We have never felt so loved and so vulnerable at the same time.
But hunny, pay attention to the little things. Write them down.
Your little is growing up before your eyes and you are a witness to her story. You watch her grow and develop little habits. The way she flicks her hair over her shoulder or applies lip gloss like a Hollywood starlet. The way she sometimes sounds like she is as wise as an 80-year-old when she is only 10. They way she is watching you — asking for approval, asking for something that she can’t articulate yet.
You were there for that. You watched him grow and learn how to throw a football and get over the fear of sledding. You watched the way he learned to read, slowly at first and then all of a sudden he was belting out the name of street signs and businesses as you drove down the road playing car games.
They were there for you too when you first fell in love. They watched everything. They tucked it away in their hearts and in their heads. They know your love story better than you some days.
It was all in the details.
Your truth and their truth is different. So pay attention.
If she is a little clingy today– pay attention. Encourage her dad to tell her again how wonderful she is and how lucky he is to have her in his life.
If he is extra loud at dinner, make sure you ask about school and his friends. You are maybe not a psychologist but you can read people. It’s one of your gifts.
Pay attention to the way your husband’s hair looks in the morning and the way he talks about his kids when they aren’t around. Watch the way he grabs for you hand and silently asks for your patience here, he knows you better then you know yourself. Take note.
Because it goes by quickly– pay attention to the way your heart gets bruised or fills with joy. Don’t sweep it under the rug and warrior on all the time. Sit with it. You have an amazing and difficult job ahead. You were put here for such a time as this. There is magic in the world. Look for it.
Let these things change you.
Be intentional today.
Loves to you and yours.
Reposted with permission from Amy Young, whose blog Atreverse: to dare can be found by clicking HERE.
Author Info: Amy Young loves travel, writing, books, adventure, Ryan, coffee, chocolate, swedish fish, photography, love stories, quotes, long runs, the ocean and moments that encourage change, gratitude or absolute contentment.