Even With a Lifetime of Practice, I Will Never Be Perfect {31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom}

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Through this series, I’ve had the opportunity to introduce myself (and my place in cyberspace) to new readers and not just stepmoms.  While I love the fact I’m finally sharing some of the things I’ve learned on this road of being a stepmom, I do not like the fact that it makes me look like I’ve got it all together.

I don’t.

In some regards, I feel like I’ve done a poor job in making an accurate introduction of myself.

Yes.  I try to respect the kids’ mom.  That’s not the natural response for me.

Yes.  I try to look through the kids’ eyes to gain a better perspective.  But that’s not the natural response, either.

Yes.  I try to let things go.  But that’s not something that’s easy for me to do.

Yes.  I try not to take it personal, but that is something so very easy for me to do.

I’m not super stepmom.

I’m human.

And I don’t want to ever misrepresent that.

If I could share my life with you in a completely transparent, no-holds-barred manner, my guess is I would have more readers in a month than I’ve had in the last seven years I’ve been blogging.

But there are certain stories that aren’t mine to tell, and in the interest of keeping a good relationship with everyone involved (because that is what is MOST important), certain things don’t need to be on the internet.

(Side note:  I wish more people considered these things before they blabbed them all over blogs and Facebook.)

I’ve learned that no matter how many a-ha moments I have on this journey, it doesn’t make me the expert on the subject or a perfect stepmom.

I just makes me… me.

I have to make the choice daily to strive to life life above reproach.  It’s who I desire to be.  It’s who I want my children to see.

It is my prayer that by sharing what I’ve learned with others it will not only help others on their journey but also hold me accountable to what I’m saying.

I’m not perfect.

I’m Heather – a mostly sane mom and stepmom of four, flawed since 1977, but saved by the grace of God since 2007.

It’s a pleasure to meet you.

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We Have No Business Casting Stones {31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom}

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Last fall, my husband made a decision his ex-wife didn’t like and, as a result, she filed for custody.

I’m not sure I blame her completely, because if the tables were turned, I think I might’ve suggested he do the same thing.

My point is this.  When I shifted my paradigm in thinking, a whole new world opened up for me.

I had to change how I thought about her.

Now, I have never been intentionally rude, mean, or unChristlike to the kids’ mother.  I don’t believe in that;  I don’t think it’s right; It’s not how I want to be treated.  But, when the summons from the courts appeared taped to our door, my life spiraled.

All of a sudden, I felt like we were trapped in a bubble, where our every move would be watched and documented.

And why did I feel that way?  Because that’s exactly what we were doing to her.

Isn’t that what you do when a court hearing is on the horizon?  Don’t you gather evidence to support your case?

Of course!

My husband and I were sitting at the table discussing things we didn’t agree with in how she was parenting and we wrote them down.  Notice I didn’t say “things that were putting the children in harms way.”

None of them were.

They were things that were misaligned from OUR parenting goals.

Not a crime.  And certainly not a reason CPS would walk in and take our children away from us.

I’ve learned that SHE is parenting these kids the best way she knows how… just as WE are.  And even if it doesn’t line up with what we believe, we have no right to judge her.

Friends, this is probably the biggest aha moment I’ve ever had in the life of being a stepmom and when I made this realization and stopped judging her, I was able to take the focus on figuring out how she was a bad parent (which she wasn’t) and how I could be a better one.

After all, why should I spend my time focusing on HER (and what I can’t change) when I could be focusing on those within my household (and what I can change)?

I don’t want this to sound mean; I’m simply saying we put too much effort into worrying about what the other party is doing.

And, stepmoms?  If your husband is a stepdad, when was the last time you caught him obsessing over your ex-husband and what he’s doing?

Seriously.

The kids’ mom is a person.  She’s a mother.  Just like me.  She’s struggling to make heads or tales of this parenting world.  Just like me.  She’s just trying to do the best she can with what she has.  Just like me.

And until she puts those kids in harms way?  I have no right to judge her.

I don’t have to like what she does, but I do have to respect it.

When this all went down last year Thing 3 mentioned to me how much he hated that his mom and dad couldn’t agree on the subject.

All I could say was, “Buddy… I hate that you’re going through this and I wish I could make it better for you.  I can’t.  But I can tell you that you have a dad and a mom that want the very best for you.  Unfortunately, they just have different ideas of what’s best.”

And it’s the truth.  My spouse and his ex are not going to agree on everything. (If they did, they’d probably still be married.. remember, exes are exes for a reason!)

However, exes are people.

And exes deserve the same respect that you do.

I’m so grateful that we’re working our way to that place – it’s so much better for the kids… and us.

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Fear Is the Absence of Faith {31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom}

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If you ask me what my profession is, I’ll answer with Director of Children, Teens and Family for Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Virginia. Meaning I’m on staff at a local church. Meaning, my chosen profession requires me, to model Christ, among other things. Like my faith. No pressure, right? I’ve lived much […]

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Remember… You Chose to Travel This Road… {31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom}

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Yes.  I believe God called me to the relationship I’m in now.  But when I’m angry, and I get that every now and then, my first response is “I didn’t sign up for this.” I can’t tell you how many times, tears streaming down my face, I’ve said this to myself. And every time, without […]

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Spend Time Together…and One-on-One {31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom}

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Today, I took my stepson to the grocery store with me. No husband, no other children. Just me and Thing 3. The opportunity to have one on one time with each of them happens less than having them all together, although here of late, getting all four of them together is on the difficult side […]

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