You Can’t Hurry Love

you-cant-hurry-loveDay two of 31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom….

Love is a funny thing.  And over this past year, I’ve continued to fall in love with my children.  All of them.  Celebrating their wins and standing beside them with their losses.  With three teenagers and a tween in the house, it’s difficult some days to distinguish emotions.  I always love them… but some days?  I just don’t like them.  At. All.  Whether I birthed them or not.

Last year, about this time, I had the privilege of spending the weekend with a group of stepmoms.  Before turning in for the night, I called home to check in on the troops. Thing 4 (then age 9) had spent the night with a new friend. Thing 3 (then age 12) was away at a Bible quiz, his first of the season. Thing 1 (then age 17) had a big paper to write and Thing 2 (then age 15) has just gone golfing with her Papaw who drove in from Tennessee.

And, of course, I needed to know if the hubs was hiding in the bathroom or if the house was still standing. 😉 (You’ve seen Mom’s Night Out, right?)

When Thing 3 told me how well he had done on his quiz, I could tell he was beaming from ear to ear. He’s worked so hard memorizing verses and studying and it was evident in his performance that day. I could feel tears well up in my eyes as I paced back and forth in front of the retreat center in Asheville because I was so stinkin’ proud of him.

It was the same reaction I had while watching Thing 2 serve during a volleyball game and it finally go over the net. Her first year playing and the one facet of the game she just hadn’t quite figured out finally all came together.

I compare the two because Thing 3 is my stepson and Thing 2 is my biological child yet my emotions showed no discrimination.

I wish I could say that was always the case or that it’s the norm for all stepmoms.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

I love children, and the hubs’ children were great kids. They were six and three when I met them – young enough to still have love for any adult who loved them back, but old enough to realize that my presence meant mom and dad were no longer together.

I can’t remember ever not loving my step kids. But I remember a time that I loved them differently than I did my own kids. And I remember a time when, to them, I was just “Dad’s new wife.”

Over time, and through the grace of God, I came to love Thing 3 and Thing 4 in the same way I love Thing 1 and Thing 2 and I believe that love is reciprocated. (Either that or I have future Oscar winners living in our home!)

I learned it was normal to love my biological kids differently than my step kids and more importantly, that’s it normal. This didn’t make me the “evil” stepmom; it didn’t make me a horrible person; it just meant I was normal. This opened my eyes to the relationships others have with my step children. Just because I now love my step kids in the same way I love my own, doesn’t mean that my parents, my brother, my friends, etc. have to. (I’m so grateful that most people in my life don’t treat them differently because I didn’t birth them!)

But, I also learned it takes time.

The Supremes said it best with:

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take

If you aren’t there yet, it’s okay.

If you never get there, it’s okay.

But don’t give up.

“The Smart Stepmom recognizes that she will love her biological children differently that step kids. She knows that God can and will give her a supernatural love for her husband’s children if she sincerely asks.” – Laura Petherbridge, co-author of The Smart Stepmom

Love them the best way you know how. They will love you for it.

(Maybe not today, but one day…cling tight to that.)



It’s Complicated…

itscomplicatedI’ll admit I’m one of those people who roll their eyes and release a guffaw when I see someone change their relationship status to “it’s complicated” on Facebook.

Because really?

If your relationship is that complicated, Facebook probably isn’t the place to announce that, and you should probably just select “single.”

But, as a stepmother, dealing with the relationships within our realms, there is no other way to describe it:

It’s complicated.

There are days that you are loved and there are days that you aren’t.  There are moments when you wish you could stop time and relish in the feeling forever and then there are the days that you are sitting in the driveway of your own home, afraid to go inside.

Now, I realize that most biological mothers can say the same thing, but when you add the complexity of the relationships with those that don’t reside within the four walls of you home…

That’s when it gets crazy.

And while I know it’s crazy because I live it every day, I didn’t realize the level of crazy it really was until I saw it played out in this video by Ron Deal and Family Life Blended.

(Take three minutes and watch this…seriously… especially if you don’t come from a blended family.. it provides so much insight)

You see, the complications come from simple math (I’ve always disliked math!)

It’s a home divided, then multiplied, and sometimes divided again wreaking havoc on anyone involved in the situation.

Yes.  It’s complicated.

And it’s a blessing AND a curse when someone tells me I make it look so easy.

Because it’s not easy.  And I struggle.  And I fail.

I fail my husband.  I fail my children. I fail my stepchildren.  I fail their biological mother.  I fail myself.

It would be very easy to live in the pit of my failures and allow them to define me.

But I have learned that it is in the time that I chose NOT to live in the “it’s complicated” realm that I find myself with the most joy.  It’s in the time that I embrace the chaos of our family and the complexity that I feel most at peace with our situation.

“A smart stepmom is prepared.  She isn’t naive or ambushed by complex stepfamily issues and is flexible to cope with matters that she didn’t see coming.” – Laura Petherbridge, co-author of The Smart Stepmom

Yes, it’s complicated.

But complicated doesn’t have to have a negative connotation.  In our case, with the complication, also come many blessings.

So if I were have to select a status for our family for all the world to see, I would select “in a relationship” – because I have chosen this relationship – the ups and the downs.  I have chosen to pursue a relationship with my husband, his children, and ultimately?  His ex-wife. (Oh, and I’ll dive a little deeper into that realization later.)

And even though it’s complicated?

I’m all in.


Today’s Resource:  Family Life Blended


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