Thursday, July 29, 2010

step-mommy dearest

i feel like it's pretty obvious that i am not too confident in my step-parenting abilities. for one thing, i'm not actually a step-parent yet. for another, part of me thinks D has been doing a great job, so what's the point in trying to help? add to that the voice in the back of my head that says "being a step-parent isn't even the same as being a parent, why are you so stressed out?" which coincides with various friends and relatives that say things like, "well, they're already grown so it's not like you have to parent parent," and you have days where i worry that i'm going to mess the kids up in some irrevocable way.

the truth is, though, that i live with my partner's two kids, who will officially be my step-kids very soon. i also really like them, as people, as well as love them, and want to be a good parent, even if i'm not a parent parent. part of parenting is all about intent, i think, and even if i'm not exactly a parent, i still want to be an adult that the kids can count and depend on, and i still really want to help them grow them into being the amazing people they are on their way to becoming.

which makes the whole issue of discipline kind of tricky. it's already been established that i am way more of a hard-ass than i ever would have imagined. when i thought about parenting i always assumed that i would be a laid back, hippie kind of mom. i'd be all laissez faire about curfews and teach my kids to disregard social norms, while wearing overalls and combat boots. what i learned was that i am not afraid of grounding the kids, taking away privileges, or otherwise being a horrendous nagging bitch. i also stopped wearing overalls and boots a few years ago. the way i see it, sometimes you have to be a bit terrible, especially if you're trying to keep the kids safe and/or teach them something that will keep them safe/happy in the future.

tonight D and i had to have a little chat with the girlchild again about internet safety stuff. we tried not to scare her too much while also instilling the fear of god, which is kind of a hard line to walk. this is pretty normal parental stuff, and part of it just has to do with how the teen brain is wired and prefrontal cortex stuff. this is sometimes just a talk you have to have a few times, before it sticks.

i know at some point i'll stop second-guessing every movement i make with the kids. i have to say, though, sometimes it would just be easier if they were mine and i could stomp around saying things like "why?! because i'm the mom, that's why!" my mantra about all this has worked for me so far: no one gets to pick their kids. even if i'd grown them, named them, and could see myself in their faces, they wouldn't be any more mine. you never know who you're going to get, i just knew that right away. in the same way my parents gave me my sister and my family, my man gave me my kids. he just happened to give them to me when they were a bit older, out of diapers, and already pretty awesome.

1 comment:

Tonya said...

I think step-parenting is actually a lot more difficult than parenting-parenting. But as long as you and D are a united front on discipline and overall goals, they will continue on their way to be awesome people.