I’ve been on this BB since it was only a week old, in 2002! My stepkids are young adults now. We’ve paid for college; we offered advice when asked; kept our mouths closed when not. My SD was a real pill as a teenager. My SS – thank goodness — a bonafide benefit of marrying my wonderful husband. DH & I have a little boy together. When I saw BM (and stepdad) last month, we could actually give each other a warm hug.
I’ve learned a lot being a Smom. Its probably been the most maturing experience in my entire life maybe even more than career, marriage, having a child, seeing family health issues arise (although that certainly gives you better perspective on what really matters). These are some things I’ve learned through trial, error, fire, ice, storm and thanks to Cathryn and this wonderful BB.
1. My first and primary responsibility in this relationship is to be a wife — that is Team #1.
2. I didn’t create the problems (btwn DH and his ex; the stepkids, whomever); I’m not here to solve them.
3. I will take the time to identify only the most important things to get on my soapbox over; it took me a long time to figure out that, for me, it was being treated with dignity & respect in front of my child and in my home…that and please don’t leave wet towels on the carpet in your bedroom. Let a lot of other stuff slide including what they eat, don’t eat, how they chew, do or don’t do their homework, etc…
4. I should definitely offer my stepkids that which they can’t get from the other grown-ups in their lives. If you’ve got a speciality or an experience then do share. But you are best not to try to be everything to everyone.
5. Be open to accepting that other people are unlikely to change; its tough enough to change oneself — how can you expect them to change unless they want to. Put your focus on self-care: how you process or handle tough people & experiences. Learn not to get stuck in raging mode over the imperfections of others.
6. Don’t be your own worst enemy by revisiting, ruminating, and re-dredging up the infractions of others. Remember from the 4 Agreements: “don’t take the poison others serve” — Ali’s Rule — don’t serve yourself their poison by thinking and rethinking that which happened in the past.