Thursday, March 11, 2010

Stepmom little thing meditation

I have to start this post by saying how wonderful I think Sandra Bullock is. She is a stepmom to three children (who have two separate moms). One of those moms is an ex-porn star who was recently jailed for tax evasion. Nice.

It was a nice "little thing" for me to see Sandra Bullock win her Oscar this week and to silently celebrate that we stepmoms have a role model and advocate in the celebrity world. Maybe she can help throw some chinks into the armor of the wicked stepmother myth. (Although a quick Google search that pulled up articles about "Stepkids think Bullock is a monster" proves the media-razzi sure aren't helping the fight.)

The life of a stepmom is rarely simple. It can be thankless and full of pressure. Pressure to do right by children in spite of their mother's best efforts to turn them against you (and often your husband); pressure to be sweet and perfect in order to dispel the wicked stepmother myth. You can give and give, only to receive scraps in return.

In my own life as a stepmom, those everyday "little things" often save me. They are what keep me going.

The stepmom little things that come to mind:

~ A handmade card I received from my stepdaughter that said, "I Love You"
~ My stepson saying at piano practice Monday night, "I'm glad A.J. is here"
~ Both kids yelling "A.J.!" when I come downstairs in the morning; they are actually glad to see me
~ Knowing in my heart that I am serving as a different kind of role model for them; teaching them self-sufficiency and responsibility
~ Knowing that I will always treat the kids with respect and authenticity and will never play with their emotions (as some others in their life do), and that they will appreciate that someday
~ Giving my stepson a time-out last night while C. was at the store -- and it worked, and he apologized for his behavior. It was a victory moment for me - turns out, I am an authoritative parent. (I took a quiz.)
~ Watching my stepdaughter ride her bike alone for the first time -- sharing a 'first' in her life.
~ Watching the kids thrive with the new goal-setting system C. and I implemented at our house.
~ Hearing my stepdaughter read her first book (with just a little help from me) last week. (The edge-of-your seat story of The Red Hen.)

~ Getting a good report from my stepson's new school that he is behaving well and doing well! (Curses to the old school for giving up on him or any child as a lost cause.)

There are a lot more, and I hope I will always stop to remember those moments and small victories.

There are a lot of challenging moments as a stepmom. I have already been through moments of great despair as a stepmom. It is way harder than anyone tells you it will be (and I think most biological parents would agree with that statement, as well). Yet, this past year has been the biggest year of growth in my life. Those two little ones are, in part, responsible for that -- and I thank them for that.

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