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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Stepping in the Mess

A person will never truly know the person they marry or their children until those vows are taken, the honeymoon ends and routine life starts.  All those things you know about your new family through the dating and courtship process are amplified when living together.

Not only do you promise to love your new man for the rest of his days, but his children, too...and those children have great power within your new home.  Their mood can affect the tone of the family, their schedules must be honored, their space and preferences are already established. 

When there are problems with his children, I'm not exactly sure where to fit in, how to assist.  Their bio mother is still active in their life and she has more history and authority than I do.  For me, I find it most helpful, at least for now, to support my Mr. Wonderful in his parenting.  I can be a safe place to express disappointment and fear.  I can be a trusted sounding board for his thoughts.

Still, it feels like an uncertain place - a new dynamic which I've never experienced before.  Sometimes things seem to be clicking along just as sweetly as possible and then something changes.  I sense it, but I can't say what caused the change nor can I fix it.  It would be easy to allow distance and resentment erode the connections we've created in our blended family, but I'm fighting that!

As a step-parent, it is easy to think that I am an outsider in the relationships between my bonus daughters and my husband.  I are not an add-on.  I have always been part of God's plan for their lives.  It's one of the ways He makes something good out of what seems bad.  We are truly serving on the front lines!

Did you have a step parent who played a positive role in your upbringing and adulthood?  Are you step-parenting today?  I would love to hear how others are doing in this role.  Have a great week!


  1. I just jumped over from 'Giving Up on Perfect' I will come back and browse through your blog. It sounds interesting to me. I grew up with a step-dad and wasn't at all crazy about him until years later when he was the 'angel' that took care of my mom in her later years. I thanked God for him many times over. My boys (now ages 42 and 38) have a step-father when I remarried. Their father wasn't in their lives at all through all the growing up years. I have observed step-parenting almost my whole life. I think the best way is to be there for them and let the kids figure out how they want the relationships to go. You sound like you are doing an awesome job......

    1. Thank you so much, Paula! I appreciate your experience and thoughts. I do wonder if many step-children appreciate the 'bonus' parents more later in life. Both my mother and father had step parents and the relationships improved over time. Thank you so much!

  2. Missy, I am a step-mom to one. She is 16. My husband and I have been married for almost 11years.
    I completely understand what you are saying! It is so hard at times to know when to just listen and when to speak and give support. After several years we co-parent fairly well with my step-daughters mom. She does have different rules than we do, however at our house it is our rules. I have an 18 yr old and 15 yr old from my first marriage. Their dad passed away, so they are here full-time. We also have an 8 yr old together which really brought a new sense of family when he was born.
    Parenting teens is just hard in general. I think you have to do what works best for you and your family. What you feel and think does matter now.

  3. Jenn, I appreciate your perspective. You remind me that parenting teens in challenging in general and not to blame our issues on our family dynamic. How sweet to enjoy your blended crew as well as one who unites you. Thank you so much for sharing!