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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Oops, I Blundered (Again).

Growing into my role as a step mother is a challenge.  Dealing with teenage girls brings up the insecurities I had as a teenager, it reminds me of how easily girls can take up an offense and sometimes I just tip toe around things because I don't really know how to deal with it.  Other times it's immense fun when we get to giggle over girly issues, talk about which of the soccer guys is the best catch and enjoy chick flicks.

I'm lucky and grateful that Mr. Wonderful is supportive as my role in their lives.  He consults me about their schedules, he requires that they treat me with respect, he encourages that we bond and includes me in all the 'family' matters.  But, the truth is I am not the parent.  I am not the one who will shape their values and enforce boundaries.  It's easy to feel entitled to that because I'm there, and so I'm challenged to accept when my opinion is usurped by their mother or even by him.

Recently, I created a rift between one of my step daughters and me by being critical of a clothing choice.  She purchased something that I found to be less modest than I would accept.  I shared my concern with her and with dad, who then deferred to her mother, who approved.  I felt a bit sabotaged.  But I let it go and bit my tongue each time said garment was worn.

...Until a conversation about modesty in which I blurted out "You wear short stuff!"  I put my girl on the spot and embarrassed her, I made her feel less-than.  It had already been made clear that my opinion on the matter was moot, but I insisted on being heard and in the process hurt her.  I feel really badly.

As I thought about my own youth and remembered the times I pushed the boundaries of modesty and with what I was comfortable.  Truthfully, until I was married and learned more how men think, I didn't place as much value on modesty.  It's all part of maturing.  My step daughter is a classy, smart and darling young woman.  She's going to learn these things and I do trust her to get there in time.  I just hope I didn't damage our relationship in the process.

I later apologized, I reinforced that I loved and respected her and that I had done the same thing.  She says, "We're good" and I am hoping that's true.

In the complicated web of blended families, my dear husband was bothered that I upset his daughter.  I know we're good, but it just reminded me of how carefully one must step in this blended family dynamic.