He came into my life when I was just 23, and he was 4. I showed him how to have pill bug races, and he taught me that it was important to pack extra socks and underwear when travelling.
I was a “step” mother before I was a “real” mother. I was told “Wait until you have kids, then you’ll really understand what it is like to love a child.”
Almost 20 years later, and I still could not disagree more. I fail to understand why anyone would think that you cannot love another’s child as your own….you might as well say that parents who choose adoption can’t really love their children either…
I have NEVER liked the term “step” in regards to parenting, or as a relationship to a child. Whomever chose the term “step” as a precursor to “parent” certainly didn’t mean it to indicate a step up….
I am his parent, and he is my son; but, I am NOT his mother. When he was in kindergarten he wanted to call me “Mommy” and I rebuffed every suggestion. I always redirected gently, “I am NOT your mommy, I’m your Beth.” We settled into a routine where he would call me “Lady’ and I would call him “Boy”… it works for us.
I will explain my relationship with him to others as “He is my bonus child from my husband’s first marriage” and there are the rare occasions when I let it slip by if someone calls him my son in a social situation, because to correct them if it is a brief conversation seems a moot point…. And at the same time I have a healthy respect for my boy’s mother, and I’m always quick to bring her into an introduction if we are together socially. Conversely, I have brought up my daughters knowing that he is their brother, and NOT a half-brother…who came up with these terms?
It is a very fine line us step parents walk between love and discipline, redirection and rhetoric…
What are your thoughts on step-parenting? Are they card-carrying parents, just stand ins, or something in-between?