Alright ladies. This might grind some gears, as I think my opinions might differ from others. However, I have adopted some of these opinions whilst learning about the family dynamics in one of my college courses.
You’re not their Mom.
Hard to hear, I know. First and foremost, you did not carry them in your womb, you did not give birth to them. It’s an obvious fact, but some of us want so desperately want to be their parent. Unless some unfortunate event happens where their mother dies, you’re a step mom and nothing else. They have a mom and a dad, they don’t need anymore. *This rule may be applied differently if Mom is an absent parent*
Dad is enforcer of rules.
Sorry. For some of us (definitely me, I can be a bit of a control freak) this is a hard pill to swallow. But, like I previously said, you’re not their mom or dad. Rules can be discussed between yourself and significant other before hand, but Dad needs to be the enforcer. This can be a bit tricky if Dad works while the kids are at home with you, but a general rule of thumb is Dad is the disciplinary.
Be their best friend.
Dad enforces the rules. Mom is their mom. What does that leave for us? Our role is to be their best friend. Be the person they go to when their upset, scared, or need advice. Be the person that their parents cannot be. Be the safe person to go to when they feel as if they are being torn between parents. The most successful step parents are less “parents” and more “best friend”. However, this doesn’t mean that you can ignore being a “parent” figure to them. You still need to set boundaries, and act as a role model.
Stay out of the court crap.
It is crap. I made the mistake in the past about putting my nose where it doesn’t belong. If your significant other wants you to be there when they are in court as emotional support, go for it. But in terms of making decisions, leave it between them (unless directly effecting you, example: you being the pickup and drop off person). I still have a problem with this one, and I’m not 100% sure I will follow my own advice if we go to court again soon.
No decision making.
I have a hard time biting this one too. But guess what? Again, not your kiddos. I like to give my opinion on a subject (sometimes not wanted). Depending on his mood, my boyfriend will either take what I say into consideration, or we have to talk about it later. It’s important on making decisions together. BUT, you cannot make sole decisions on your own, unless given instructions before hand to do so.
Don’t throw your help in his face.
I’m so guilty of this. Sometimes when we have had a disagreement, I will hang over his head all the things I have done for him and Little Boy. This isn’t fair. You choose to help. It’s not fair to use it as ammo against him.
Be there for your significant other.
Ultimately, you are the support system. Be the person he can go to when he needs advice, an opinion, and a shoulder to cry on. Supporting him will help him be stronger.
Take care of yourself.
I’m a huge advocate for self care. If you’re not running at 100% you cannot give your 100%. On airplanes, they always tell you to put on your oxygen mask before helping anyone else, and the same is true for (step) motherhood, and life in general. Practice self care.
Don’t beat yourself up!
You’re doing the best you can, don’t be too hard on yourself.