Running a business is hard work. Ask anyone who does it, and they’ll tell you, it’s no joke.
You know what else is no joke? Two kids.
While I’ve never given birth, nor did I have any desire to have children, I have acquired two kids – as a stepmother – and my singular conclusion to this massive change is that it’s been interesting.
It’s been three years since I was first introduced to the young Alex (then five) and Emily (then three). I’ll never forget it… Emily ran away screaming and Alex wanted to be my best friend.
Welcome to step-parenthood. Or, at least, at that time, the girlfriend of a parent.
When these young ones first entered my life, I was a little more than overwhelmed. They required – and often, demanded – constant attention. It was a battle of trying not to pay attention to them (for fear they would want more) vs. paying too much attention to them (for fear they would feel neglected if I didn’t). Wait… are children really taking me through the ringer? Yup! Yes, they are… and that’s just the beginning.
After much Googling and many good behavior star boards, I think I have this stepparent thing figured out. Yeah right…
But, I did wise up. Attention is relative. Sometimes it comes down to listening to them when they need to be heard. Other times, it’s ignoring them when they are being obnoxious.
I think other stepparents can agree that it’s challenging to raise another persons’ child (let alone deal with the issues the accompany a child of divorce). But, we come to love these children as our own. In fact, it’s one of the most rewarding experiences. It gives me the opportunity to be a role model, to teach them things that they might not learn at home and to share new experiences with them.
Most importantly, what I do as a stepparent, is not singular. It’s shared by my husband – their father. We are a family, even if just every other weekend, and it’s something that feels complete.
It’s been an adjustment having Emily and Alex in my life. Every other weekend, the schedule changes. But I’ve come to enjoy it because I’m forced to take downtime, which is something I didn’t do before. It’s helped me appreciate life in a different way because I can help mold a life. That’s huge - the fact that I can impact a human being?! That responsibility makes me want to bring nothing but the best – and that’s what they deserve.
Alex is now eight and Emily is now six. Emily doesn’t run away and Alex doesn’t want to be my best friend – but I love them just the same. I think good parenting is learning to grow. That means growing with the kids, as they become themselves. I love watching them transform into their own little people and I’m grateful I have the opportunity to be a part of it.