When I first started dating Husband, I was worried about being a stepmom. I never wanted kids and to be honest, I didn't really think I would make it as a mom. Never in my deepest imaginations did I think Punk and I would have as good of a relationship as we have now. Everyone I ever knew that had a stepmom hated her (go figure) and I guess I just assumed it would be the same with Punk and me.
She's turning 11 next week (geesh). She brings up the fact that I've been in her life since she was 4 quite often (that's more than half! she says). She also tells people she was scared of me, because I am so tall. I must have looked like a giant to her! I think back to then, when I first met her; she was so tiny and crazy and endlessly energetic. I am happy that I met her when she was so little. I think it gave me the advantage - she doesn't really remember life without me. She didn't have the world's influence to tell her to not like me. It made it a little easier for me to get my foot in the door. But it was still incredibly hard! A lot harder than now. Things have settled and both sides of her family have gotten into a groove with things and kind of just accepted that like it or not, we're all in it for the long haul. Thankfully. Because if it had stayed that hard this long? Someone would be dead, I'm sure.
She is a really good kid at our house. The worst it gets with her is an eye roll when I tell her to do her chores. But, she gives her mom a lot of attitude when she's there, and I really wonder why. I think it has something to do with her being the only child at our house, so the attention is undivided, where at their house she has a brother and sister who both require an extra bit of attention. I'm not really sure though. We don't have a lot of rules at our house, but the ones we do have, she follows well. I still have problems with her remembering to brush her teeth, and get her chores done without being reminded. But those are pretty minor.
I think what kills me most is when I see myself in her. We are going to a penguin encounter for her birthday and I think she might be as excited as I am! (Have you seen this? That's probably going to be me.) She loves penguins. And hot pink and turquoise. And chili cheese fries with sour cream. And Harry Potter. She says things that I say, and acts how I act; and it blows me away every time. Because I never anticipated she'd be a little like me. I just assumed that as her stepmom, we'd be different. She wouldn't pick things up from me and wouldn't show a little of me in her actions. But she does.
It's hard to be a stepmom. It's hard to have to care and pour yourself wholeheartedly into a relationship that only allows you so much back. You have to care like a bio-mom and you have to love like a bio-mom and you have to clean scrapes like a bio-mom but you don't get to be "the parent". In the eyes of the state, I am not a mother. But you just have to deal with it. Anything you say can and will be held against you, you know?
Live in the good moments. They might be few and far between, so revel in them. Let them outweigh the bad things and the hard things and the unfair things. Write down the small things that make you happy, so you have something to look back on when the days are bad. (I've been a stepmom for almost 7 years and yes, there are absolutely still bad days; plenty of them.) Don't expect to be a perfect parent and don't tear yourself down for getting angry or running out of patience. Just live in the good moments.