I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I have dedicated my life to supporting women and families that face the special challenges of anxiety, depression, and merging two families together.
I took a trip recently to Southern CA with my family for some fun and time to bond. On the surface, this seems like your typical family vacation. However, underneath the surface, it had a much deeper meaning. You see, our family is what is known as a “blended or stepfamily. “I happen to be the bonus mom (a role I love and appreciate), and for me, this trip held great importance. Yep, you guessed it was our grandbabies first Disneyland trip! It’s the vacation I think most grandparents desire being included.
While on the flight, there was quite a bit of turbulence due to the recent storm in our area. It was the first rain of the year, and let me tell you, it rained. The morning of our flight, the rain had stopped, but there was still a strong wind present around us. I tried remaining calm, but even though the rain had subsided, the storm was still lingering. I thought to myself, “What is the similarity?” Could the turbulence that I am facing on this flight be like the path of a stepmom in ways? So, I pulled out my phone and decided to start this blog post. This blog is the first of a series that will focus on the role of being a stepmom.
Stepmoms often are unsure of their place in the family. This uncertainty can be the case in the initial dating phase of your relationship, meeting your partner’s child/children, telling the children you’re getting married, and can continue well into marriage. There are times when you must decide when to voice an opinion or desire, and then there are times when you must pull back and observe. This process can be especially challenging depending on what your expectations are of blending two families.
Oh boy, there’s that word EXPECTATIONS…..there we named it; we have now acknowledged the elephant in the room. We all come into relationships with expectations based on our desires, what we bring from previous intimate encounters and our families of origins. When you decide to partner or marry someone who has children, or children are currently present in the home, there are many things to consider. The least of which is the decision to spend your life with a person who has kids? Children require much work, and being a parent is not for everyone.
Over the next several weeks, in the “Stepmom” blog series I will be speaking to women who are in relationships with men who have children. I’ll be covering topics related to the issues and unique challenges that come up in these relationships and practical strategies to manage them. Consider this post an introduction of sorts just to put it out there to start having a dialog about it.
Now back to this flight. Halfway through, the pilot apologized for the rough air and informed us that the flight attendants could not do beverage and snack service due to the turbulence. He also shared that we were 30 minutes from landing, and the rest of the flight would only have “mild turbulence.” This information caused me to think about my journey as a stepmom and how our life as a blended family of nearly 12 years has smoothed out with the occasional instances of “rough air.” Over the years of your journey, you will experience some turbulence that is not uncommon in any family, no matter the dynamics. With work, patience, understanding, and love, you can land safely at your destination with only occasional pockets of rough air.
I love that you are speaking openly about stepmoms. I’m a stepmom to one son. It was not difficult when I started dating his Dad, but it was at time awkward. Everyone else had an opinion and thought it was their duty to tell me how to be a mother. There were times I wanted to scream. Not at my son or his Dad, but at everyone else. So yes, talk about it. And let folks know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our son gave me a Mother’s Day card this year. A beautiful card with a heartfelt message. I really felt like a Mom. One more memory to add to the other beautiful ones.
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