Blended Family: Getting To Know Your Stepchildren

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In a world where it’s not out of the ordinary for people to say “put your marriage first”, I was surprised by the overwhelming feeling to kick this three-part series off about my relationship with my stepchildren. 

As a fairly newly married woman, closing in on 4 years, my marriage is very important. With a 50/50 access schedule, a husband who works away on a 4 week on, 4 weeks off rotation and kids that are with us full time when he is home, we go out of our way to plan date nights and weekends away. I seriously couldn’t stay sane without these kidless moments.

Even an early bedtime for the stepkids and hang out sesh with my guy in the hot tub with a glass of wine is always more than welcome. 

And then again, if you would’ve asked me 6 years ago to put my potential stepchildren before my marriage, I would have stared at you with a blank expression. Just blame that on inexperience and being young. 

Today, not so much. 

My relationship with my husband and relationship with my stepchildren are tied. Both are equally as important and sometimes one comes before the other. 

As a new stepmom, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. More often than not we hear the horror stories, the Disney stories about the evil stepmom and the angel stepchildren and their mom who are desperately trying to get rid of their dad's new love interest. 

Thankfully I’m not much of a fairytale kind of girl. 

I opted to take a different route, who wants the prince on the white horse, white picket fence, and two beautiful well behaved kids anyway? Nah, I decided to skip the traditional route altogether and chose a path that comes with its own kinds of stressors. The kinda typical nuclear family doesn’t normally encounter. 

Plus, I packed my bags, sold most of my belongings and hopped on a plane, leaving my home country behind to start all over in the Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada with my husband and his two boys. That was 5 years ago and there is not a day that goes by when I regret my decision. 

As a new stepmom, you can only do so much research, but here is the truth, you will still never be prepared for what’s to come. Every blended family is different, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. 

I’m not here to focus on the negatives. I’m here to tell you about the unexpected love you’ll gain. Over time. 

It doesn’t happen overnight. Nothing does, and you can’t force it.  

Building a strong and loving relationship with your stepchildren takes time. The statements about loving your stepchildren as your own, especially from the get-go, have always been mind-boggling to me. 

Love takes time. Love takes getting to know each other. It takes effort and patience as a stepparent. You will fail, hit roadblocks and feel defeated. But you’ll also make gains and reach levels of trust and love you probably never imagined. 

It starts with the small things. 

For any new stepmom out there, there is only one piece of personal experience I truly feel is worth sharing and needs to be heard. 

Take your time to get to know your stepchildren. Do not become an instant disciplinarian. Do not change things in their home right off the bat.

Just be their friend. 

After I moved to Canada there was really only one thing I did with my stepchildren and that was whatever they wanted to do. Build lego? Sure. Jump on the trampoline? Heck yes! Play hide and seek? Why not. 

To this day, I will still drop everything when they are with mom but ask to spend some time with me. The only thing that has changed in all this time is that I will nag my stepsons about putting their freakin’ shoes in the closet or putting their dishes away. I’m 5 years in, I’ve earned the nagging rights. 

- Gina 

 
Life, RelationshipsGinaComment