Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My role as Step Mo and why I wanted to deck the hygienist

Ok, this post is long, stay with me... it's therapy, remember?

Keeping Step-mo-ing in the positive.... A linky-dinky-doo to Mama's Losin' it...
5.) “Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see the shadow” – Helen Keller
In what ways are you able to stay positive about something that sometimes brings you down?

The World’s Greatest Husband and I work hard to blend the lives of our five little monkeys.  It isn’t easy work.  I will even add in our ex’s as partners in the process because for the most part, they try to play along and respect our situation.  (At least to my face, right?)  So I was thrown a bit the other day while we visited our dentist.  I had my bonus-daughter  with me  (just trying the term  “bonus” on for size, I hate the word “step”, while it may describe the situation it rarely covers the emotions, worry and love of the role.)  One of the hygienists kept walking by looking curious.  She was sizing us up and a bit confused.  On one of her passes she mumbles, “I keep looking at you, wondering, what are you doing with them, you don’t belong with them.”  On yet another pass through she states, “This isn’t your family.” Ok so honestly, as the step-mo with class and grace, I was so angered I wanted to deck her.  I know that sounds extreme and I am being a tad silly but the remarks hit me like a ton a bricks….crushing me.   In defense of the poor woman, I think she wasn’t mean spirited in her observation yet as a sensitive step-mo who tries to always do the right thing, I was hurt by her remarks.  I chimed in quickly, “oh she is my family, I am her step mother.”  I think the hygienist who was working on my youngest sensed my discomfort and started rambling on about how many blended families there are at the practice.  I was searching for some sort of validation so her comments and care certainly calmed me.

So here is the deal.  Step-mo is a hard role to navigate.  I am the one who has cleaned their puke, helped with homework, comforted and played referee, I am the one who cooks the meals, does the laundry, remembers valentine’s, stuffs the stockings, creates the sticker charts, reads the stories, puts up the pony tails, goes to the games….. I could go on and on and on (and let me remind you the World’s Greatest Husband is a partner every step of the way) but in the step-mo world, they still prefer their mom.  I am ok with that.  I understand that.  They love me, I don’t really doubt that.  I know that my role to play is different from the role of their mother.  It is sort of like I am not a doctor, but I get to play one on TV?  I play mom (sometimes) but I am not their mom.  What I do embrace is the role I do get to play.  I am sometimes the go-between, I sometimes get details mom and dad don’t, I sometimes am the first text when a boy expresses interest (remember that blog post?), I learn things from their FB pages and coach their dad on the latest happenings,  I can play hard ball or sit back depending on the situation.  I can be a step closer to friend on certain occasions and the one to blame on others.  The role has flexibility (which I sometimes struggle with) but mostly it has those small victories that make me feel like I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am doing, to help raise five smart, respectful, kind hearted kids.

So my experience at the dentist, was one of those moments where I felt that all my hard work, worry, care, and interest gets wiped away with one silly meaningless comment.  I understand that step mothers have a long history of being wicked.  Snow white has helped with that notion, but we are a family, my step kids are my family, my children call them brother and sister, we don’t have the traditional every other weekend situation at my house.  Our custody is almost 50/50 each and every week. They live here, with us they just don’t visit on Thursday nights for dinner.  We may not be the traditional family, we certainly aren’t “normal” (by the way, who is?) But we are a family.  I am not mad at the hygienist, it is an opportunity for me to blog about the role, to create a better understanding of blended bliss .  I realize not every situation is like ours.  Blended families can be a big ol mess.  But for the record so can biological families.  I am proud and grateful to be their step-mo surviving and thriving in the blender.  


Julie said...

From where I stand, your doing an amazing job with your family. It's so annoying when those who work with the public have so little tact.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time over here, so I don't know the situation, but it sounds like your a wonderful bonus-mother (figured I'd try it too!) and the hygenists comments were out of line and tactless.

Stopped in from Mama Kat's.

Paula @ Simply Sandwich said...

Popped over from Mama Kat's blog and have to say you have a great blog here! I really love the term "bonus" daugher - sounds much more special than "step"! :)

Em said...

Wow, thanks for helping me to understand the world of blended families a little better. A great post, and a totally tactless hygienist!

Paper Mom said...

Thanks for the support ladies! It takes a village!


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