Transitioning into this whole step-mom thing…
It is not out of the ordinary these days to enter into a relationship where the other person has a child (or children) from a past relationship. Honestly I find it more common then not now a days! Well here are my tips in how to transition and “keep the peace” when assisting in the parenting of a child that is not biologically yours!
Why do I say “biologically”? Well in my personal experience, yes the kids are not biologically MINE…but they most certainly have captured my heart with their little hands and have a death grip on it. Co-parenting with a child you aren’t the mother to is not an easy feat. The main challenge is everyone thinks their way is the best way. The mother, the father, me, you…we all have different parenting approaches. So how does one handle that without stepping on the toes of the parents?
I have found a few things in the past 4 years that has helped me tremendously with this.
- Communication is key! Yes…this is cliche and overused term. BUT IT IS THE TRUTH. Having constant and open communication with your significant other and the parent on the other side is the only way to keep the child’s routine, expectations, & growth consistent. Having certain rules at one house and then going to the other with a different set & different routine is tough on the little ones. Children need consistency & schedules. Sticking to them – although tough at times – makes co-parenting simpler overall. The little nuggets know what to expect always & it also teaches them reliability.
- Hard conversations. Yes…unfortunately these need to be had. Whether as the step parent you disagree with your significant other or even the other parent, it is OK to express your concerns. BUT with that said, in doing so you must always show respect for the parents wishes. Showing your concern isn’t WRONG, it is love. The biological parents will see that! So don’t be afraid to express your opinions.
- Respect. Going off my 2nd reason…respect is huge. One thing I have found that is very important is to never take away from the biological parents importance. For instance in my case, the biological mom of my stepson. On mothers day, I will be sure to take the time to help my stepson create something special and personal for his mom. Same for Christmas and all special occasions. I make sure he knows to appreciate his mom unconditionally and I never take away from her importance! She created this angel & I am blessed beyond belief to get to be a part of his growing up.
My list of advice/tips could go on and on & I will try to continue to share with you what I learn as I go. I am NOT perfect, but certainly give each and every day of being a step parent my all.
I hope some of you can relate to my story & more importantly I hope I have given some good advice for the ones just stepping in to the role! I continue to learn something new each and every day – so if you ever have any questions, reach out to me as i’m always here to help as best as a perfectly imperfect person can.