The moment I decided to move to Canada to be with my then boyfriend and his kids, I made a promise and commitment to my stepkids as many other stepmothers do.
My stepkids mean the world to me, they bring laughter and joy as well as the occasional frustrations. As any other human being would. Over the years I've worked on building a strong relationship with my stepchildren, something I'll always keep doing, along the way I’ve made a few promises to them.
1. I will be involved in what YOU love to do
Build lego, play video games or jump on the trampoline? Sure count me in! I literally jumped on the trampoline every single day when I first moved to Canada. If I wasn’t home after school the kids would be waiting for me to get back just so I could double-bounce them.
And as your interest shift and you grow up I will grow along side you. At this time in my life, I find myself looking at buying a mountain bike. I haven't been biking regularly in years because Holland is flat, easy and fast bike riding country. I LOVED IT. Now I'm faced with huge mountains and crazy terrain. A new interest of my oldest stepson brings out new adventures for myself.
2. I will have your best interests at heart and be patient.
I hope my stepkids will grow up to be happy, healthy adults and I will do what I can to support them along the way and not totally freak out when I don't completely agree with their chosen path.
3. I will not be the primary disciplinarian
Don’t get me wrong, I will discipline the kids when they are disrespectful, not listening or just being jackasses especially when my husband isn't around at that time. But when it boils down to it it’s up to my husband and their mom. My focus is on building a healthy and strong relationship with the boys at their stepmom. I’m not going to be the bad guy and my husband the good guy as a general rule. I truly believe this will ultimately do more harm than good when it comes to my long-term relationship with the boys.
4. I will always have your dad's back
No matter what, in front of the kids I will always have my husband’s back. We can talk in private if we disagree and move on from there.
5. I’m not your maid. Pull the stepmom card!
Pull the stepmom card every once in awhile. I do it! Making lunches, cooking dinner or washing clothes all the time is not the only thing I signed up for (the latter is actually still a semi-heated discussion in our household; we both dislike doing laundry). My husband did all of this for two years without my help so why would he stop with all of it just because of me? Obviously, he’s more than capable of doing these tasks. My husband and I both pitch in and the kids have their chores as well but I don’t feel guilty anymore when I pull the stepmom card and hand over the lunch box to my husband and split. My disappearance act around this is pretty freakin' amazing if I say so myself.
6. Daddy-time or in other words: ME TIME
Being selfish? I don’t think so. The guilt trips I used to give myself were ridiculous. After a few years as a stepmom, I learned that it’s good to plan a night out with a friend. Look at it from the kid's point of view, they get some much needed ‘daddy-time’.
Besides the importance of doing things for you and you alone, don’t forget about you and your partner. Date nights or romantic weekend getaways HAVE to be planned! It gives both of you the opportunity to relax, recharge, reconnect and have a glass of wine.
I truly believe that if I don’t take care for myself the people closest to me will notice this and it will negatively affect the mood in our household.
7. I’LL BE HERE FOR YOU
No matter what.