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boxing kitten

it's 3 AM eternal

2 nights in a row, nightmares crafted so perfectly as to enable them to haunt me all day long, so twistedly that all comfort has left my bed. Poking me in all the right spots, tearing me apart. I am SO not going back to sleep tonight.  They're to do with Grampa, maybe because we're burying him Mother's Day weekend. (I know, not my choice either. )

There are other theories too. The good part is that Brian and I have moved out - hence the middle of the night posting on the fizzast netz. Further goodness (and even I don't know if I meant that sarcastically) is that now we'll have M (his daughter) every other weekend with over nights. This past weekend was the first, and it was rough on me. Very. I clearly don't have the skills I need to parent her well, and I don't know how to go about getting them.

Because I need them - we're getting married in less than 2 months. I want to be a good parent to her. This past weekend I felt like she tested me and I failed. But hey! I get to try again soon!

Comments

First of all, if you got along with M before, you will again. It'll be OK. It will. I promise.

I've had 4 step-parents, two of each. Maybe I can help?

A brief list of what I wish my step-mothers had done/known (this is across two, so not everything will apply):

1- be honest. you don't have to pour your heart out, but be dear heavens, be honest (at least with yourself). I could TELL they were scared, but when they tried to fake it I felt insulted, which brings up...
2- don't underestimate the kids. kids are smart, see and know stuff, even if they're just kids, and yet...
3- be the grown-up and be yourself: an adult and who you really are. don't try to win the kid over by being something else or pretending you don't have authority (see #2).
4- kids know the dad chose you. he got them by default. that's hard to reconcile for the kid. if he can choose to have you around, can he choose to not have the kid around? yipes! (this last one took me YEARS to put a name to)

So that's a crazy quilt of indignation, entitlement, competitiveness, envy, need for authority, fear, and envy and fear (yes, twice). It's hardly rational. My dad had a crappy relationship with me, so he couldn't offer any useful support to the stepmothers. I'm guessing Brian can help you a lot.

Or maybe M is far more sane than I was/am.

There's no doubting you are far more sane than my stepmothers.

You're gonna be fine. It's just a transition period. You'll see.
That is an awesome list - I thikn I'm doing pretty well with the first 3 - a lot of it comes down to number 4. I can see her struggling to figure it out and I keep wanting to tell her that her daddy loves her best, but I'm not the one that can do that.

I think she likes me, but is also trying to figure out what makes her dad like me, and how she can be more like that, so he'll like her all the more.

I believe you that's it's all gonna be ok.

Amazon has a lot of books on stepmotherhood - check it out.
thanks for the tip. :)
Huh, I always thought that your icon was a stock photo. What amazing photography!

Okay, so the point. How old is the daughter? Also, congrats on your marriage! I completely missed this somehow. In less than two months, I graduate. Looks like a lot of milestones coming up for LJ users.
ahh - no - it's an old slide my dad took. thanks!

M is 8 - super cute, super bright, and sassy. I think I've haven't been pimping the marriage much, as I can't quite believe it's really happening. One of those "if I speak it out loud it will vanish" sort of superstistions.

YAY for graduating and just generally getting on with life. :D I'm proud of you Lucky.
Oddly enough, that is incredibly helpful to hear!
I am so sorry to hear about your Grampa, Becky. I'm sure he was a wonderful man. As for your parenting fears, hear me out:

I have never once doubted your skills as a step-mother. As soon as I heard about a daughter being in the picture, all I could think of was, "She is going to be a great step-mom." Kids love to push limits and boundaries. They thrive off of feeling powerful, and the "you're not my mom" card is a very powerful one for step-kids to play. However, despite their seeming testing of limits and draining of emotional sanity, all kids really need is to feel loved and accepted. Just remember that while you are nervous about stepping into a role so suddenly in your life, she is probably just as nervous about accepting you into that role. Its all about establishing rapport and letting M know that you are there to listen. Take it slow - kids can be so reactive at first when they are feeling insecure in situations. I think you are going to do wonderfully, Becky. Parenting is a tough task to take on (hell, I ain't doing it for a while!! But I work with teenagers all day long)but if ever there was a friend I thought would do well with the job, you are the person.
Sweet jiminy and mother of pearl Aya - thank you. Other people have said similar things but it's hard to believe when I am tired and totally M'ed out. We talked about the step-mom thing, and I told her I'd be her super secret back up mom - her extra mom. I'm hoping to be the parent she doesn't lose rapport with thru her teenage years - I know I could have used one!
It'll just take time. I remember how hard it was for me and Erin when our stepfather moved into our house. We definitely pushed some limits (Erin telling him "you're not my dad" being one of them).

But we got over it when we realized how happy he and our mom were to find each other.
She hasn't said anything like that yet, but I'm kinda waiting for it. I think she does get how happy her dad is, so i'm hopeful we'll make it through this transition.
Thanks Meg - we miss you back in Burlington.

She misses you

She (and I) cried about it yesterday. I know I should be keeping my space from you, but I thought that might matter to you.

ILY

B

You are wonderful

No matter what life throws your way, you will be fine. You are adaptive, and smart and wise, and cunning, and you can find your way through any maze or trial.

I envy you actually.

I am sorry if you don't want to hear this from me.

B
-it's alex, i hope things are going well for you :)
boxing kitten

July 2007

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