This blog has been a long time coming, people. I remember when I first started Mom & A Half over a year ago, I wanted this to be one of my first posts in order to give readers a better sense of who I am (& just how open of a metaphorical book I really am.) I used to LOVE answering questions about being a stepmom in order to clear up any misconceptions people had, but in retrospect, I’m so thankful time got in the way & I’ve been able to show you over the past year rather than tell you. Nonetheless, I’m still asked questions quite often about my journey (or for advice, HA), so I figured I’d take the bulk of them and leave them here permanently on the internet history books for you!
*Disclaimer: these questions are real life questions taken from actual followers & subscribers.. Thank you all for being so polite & kind with these!
Q: Is Mom & A Half named that way because you have your stepson half the time?
A: No! This question always makes me laugh, because this is one of my biggest hindsight regrets. I named it Mom & A Half because Super, Awesome, Amazing, Hard Working Moms didn’t quite have a ring to it. I wanted it to be a nod to moms everywhere that work their butts off trying to do everything with only two arms & 24 hours in a day; it was my way of saying “you are enough & more”– you are a mom and a half. If I were to ever have another child, I wouldn’t change it to Mom to 2 & 1/2, and on that same note, I would never, ever, ever consider my stepson “half a child”. I worry about him 100% of the time just like my biological child. Glad I could clear that one up, & probably going to fire my whole marketing team for not catching that one sooner.
Q: How old was your stepson when you met him?
A: I have a pretty unique circumstance where my husband and my stepson’s mother weren’t together before he was born, so I was in his life the day he was born. Although I didn’t meet him until he was a little older than three months, I’m still extremely grateful I was there from the very beginning to be supportive in whatever way I respectfully could.
Q: How were you so freely able to love someone else’s child before you knew your husband was the one?
A: This is a tough one, because it’s hard to put into words the emotions and insecurities that come to mind when you consider dating a parent. I will say, however, that before I dated my husband, I knew I had to be all in or all out– and I decided to be 100% all in, and made sure he was on the same page with that. That didn’t mean he had to propose immediately or know for sure I was the one, but I think it was the most important part going forward in our relationship that we both knew where each other’s heads were at, & that we both were approaching this together with a family mindset. Once we established that, I couldn’t find a way to not love him. This was my family I was creating. Yes, there is a chance that you will love your stepchild wholeheartedly & it won’t work out with their parent, but that’s so much better than the alternative. If you have any questions on loving a stepchild, be sure to check out my other post Why You Should Never Love Your Stepchild
Q: Do you get along with your stepson’s mother? What type of relationship do you have?
A: We get along really great! As in, way better than I ever imagined type of great. I would’ve settled for her tolerating me, but I’m so thankful it’s so much more now. We’ve pretty much mastered the whole “working with each other’s schedules” thing, but more than that, we can sit at chat at one of his games and cheer him on together, and I love that he sees that. Please note that we’re now six years in, and it most certainly hasn’t always been that way. I cannot speak for her, but I will say I took it too personally in the beginning when we couldn’t all just get along. To me, it was “we have to co-parent together forever, so get over and let’s make this easy”. I got frustrated with her not accepting me right away despite how kind & respectful I thought I was being (as I’m sure she was frustrated with me trying so hard to assert myself into her life.) I’ve learned it’s not my right to get offended because someone doesn’t feel the same way I do, & that it also isn’t my responsibility either. That helped! Time definitely helped too, but she is certainly just as responsible for making it all work smoothly. I think we have mutual respect & appreciation for each other, and that goes a long way.
Q: What has help you get through tough times as a stepparent, especially when it comes to different parenting styles & household rules?
A: I feel no matter where you are on a co-parenting level, this is always tricky because there are no “laws” or “compromise” for parenting styles. To each their own, right? So since you can’t ask the other parent to adjust, I try to focus more helping the child adjust. I’m fortunate that my stepson can communicate (if your stepchild is younger, this is much harder), but what helps us the most is being very aware of the adjustment period when he come back home. I know my stepson has boundaries at his other home, but it’s clearly very different when he comes home to a sibling that he has to share his toys, time, space, and attention with. I’m not always as patient as I need to be, but if I can stay aware that it’s a transition day for him, I try to give him the rest of the day to “come home again”. He gets a little more slack. I try to remind him that there are more people in the household & more rules to accomodate that. OH & we also have a compromise where he can say “he needs alone time” (I mean, don’t we all?!), and he’s allowed to play in his room without electronics for 30 mins and unwind. That seems to help a lot!
Q: What advice do you have for other’s co-parenting?
A: I’m about 100% sure I’m not qualified to give advice, but if you’re asking what helps me when co-parenting, I think it’s remembering that there is rarely one answer. I feel the most tense situations we’ve come to disagree on have revolved around a stand off of “this is what’s best for the child”. Duh! Of course everyone wants what is best for the child, but even if your solution is extremely reasonable, that doesn’t mean the other parent’s isn’t. Alongside that, my other advice is to talk. Talk, talk, talk. So many situations I worried about for months were easily solved when I got the courage to bring up a conversation about it, and I felt so dumb for silently being resentful of imaginary scenarios I thought would happen.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being a stepparent?
A: Every selfish reason in the book! You name it. I love to watch him grow up, be kind to others, rope a line drive in tee-ball, pick flowers for me from a plant I’ve told him a million times not to touch, see him get excited when he shows me his school work– all while knowing that I had a hand in all of that. It’s a pretty prideful thing that makes your heart happy. Then again, I’d say that’s just my favorite part of being a regular old parent.