Friday, February 5, 2016

Step Parenting Is a Hard Gig

It occurs to me that being a Step Parent is really hard. I love my step son, Thing 2. And I’m fairly certain he loves me. I haven’t had a fight with him in about 2 weeks, he has been at his mother’s house for this 2 weeks. When he comes to our house and Lineman is home he is the devil’s spawn. I’ve determined that when Lineman is home Thing 2, who is a very big daddy’s boy, tries to keep all of Lineman’s attention. He hates that he has to share his time with his dad with people like me, Thing 1, and The Baby. He wants ALL the attention and when he doesn’t get it he tends to act out. Most of his anger comes out as attitude and normally that attitude is directed at me.

I get it, I’m the evil step mother. I can own that role in his life as long as he knows that while he thinks I’m a bitch I also love him deeply. I’m trying desperately to teach him how to be a respectable person. Someone I can look at when he’s older and know that he learned from what I taught him. I make him do chores, what? Yeah I’m a bitch like that. He is a smart chore completer too because he can always manipulate Thing 1 into doing the hard chores. I let this go on for a while because I figured that eventually Thing 1 would get tired of doing to hard chores. That did not happen, Thing 1 just did the chores because his brother told him to so I finally stepped in. First, I don’t like seeing Thing 2 manipulate his brother. Second, Thing 2 can be very lazy and I will be damned if one of my sons sits on his ass while I bust mine to keep our house in order. Third, Thing 2 won’t always have his older brother to take the hard chores so he needs to learn how to get them done without his brother’s help.

So Thing 2 and I continue this dance. He hates me most of the time, except for when he loves me. When Lineman is gone he loves me a lot more because he isn’t trying to get his dad’s attention. When Lineman is home he loves me sometimes, when I cater to him, and that’s about it. He especially hates me when I have to punish him.

There is some advice I’ve received from my parents that actually made sense and I have kept in the back of my mind as my sons have grown. “Get your bluff in early, when they are older you need that bluff to carry your punishments down the road.” This is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. I have bluffed my ass off with Thing 1 and it’s worked. If Thing 1 wanted to he could resist punishments but I have him convinced that because I’m his mother, I win, every time. This theory is still a work in progress with Thing 2. We have a constant power struggle and I have to call on Lineman more than I would like to put Thing 2 in his place.

The biggest struggle is the one that really matters. I struggle to get him to recognize me as a parent. His mother is really easy to work with so as a group we all have input on Thing 2 and how his life should go. He doesn’t ever have to call me “mom” because I didn’t carry him in my body. He does have to respect me and my rules. Most of the time he does respect me, but the older he gets the more disrespect I get. It’s hard to love a child that you didn’t choose and one that could, in reality, not be yours forever. I love Thing 2 like he was my own but I also know that if Lineman ever left so would Thing 2. I’m fairly certain this will never happen but everyone is certain until it does happen. Anyway there is my rant on being a step parent.  It’s damn hard work, but I think in the end, it will all work out. Somewhere deep in a dark corner of Thing 2’s heart he will always love me and the things I’ve taught him. He will love that he knows how to do laundry and clean the bathroom, or at least his future wife will love that I taught him those things. He will love that I was always there for him no matter how big he screwed up. He will love that I challenged him to do things he wasn’t interested in. He will love me because I love him. 

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