“I can’t do this….
Yes, I can.
No, I can’t.
Yes, I can, I must.
It’s not worth it.
Yes, it’s so worth it.
I’ve been through too much to put up with this drama.
You’ve lived through much worse.
Love is all that matters.”
Welcome to my brain on a DAILY basis. Oh, who am I kidding….multiple times a day this is my thought process.
Being a “BONUS” parent, for lack of a better word, SUCKS.
Three years ago, when I remarried, I took the phrase “bonus” on purpose. I’ve never liked the term “step, ” and I don’t call myself just straight up “mom” out of respect for their real mom who I have a good relationship with. I’m not their “mom” for all intense and purposes, I’m their “bonus mom, ” and I’m okay with that. I’m providing “bonus” love, support, disciple, boundaries, etc. but I’m not replacing the mom they have. That makes me a “bonus mom” in their lives. Some will take issue with my choice of terms, and that’s okay. I’m not asking for permission; I do what works for our blended family. The kids like the phrase and so do we….that’s all that matters.
Being a “BONUS” parent doesn’t exclusively suck, it also has moments of awesome, as does being a parent in general. It’s good, bad, ugly, beautiful, messy, painful, heartbreaking, joyful and frustrating as all hell. Being a parent is the hardest job known to mankind and being a mother of two kids who lost their Dad, and the bonus parent of two children who lived through an unpleasant divorce is chocked full of additional pitfalls.
My bonus son and I have a pretty solid relationship. He makes me laugh, we rarely butt heads and for the most part he seems to float between the two households with more grace than a ten-year-old should be expected to display. He is light hearted, easy going, and a generally kind kid. He has his moments, we all do, but he makes this blended family thing pretty darn easy on us all.
My bonus daughter doesn’t like me a whole lot most days. Yes, she loves me I think, underneath it all, but the pre-teen anxt, the brooding, the self-loathing and the anger over who spends the most time with HER Dad takes it’s toll. She also loves to play off the fact that I’m so positive by being as energy sucking and negative towards me as possible. Not all the time of course. We have moments of sunshine and good talks where I think I’m making progress and then BAM, I get bitch-slapped again with anger directed at me that ultimately doesn’t have much to do with me at all. Kids can be angry and they have to place their anger on someone. I’m it, I get that, the difficulty for me is figuring out how to protect my own energy from the negative until this all works itself out in therapy, long hugs and years of bonding.
My daughter is not always easy either. She has the same pre-teen anxt that display themselves in a wildly independent and “I don’t need you or anyone” attitude until she needs you and then wow, she needs you. The girls have days where they get along great and days where we have to separate them by telling them to go into their separate corners and not engage until further notice.
It’s not easy for “Dad on Earth” either. Let’s not pretend I’m the only one who struggles. My kids will ask questions like, “Do you mean my Dad in Heaven or my Dad on Earth” leaving a knife stuck in my heart and a feeling of unknowing in my husbands.