Modern Day Samaritan Woman
An Open Letter To All Step-Children …
I have been a step daughter since I was a child and I am now a step mother.
My biological children are also step children to their father’s wife and I believe this provides me with a unique perspective and I would like to address the following with all step-children everywhere.
I realise that the following is a generalization and that there are always exceptions, but the following is a result of my own personal experiences.
Sadly, with hindsight, I realized I was the type of step daughter that merely ignored my step mother. It wasn’t truly deliberate and thankfully we didn’t have any conflicts or anything dramatic; but I neglected to acknowledge that she was very good wife and companion to my father and after all these years, she is the one that kept him company, nursed his illnesses and has been at his side through thick and thin and so this open letter is in some small way a dedication to my step mom Trudy.
A truly remarkable woman… I know this is late but thank you for loving my father…
Dear Step Child,
Have you ever considered that your step mom / dad didn’t specifically seek your parent out of all the potential spouses in the world? They didn’t hunt and stalk them to enchant them and steal them from you or even take your place. (I hate to say this but you didn’t even feature at this point). They simply met, whether by chance or destiny, it doesn’t matter which. They were both lonely, fell in love and chose to remarry (at great risk) and to build a life together. No one wants to be alone, especially in old age. Not even your mother / father. Just because they did not discuss their loneliness with you does not mean they haven’t been lonely.
Your parent is still YOUR parent and always will be. Contrary to all the stereotypes, your step mom / dad does not really want to take that place of your mom / dad. Give your step mom / step dad a break…you are not going to be there to hold your mom / dads hand every single night for the rest of their lives. Given just half a chance, your step mom / step dad will be there comforting and providing companionship to your parent. A time will come when you have your own family to nurture…Be thankful that your mom / dad does not have to live out their remaining years alone…
Being a second wife / husband is similar to driving a second hand car. (No matter how much a person cleans it, studies and maintains it, you can’t know everything that happened to the car in its history). Just the same, your step mom / dad can’t know everything that happened to your dad / mom in the past, except what he / she chose to share. Your step parent won’t know every dent, every hurt, every failure, every insecurity brought about by his / her encounters with the previous women / men that they encountered in their lives. Just as your parent and / or you won’t know every hurt and insecurity your step parents carry. Some things are too personal to be discussed with everyone. They never the less are very real. Everyone carries their own share of pain and your step parent is actually human…
However, just because your step parent does not automatically know everything in your mother / father’s history, this does not make your step parent an inferior husband or wife. (Someone to disregard or worse misuse and abuse). The role your step parent plays in the marriage is just as real as a first time spouse’s role. Most step parents / second husbands / wives take it just as seriously, with the exception that they have to be more careful than usual because they don’t want to inadvertently hurt their new wives / husbands, where they are already vulnerable.
The home that your mom / dad and step parent are building together is very real and is the foundation for their future. Remember you will eventually move on to your own marriages and lives, and build your own homes. They are not playing a game of housey - housey.
(In fact their marriage, as a whole is not a game to be exited and restarted at any point).
This is it…The real deal!!!
They are building a home and a foundation for their marriage. Their furniture, ornaments and house rules are their prerogative. Every home operates on their own particular house rules. Don’t disregard the house rules that are implemented by your step parents just because you are not accustomed to them, or because the step parent has implemented them. One day you may very well implement some of those very same house rules into your own homes…and quite rightly expect them to be respected…
Ignoring you step mother or step father is just plain rude and hurtful. Something I am guilty of and regret very much. They are fulfilling a very important role in your mom / dad’s life.
A role that you are unable to fulfil.
Your mother / father would not have remarried if this were not the case.
BUT ignoring them is the preferred option than to deliberately sabotage the relationship and creating unnecessary conflict in the already fragile marriage.
Forcing your mother / father to have to choose between you and their new husband / wife is truly spiteful and unnecessary. Do you realize that every single conflict that you directly instigate between your mom / dad and his / her spouse causes tiny hair-line fractures and cracks in the marriage that may not be able to withstand the real pressures of life when they occur? Financial pressures, illness, unemployment and any number of other things they will face as a couple together.
Second marriages are fragile and very few withstand the pressure and problems that automatically accompany life. By adding to the pressures and creating unnecessary conflicts just because you can and just because you don’t like the idea that your parent has remarried and / or just because you feel rebellious about the changes and new rules that accompanied the new marriage… you are contributing to what may well become a divorce in your mother / fathers future.
Do you realize that divorce hurts…and that you own mother and father will be hurt, as much as your step mom / step dad?
It is my opinion that most step parents enter the second marriage with every intention of being “good” step mothers / fathers; intending to be a positive influence in the lives of their extended blended families, however, over time, and because of constant disrespect, abuse, lies , blatant sabotage on the part of the step children, (and in some cases no backing from the biological parent) the step parent eventually simply retreats and becomes a “bad” step parent, preferring to withdraw from their step children lives than to be constantly bombarded by conflict and heartbreak.
By the time a marriage reaches this point the hair line cracks have already begun to expand and become larger cracks…everyone a vulnerability to the integrity and strength of the marriage. Do you really want to be the reason your parent has to undergo the additional pain and humiliation of starting life over again, alone???
Just saying!!! Give your step mom and dad a chance. You may be surprised…You may even notice that your own mom / dad actually laugh more, and are happier…
*Hugs* till next time.