To Care or Not to Care?
At times as a stepmom, it seems that’s the real question! When dealing with stepchildren, it can be hard to decide whether or not to invest.
It’s hard enough just to get on the same page as your husband regarding children you are parenting together. Then you add in another household and it’s easy to want to throw in the towel.
Take our current household dilemma. Chase is having a hard time giving quality effort in school and at home. He has the typical signs of laziness everywhere he goes. Sometimes I have to admit, I dread the day I know that he returns because he is not able to adjust back to the structure of our household.
At our house we try to maintain weekly chores, showers every three days, reading nightly, not to mention brushing your teeth. But all these things seem like a chore and one that I spend a lot of time addressing. By the end of his five day streak at our house, he leaves clean, educated, and with a glimmer of hope that he will come back able to complete what’s necessary. Flash forward to the next encounter and it’s like starting from scratch.
I find that I’m asking myself a lot lately, “should I care?” I mean, I’m not even his real mom… shouldn’t I be focusing on the children that are mine or at least the ones who are responding to my guidance?
That’s when I realize, just like in teaching, I can’t blame Chase for the circumstances of his life. I can’t give up on him because it’s hard.
Here are three tips I use to deal with frustrations in investing in my stepchildren:
1.Pray! Pray! Pray! I really find until I started praying about this, that I spent a lot of sleepless nights worried about my stepchildren or upset at the things I couldn’t control for them. I find that asking God to work on both the children, but also myself has worked magic. I pray for myself to have the patience and persistence. I pray for the children to have the resilience and guidance. I even pray for their parents (both of them) to make these children a priority and put their best interests at heart. I find praying gives me peace in all these areas.
2. Try to get both households on the same page. This has been a roller coaster of a battle, but when both houses are working towards similiar goals, the kids have made more progress. It makes sense… if you want to see forward motion, the kids have to be spending their whole life working towards these things, not taking five day breaks.
Does this always work? No. But just like with the child, you don’t stop trying. My husband just had a family meeting at Chase’s moms house this month to go over report card and expectations. Has this been done before? Yes. Has it worked. Not really. Do you stop trying? NO! This leads me to #3:
3. Don’t stop fighting the good fight! If I threw in the towel every time something was hard or frustrating, I wouldn’t even be in this marriage. Blended family’s are HARD work and one of the hardest parts is trying to make a difference in the lives of kids you only see half the time. But like all things hard, you don’t give up when the going gets rough.
One day down the road, Chase is going to realize we were working to create a successful, clean, well-mannered young man. It may be a long, long road before he gets to this point, but when he gets there I want him to know he had both parents at this household in his corner. For me, that will be the Victory Mom win!