You guys, I'm about to be so completely and utterly real with you. I'm tired. I'm physically, emotionally, mentally, any kind of tired- you name it, kind of tired. My life has taken such a hardcore directional turn in the past few years. And it's definitely been for the better, but along with it has come some pretty draining... crap. That's the only way I know to put it. Just petty crap. Let me give you some examples.
Crap I'm Tired of:
- People and their damn opinions
- Unwarranted advice
- Straight up woman-on-woman jealousy and hate
Well honestly, there's a lot more crap that I'm tired of generally speaking as far as life is concerned, but today I'm talking about a certain kind of crap. We'll get to the rest another day.
I've become continually more aware of the unnecessary hate that is spewed throughout the parenting community. For some unimaginably silly reason, of which I'm unaware, I thought I'd be exempt from this (because you know, I haven't like, birthed a child yet.) But I'm definitely not, which I guess makes sense because I am technically a parent/mother figure. The majority of the hate and opinions I can let slide, because let's be honest-
- I don't have time to address someone's opinions on the contents of my pantry, or how much television we watch in our home.
- I have better things to do than worry my pretty little head about someone's personal thoughts of me.
- Most people's opinions/advice/hate comes not from a place of genuine concern, but really a desire to feel superior. And finally...
- I don't have to answer to anyone but myself.
But there is one opinion I will not let go. I won't let it slide. I'm addressing it head on because, quite frankly it is so incredibly important to me to make it known that this opinion will NEVER be welcomed:
And that's the opinion that I should "know my place" in my new son's life.
Yeah. Absolutely not happening. Let me break down why that is....
Eeek. Yeah, I know. The term "know your place" uttered to/about a woman makes me shudder too. But even more so when it comes from another woman! Ring Ring. It's 1945 calling... they want their phrase back. Seriously it's 2017. My 'place' is whatever I decide it is. And rest assured, this woman has no leash. And I'm pretty sure that's all I need to say about that matter.
Because love, care, and support aren't problems.
Someone please explain to me at what point it time it became a bad thing to love your step-kids as your own? For years step-mothers have been portrayed as evil and awful, and I'm sure there's a lot of them who are! The idea for Cinderella didn't come from nowhere! I wonder just how many kids out there would give anything for the new person in their parent's life to treat them like their own, and not in a hateful/indifferent way? How does it make sense to cast a negative stigma onto step-mothers who treat their step-kids like crap, but turn around and criticize the ones who are loving their new step-kids like their own? Sounds to me like I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Supplemental love, support, and care isn't a problem. It's a solution to an incredibly real issue. When two parents decide to split and go their own separate ways, you know who suffers? The kids. You know what can help aid children during their difficult transitions in life? Love, care, and support. They aren't problems. Abuse? That's a problem. Neglect? That's a problem too. Let's get our priorities straight and stop trying to turn things that aren't problems, into problems. I'm not changing what isn't a problem. I'm not trying to take anyones place, rather act as a supplement to create even more love, care, and support in my new son's life.
Because love shouldn't come with conditions.
Love doesn't say, "I love you, but not like my own child because I didn't give birth to you." Love is inclusive. And quite frankly, you can't expect that someone take on all of the TASKS of motherhood, yet not allow them to develop and show the feelings that motherhood brings. I'm not too sure why anyone would want a conditional love cast upon their child. Bottom line, I refuse to love my new son under anyone else's conditions. Period.
Because I won't make him to be an outsider.
You know what kid's don't really like? To feel excluded or different. That makes most kids uncomfortable, and I think we could say the same for a lot of adults too. So you know what I'm not going to do? I'm not going to refer to my new son as my 'step-son.' I'm not going to refer to him in that way in casual conversation. I'm not going to force him to refer to me as his 'step-mom.' Wanna know a little secret? You'll think this is exciting! Mike and I are planning on expanding our family! Yep, you heard right! We're crazy and want more children! But you know what we don't want? A family that feels divided. We never want our children to feel like they are anything less than family. I won't promote the start of that ideology by using labels like, step or half to my kids. And I won't allow my new son to feel like he will EVER mean less to me, or be treated any differently than my own biological children just because I didn't give birth to him too.
Because I don't need anyone's approval but his.
The first time I heard Ry refer to himself as my son was about ten or so months ago, while we were in a store. I was playing a little game with him, saying, "Uh, who are you kid? Why are you following me? I don't know you." And he cracked up instantly and responded, "Uh it's me, Riley, your SON. You do live with me, you know!" And I just paused right there, because it was such a beautiful thought. He had no boundaries placed on our relationship just because I didn't give birth to him. It's very evident that my new son happily accepts and reciprocates the love I give to him. And I'm pretty sure that's absolutely all that matters.
Because I'm my own person.
I'm my own person dammit! I'm a big girl. One of the coolest things about being an adult is that you get to make your own decisions. And my decisions? They aren't hurting anyone. Quite the contrary actually, they're BENEFITTING someone. And anyone who disagrees with my beneficial behaviors, that's okay. You don't have to agree. We were all raised with different beliefs and morals. I was personally raised to be inclusive and give the people you love absolutely everything you've got. So that's what I'm going to do. If that's not how you were raised or you don't like it, well that sounds like a personal problem! I don't like to engage in other people's personal problems, so leave me out.
So there you have it. No, I will not "know my place" in my new son's life. I will not submit to the requests of people who don't have my family's best interests at heart. Treating my 'step-son' as anything less than my own, is not in his or my family's best interest. So I won't have any part of it. My goal is to create a life that is positive and fulfilling to those around me, and to have a positive impact on whoever I can. And that starts in my own home.
A huge thank you to those who DO continually support my actions in and concerning my family's lives. Your continued love and support really keeps me going. I'm lucky to have so many incredible people on my team. And to the mamas out there feeling criticized, YOU know your intentions and YOU know the impact you have in your child's life. If you're doing what's best, don't let anyone tell you different.