A letter to parents…

More specifically, the parents who unfortunately did not stay together after bringing another life into this world.

Not only is divorce a sad reality of the world we live in today, but it also makes the already monumental task of parenting a child that much harder.

Do I have kids?  No. 

Do I devote numerous of hours a day to the academic, behavioral, emotional and social development of someone else’s child?  Yes. 

When I started dating my significant other, we talked about how impactful it would be on our relationship that they had a child from a previous relationship.  I decided I was up to the challenge.  Admittedly it has turned out to be far more emotionally, financially, physically and mentally draining than I had ever imagined it would be.  Conversely it has also been the most rewarding, worthwhile and impactful thing I have ever done.

One of the hardest things to wrap my head around and accept is that all the parenting and work on my end, does not a parent make.  I am considered at times the enemy by the original parent in my relationship.  I’m the replacement ref that was brought on the field to fill a role and although I am doing the best I can, there are a stadium of critics surrounding me.  Being in a “step” role (whether you’re married to the parent, in a long term relationship, etc) is not glamorous. They don’t say “ugly step parent wart” for nothing.  {Don’t worry, I’ve been examined by a dermatologist and I’m currently not sporting any step warts…}

All this I’m sure is not news to anyone.  What might be news however, is that in filling this role of parent/guardian, my goal is in fact to assist in the development of a child.  Not to undermine another parent.  It is also not my role to outshine, outdo, outsmart, outparent someone else. My role has nothing to do with someone else.  In fact, my end goal has more to do with myself than even with the child.  I want to look at myself in the mirror every single day and know that I have done the absolute best job I could do that day.  I made the right decisions, I did not cave to puppy dog eyes, I gave high fives, hugs and discipline when necessary.  I want to never feel like I gave less than am capable of giving. {Obviously I make mistakes somedays, like every other wart-toting authority figure does}

Why write this?  Because you, the parent need to know that.  Wouldn’t you rather know that when you aren’t around someone is there for your child in times of crisis, joy and learning? That someone is there to comfort, intervene or praise when necessary?  And wouldn’t you be so thankful that someone else did this because they WANTED to.  Not because they had to, were paid to, employed to or guilted into it.  Is there a better person to have around your child than someone who wakes up every day and aligns their day to give their best, so your child can benefit from that? 

So, I am challenging you to give the “other parent” in your life a little slack.  Know that even the knowledge that their lives would be easier, less complicated, less busy, less structured and their relationship far easier without your child in it, they wake up every morning choosing to “stay the course” and strive to be a constant positive addition to your child’s life.

I do not want to be you.  I do not want to replace you.  I don’t want to wear your skin or other creepy serial-killer-tendencies.  I want to have the best relationship I can have with my forever person, and that includes your child.  In order to have the best relationship I can, I am going to be the best “other parent” I can be.  Every day. For them, for us and for me.

Take comfort in that.  Be reassured by that.  Be thankful for that.

Even dysfunctional families are still families and nothing good ever comes of jealousy, envy, bitterness or spite.

I actually appreciate you, for creating the person I’m with today.  Without you (their history) there would be no us (our future).

Crazy, huh?

Be kinder to an “other parent” in your life today.  (hint: they might like chocolate)

Note: This is my plea, I cannot account for every other parent out there and know that there are cases that go against everything I have written.  I would like to think they are the exception and not the rule, but wanted to let you (the reader) know that I am not naive and disney-enough to believe this is the case for every family unit. But it is for mine.

Another Note: If a “other parent” tries to wear your skin, disregard all of the above and run fast.  Probably scream a lot too.

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4 thoughts on “A letter to parents…

  1. thank you ingrid! it is a tough job being a “step” role. i however in my relationship get to play both the parent and step parent. it is definitely not easy and we do not always see eye to eye on how to raise “our” kids. it is a true story or yours mine and ours. but you are right it is very rewarding and even as the parent at the end of the day we also tell ourselves that we did the best we could. neither role is glamorous but both so worth it! good job and good luck :)

  2. I love you Ingrid for being the best “other parent” a child could have! They are ALL very lucky to have you in their life!

  3. I understand and sympathize with your plea however you have failed to include a few details of which you may not know or understand. To assume that I am envious, jealous, bitter or spiteful towards you is really putting yourself up on a pedestal. I like your confidence but you are incorrect I am not going to get into any sort of “blog war” with you but will definitely be sending you a personal email to let you know my thoughts. ~ Peace

  4. Oh…and one more thing. I do appreciate you being there. I think you are good for Jason and I am happy you are part of his life AND my sons.

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