Friday, January 13, 2006

Blended Families

This step-mom thing isn't easy. I imagine it's easier in some ways than if they were little kids, and I imagine the reverse is true, that it is easier for me since some of ours are older, but regardless of the age of the kids, "it ain't easy." Being careful not to overstep your boundaries is tricky. Mostly, though, I'm just resigned because there are some things that aren't going to change. Either the kids are just so ingrained in a certain way, or the spouse won't let things change, or would let things change but won't make the effort, as if I can make everything happen on my own.

Okay. None of this is making sense to anyone else! My point is it's hard to draw the line between being a loving step-mom and doing what you know is right and saying so. I have great step-kids, but there is one, in particular, who is treated as an adult though she's never lived on her own (of course not! she's not even 17 yet), never held a job (Nope, not even part time), has "her own" car, and basically tells us where she's going rather than asking. Luckily, this girl makes fairly good decisions.

But she has so much freedom, and very few boundaries. And her dad won't hassle her about anything whether it's homework (waiting till the last day of a two week project to start working on it), talking on the phone at 2AM, or not calling when she's not coming straight home from school. She makes good grades, and to him, that's all that matters since she's not a hoodlum out on the street making trouble. She's basically a good kid. But who's the adult? Apparently, she is as much one as he and I are. No, I don't believe that, but that's how he treats her. She has a car, cell phone, cash when she needs it, lots of freedom to do as she pleases, someone to pay for her clothes, gas, and insurance, someone to cook for her, someone to do her laundry (which is going to stop now), and someone to bail her out if she gets in trouble and to lean on when she's sad. Her mom is not in the picture on a regular basis, but things have been a little better between them lately; however, her mom isn't in a position to instill discipline, values, work ethic, etc.

The daughter is a procrastinator like her dad, and I worry that she's going to procrastinate so much and not get into college. She has a year and a half left of high school, true. But still... I can't do it for her, but it will come back to bite me in the butt if she doesn't get it all together in time. I will be blamed. Oh, and when something happens, it's never her fault (read this with dripping sarcasm).

Don't get me wrong. I love her. I just don't like her walking all over her dad and just assuming that all will be taken care of for her. I also don't like the example she sets for my other step-daughter and my two children. I guess a big part of my resentment, and I recognize it for what it is, is that I had to work all through high school while taking honors courses and dealing with family issues that were not normal. Her excuse for not having a job is the honors courses. It doesn't fly with me. But it does with dear hubby. I also had to ask permission to go places and report to my dad when he said to. I did my own laundry, made my own breakfast and lunch, went to school, worked, also did dance team, and so on, and she's not expected to do half what I had to do! And we are by no means rich.

We're all doing the best we can with what we have. I know I need to extend grace. She doesn't have the life experience to rely on that I have. But I wish her dad would quit treating her as if she did. This is more about him than her, I guess.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to respond! Oh, and as I said in my profile, I'm still lovin' life!

1 comment:

The Quintessential Feline said...

Your question, "Who is the adult?" is right on! It's easy to see that your entire Blog was all about the love you have for both your step-daughter and her father. D...there is only so much you can do. Ultimately, her father needs to step in and help mold her to be the human being that she should be, that you hope she would be.

As for working during high school, I did it too, though I didn't have honors classes. However, come senior year when I was missing out on EVERYTHING, I told my parents I was willing to give up new clothes, $ for the movies (not all the time but some of the time), $ for hanging with my friends at the local Mickey D's, etc., if they would allow me to quit my job so that I could enjoy senior year. I told them I would do all that and I would not complain. They agreed, I quit my job, and I didn't complain BECAUSE I was grateful for the opportunity to be a teenager in my last year of school.

So...my point. Either (a) she needs to get a job if she wants to do everything that she wants to do or (b) tell her to get a job for the next year or so to make & save $$ for the things that she wants to do and then in her senior year if she's willing to sacrifice some things in favor of enjoying her final year of high school and she sticks to it, then let her quit her job, provide her with the cash she needs every now and then (NOT all the time), and let her enjoy her final year of kid-dom.

That's my take on your story. You are doing a good job balancing out your life D and you have made your own sacrifices too. Plus, you have discovered your true purpose - being on this earth for Him - so you should have no worries. Keep doing what you're doing, keep praying about it all, and rest assured knowing that God will eventually take care of it all. Remember, it's HIS plan, not ours.

Smiles...TQF

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