4 Reasons Why I Love Being a Stepparent
September 15, 2017
BY: Amy Clites
By guest blogger Amy Clites
I know what you’re thinking – what is there to love about being a stepparent? Those of you out there who are stepparents know that it’s an incredibly challenging job. Shuttling one or more kids back and forth between homes, navigating difficult relationships – especially with the ex – and feeling left out during holidays and special occasions can make being a stepparent a real drag.
But you know what? Even though being a stepmom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve discovered it comes with its own unique set of rewards. I’m a childfree stepmom – which means I don’t have or plan to have children of my own – and I’ve learned to love having other people’s children in my life. Here are four of my reasons why.
1. I have the time and space to pursue my own interests without guilt.
Being a parent is difficult. Every day is a new challenge, from getting the kids to eat healthy to dealing with problems at school. But not being the biological parent means that it’s generally not my responsibility to solve those problems. I only get involved when it’s clear I need to be. The kids already have so many different voices to listen to, they don’t need me to the mix. I think part of being a successful stepparent is knowing that my husband needs personal time with the kids, and being OK with that. I simply see it as time that I can spend on me, guilt-free.
2. I get to know what it’s like to be a kid today.
As a childfree woman in my 40s, it would be easy to feel disconnected to younger generations. But having a unique relationship with my stepkids means I get to see the world through their eyes. I have long discussions with my teenage stepdaughter about her classes, her friends and her life. Being a good listener for my stepkids means they have an impartial adult they can talk to. It also gives me a new perspective about the world.
3. I see my husband with different eyes.
When my husband and I first dated, the kids weren’t around most of the time so I got to know him as an adult. Once our relationship became serious and I saw the kids more, I got to know him as a dad and see a totally different side of him. I find it deeply moving how much he loves his kids, and it has made our relationship that much more meaningful to see him express that love.
4. My heart stretches in ways I never thought possible.
My stepkids have taught me to open my heart and have challenged me to be a better person for them. I’ve learned how to deal with situations over which I have no control and how to handle some pretty complex emotions. I’ve discovered that my heart has plenty of space in it for them. The heart really is a muscle – the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.
If you’re struggling with your role as a stepparent, I hope you’ll join me in finding reasons to love what you’ve been given. Focusing on the positive can remind you why you began this journey in the first place, and can help reinforce the special relationships you have with everyone in your stepfamily. While no situation is perfect, you just might be surprised to discover how much you have to celebrate.
Amy Clites is a writer, actor and stepmom. She is also a gardener, cook, traveler and lover of soft fuzzy things who writes regularly about these topics and more on her blog, http://zeitclites.com, and on Twitter @AmyClites.