I've had a few days to reflect on the past week and a half.
Yes. This past week and a half required 3 days to mule over and consider.
It's not that I thought step-parenting would be easy, or that this would be an easy transition. I just never imagined it would lead to so many hurt feelings. Confusion, yes. Anger, definitely. Obstinacy, absolutely. But hurt feelings where a grown woman and a 13 year old boy are in tears? I had no idea.
I suppose it's been 13 days since the soon-to-be-stepson arrived at our house. Everything seemed really great. We were both overjoyed to have him back in the house. Within an hour of being home, he asked to go to the park. No big deal. "Be back before it's dark".
And so it began: The fight for who and what my purpose is in my household.
I know that I'm the person who loves her fiance. I love my fiance's son. But...
I felt like I could make no rules or have them followed if I did. I've been "just a girlfriend" for so long. But with the wedding so close, my own confusion in my own role has been a major thing for me. Once I become a "wife", where do I stand? In every decision made in our household, I have been an equal partner and I know that once we are married, I will continue to remain an equal partner. In all areas, except one. The Kid.
Dark time hit and no kid. Soon-to-be-husband aka partner aka fiance aka the kids father was busy at the grill preparing a late dinner for us to enjoy. He asked me if I would go to the park to hunt down the kid. As I walked down to the park, my anxiety grew. Usually, he's pretty good at being on time, or if anything, just a few minutes short of us going to go look for him. I get down to the park and start to walk around. Anxiety growing, I start yelling his name. I walked around the park, through the park, and around again. I think to myself, "Maybe he took the other way around and is at home right now". I get annoyed that no one has called me to let me know he's at home safely.
I get back to the house and ask from the driveway into our backyard. "Is he home yet?!". He's not home. I walk over to his buddy's house. After a panicked wait, I find out he's been there for a while. He comes out and all I can say to him is that I'm beyond angry at him right now. He knows the rules. Check in when you change places. Let us know where you're at. My anxiety has turned to red hot anger. Relief was quickly replaced. This kid never had a chance.
The three of us come to an agreement. He's grounded from the park and will do all of his chores sans allowance. He's also grounded of his brand new toy, an air soft gun.
Saturday he had a commitment to fulfill and was gone all day. Sunday he did his chores and had his gun back. By Monday, I felt like the punishments put in place were all forgotten. His tone and attitude towards us deteriorates quickly through the weekend and week. By Wednesday, I'm so fed up with his attitude towards me, I'm having a hard time looking at him. I have no idea how to address this situation. I'm not his mom, and at this rate, I'm not going to be his friend either. Telling on him isn't getting me very far, and as I feel ignored and battered, my feelings get hurt. I'm not even sure which event it was that finally just pushed me over the edge, but there I was Wednesday evening, upstairs on my bed, sobbing.
The man had had enough and pulled the kid upstairs for a discussion that I wish would have happened earlier, because then maybe our week wouldn't have been totally ruined.
The Agreement: We're all equal in this. The man is comfortable with me having as much authority as he has. I'm comfortable with this. But most importantly, the kid is comfortable with this.
Obviously, I don't plan on walking around the house, acting like I'm the Queen of the Block. But it is nice for us all to know the boundaries. It was like once they were set, the kid knew how far he could push and never went over.
This whole step-parenting thing is new and different. Not just for me, but for everyone. It's hard to remember that. I'm the one becoming a step-parent, but I must remember I'm not alone in this process. We're all confused, sometimes we're angry, and we're definitely obstinate about a lot of things, but finding our boundaries and what our limits are will surely help us find our way.