I have been married now for 3 months to my second husband, and we are now a blended family with five children. Three of the five live with us, my two daughters (ages 6 and 9) and my step-daughter, who is a teen, and who, of course, knows it all.
She and I got along pretty good in the beginning, when Daniel and I were dating. Then, when my daughters and I moved in, we started disagreeing about, it seemed, everything. She became snippy many times so I gave it back to her. (I know, who is really the adult here?)
We went on like this for 2 months, and it was emotionally difficult and draining. I felt like a boxer hit one too many times. I kept telling myself I didn’t sign up to raise a teen that was going to be disrespectful and I didn’t want the responsibility. Why me? Then my good friend, Colleen, made me see that it was not about me. She reminded me that I was a teen at one time, and to think about the emotional roller coaster that it is being a teenager. She also pointed out that I had moved in and had taken over her house and father. I was taking her dad’s attention. Now my stepdaughter had to share him with me and my two daughters.
I was not considering my step-daughter’s feelings. I disliked Colleen for sharing what I didn’t want to hear even though I knew she was right. She allowed me to see things from a different perspective and to see that I need to be a good role model for my stepdaughter.
Just like Daniel took up the responsibility of taking care of my daughters, I needed to do that for his children. It was a hard pill to swallow because I knew it was going to take work. I stopped thinking about me and gave 100% to my stepdaughter. I have also apologized and we have had heart-to-heart talks about what we were both feeling and how we can work on our relationship.
I may not be the coolest step-mom, know much about current music or the latest fashion, but I do know that being a teen is part of growing up. I know when my stepdaughter is older we will have good laughs and talk about the past and how immature we were. I am now committed to loving, teaching and allowing her to be who she is without trying to change her. She is my responsibility and I need to treat her as my own daughter and not a ‘friend’ because I have been entrusted to teach and mold her to be a respectable young woman.
I must say through all the stress and challenges, I was not able to consistently take my weekly Mommy Time-Outs, especially recently. Now I am back on track and taking care of me regularly. I want to be a good example to my children on how to take care of me. I also am sure it would have been a lot less stressful had I made the time for my MTO, with some time to myself to think through things, find peace and strength to face my challenges. I still got through it, but I imagine it would have been a bit less stressful had I given myself my regular MTOs.
What challenges have stopped you from taking your MTO’s? If you have not been consistent, let it go and start today!