Being a mum can be tough but being step mum can be the most challenging roles in society.
From being small and watching the Disney movies such as Cinderella and Snow White as well as many more like Hansel and Gretal , children are taught from a young age that the wicked stepmothers from these children's classics are exact and real.
It is so hard to justify to a small child that the most loved Disney movies we have had them watching from being babies filled with magic and mostly end with happy endings are not all completely honest and true .
Step mums have already been given a bad name before having the chance to show the characters in those stories are totally untrue and you feel the need to so call 'Prove them wrong', We walk on egg shells, scared to raise a voice to the step child in case people look at you with glare eyes , talking behind your back with whispers saying
'' I bet she does not treat her child in the same way ''.
I have come across so many support groups and forums that help mums and dads but when it comes to step parents, it seems a total different kettle of fish when asking for help.
The answers usually given are
''let their dad deal with them ,look after your own, do not worry about them''
''Why should you deal with it all, they are not your kids, let their mother sort it''?
I am sorry but these answers are just not good enough.
In my situation , I was left with no alternative but to take my husbands children (now ages 5yrs, 7yrs and 12yrs) into our home due to their mother not wanting to 'Deal with them'! , In fact although their real mothers her way of 'Dealing' with disciplining her children were totally the wrong way to go around it hence the reason they are with me now and therefore there is no way I wish to raise a hand to the children .
My husband works , he is self employed and finds himself leaving the home first thing in the morning and not returning till sometimes after tea depending on the work he has and so I am left to get them ready in the morning, take them to school, pick them up and sort them with homework, teas and basic mother roles of the day being a mum.
I have no choice but to choose ways in teaching them right from wrong and disciplining them in a way I see suitable.
The usual routine of discipline is
At the minute having only two bedrooms shared between 6 of the children and one set of stairs we try to separate them when numerous are being naughty. We will place one on the sofa, one on the stairs, one on the table chair , one in each bedroom, luckily so far we have not got past struggling with finding a space for the 6th or 7th lol. We currently moved in to this home 3 years ago but had only 3 children , now that we have an extra 3 living here and one visiting on the weekends , we have had no other alternative but to put in for moving to a bigger home but the way the list updates each week and not many homes being bigger than a 3 bedroom we look to be waiting for some time as the least we are able to bid on is a 4-6 (very rare)
I have been in situations where the children have tried to 'push my buttons' many times, especially when family members have been in the same room.
The children will go and do something they know they are not allowed to do on purpose so that I feel in a position I can not say 'NO' but they know the family members will ignore what I say.
It is that feeling, you hear it every time in your head that 'You are not their mother and you have no say', it is a nightmare but I am beginning to realise it is wrong and I do have a say.
The children are in my care 24/7 , they have a mother but she has not seen, wrote or spoke to them in over 6 months and so I have to show them I am the step mum and if I say no , I mean no.
The children are always being naughty and at first I felt like after what they had gone through, I had to let them just get on with it at first so they did not feel even more neglected and unloved but how far do I dismiss their bad behaviours when I have three of my own children being told they can not do the same thing they are being allowed to do?
In my situation I have to think of my own children as well as the step children and it is becoming the most difficult part of the whole family relationship. After 5 years of being with my husband (their dad) , and with the drastic events that have ocured lately, things have changed and I do feel more a mum than I did before. I no longer have to send them home on a Sunday night and not see them till the following Friday . I am now full time mum to not just three but six and it has been a huge leap in my life that I love but find hard sometimes.
I walk the children to school and people automatically stare at me like I am the Pied Piper , They constantly whisper and have sometimes stopped me and said
''wow you have your hands full, you do not look old enough to be mum to all of them''
I feel the need to tell them I am their mum, they are in my care, I am 30 years old and there is only three of them I actually gave birth to.
Most of the time I find myself explaining my self to them with the full blown story of ''How I became mum of 7 '' and telling them what had happened for the children to be sent to us full time''.
Sometimes I can walk through town and I get the feeling people are looking at me with disgust. They think we are a young family with 7 Kids !
I used to look at people and do the same, judging young mums with a pushchair with a young toddler stuffing their face with a sausage roll and I suppose I now know how they felt too. I feel bad I have done it but this is what we are talking about. Today's society are full of judgement and therefore step mums just like single parents are judged before been given the opportunity to speak.
I can not treat any of the children differently in the household , it does not work when you try to mollycottle the step children and not your own or the other way around. I believe they should be all treat the same way even if you are getting the looks for raising your voice at them.
Having their father help me is the biggest step to making it work. If he says 'no', they know to listen and so if he learns to agree with me as he has been doing then things work a lot easier for everyone and most importantly the children.
The children are only little and they are there to be taught right from wrong and if you can help them learn those simple rules in life then there is nothing you can do wrong while disciplining them the right way, we never raise a hand to them, I do not believe that is a good way to learn a child . In my opinon if you raise your hands to a child because they do something you do not agree with , then they will grow to do the same and it can become a vicious circle , that circle needs to be broken and using your verbal skills instead of physical teaches them to approach things calmly in the right way.
Feelings can be an emotional roller coaster to everyone but when a step child is treat differently to your own children they will feel unloved, unwanted and so you must learn to share your time and affection with them all equally. Do not hate your step children because you feel they are a burden, they are not a burden , they are small children in need of parents who love them . Showing respect, love and compassion to them is something that can be given in return once the family have learnt to allow the fact that you are a family and that's all that matters, it is not a competition, children are not their to be fought over like a prize.
I am finding it easier as the weeks go on and the children are learning slowly, its a slow process but eventually they will learn that I am here to love them and treat them as my own as feel I am doing , they just need to learn to trust me. Some days are fantastic , others can be bad, there has even been times I have shouted at them , felt I had done something wrong by shouting and walked outside in The rain for an hour or so but I , like them will learn it is all for the right reasons. The family will always have issues but living them together is a lesson ,our biggest challenge with many more obstacles to leap over.
The way I see it is I am giving another woman's children the love that their mother can not , I do not feel selfish , I feel better for it.
Do you judge step mums, are you one?