I am not a permissive parent. You probably could guess that about me. There aren’t a lot of sweets, the kids pick up after themselves, and bedtime is a pretty regular routine.
Even though I am glad for the routine and structure, sometimes I worry. Should my role as a stepmom be less of a parent and more of a friendly aunt type? Do they see me just as an enforcer of rules and a driver to activities and maker of school lunches? Do they think I’m fun?
In our house we talk a lot about how people are good at different things. Ana is a great runner. Dad is a great referee. Yoseph is good at Legos. And when you ask the kids what I am good at, they say cleaning. Ouch.
Though true, it’s a little sad. I’m not good at sports. I am good at organizing closets. I’m not good at painting or drawing. I am a good public speaker, but they don’t know that (nor would they care at this point in their lives). I am also excellent at sarcasm, something they will not appreciate as teenagers, I am sure.
So in my moments of insecurity as a stepmom, I reflect on the fact that the kids think of me as someone who cleans the house, makes meals, keeps clothes clean, but may not be particularly fun. Of course, someday they’ll look back and know that these acts of service were a way of showing how much I love them. It took me until about age 19 to begin to appreciate all that my mom did for me (sorry, Mom).
So until those days come, I’m going to make sure that the structure is tempered with some fun activities.
–A birthday cake to celebrate Alexander Hamilton’s birthday because these #HamilKids are the biggest fans ever
–An impromptu trip to the movies on a school night (we saw Sing, it was cute)
–Missing a few hours of school to see the Governor’s Inauguration Ceremony
Structure is good–but so is fun. So 2017 will be the year we find a better balance of that in our house!
These kids know how successful you are in your work. They see that Mayors of Indianapolis have respect for you and consider you a friend. They see that you get VIP access for the inauguration of our next Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Superintendant of Schools, and Auditor of State. Ana and Yoseph know that Step Molly is a big deal, and boy are they right!
And speaking as the “mother-in-law”, all that you are teaching Ana & Yoseph is LOVE! Love isn’t always soft and sweet, love is sometimes tough but caring. And they could think of you in worse ways than as “the cleaner” – and, just maybe, those clean up habits you enforce and model will continue as they grow older and share a space with someone who is less inclined (??). Step Molly is a wonderful, big deal to all of us!!!