Parenting: What is a Stepparent’s Roll?
When you find yourself in a new relationship once divorced, and your significant other has children, what is your roll in that relationship? What are your responsibilities?
When I got divorced I knew that more than likely I would end up with someone who had children from a previous relationship. In fact, most dates I went on were with guys who had children. I felt they understood my situation as a single mom better — that my kids come first, no matter what. Whoever I was with needed to understand how important my children are to me. Everything I’ve done in life is to try and give them a better one. I have sacrificed a great deal to make sure my kids have what they need.
I also wanted to end up with someone that would treat my children as his own, who would watch out for them, take care of them and help provide for them as I would for his kids. I believe that when you’re involved with someone who has children, you are obligated to take care of and protect them as though they are your own.
When I met my boyfriend, we both had the same philosophy when it came to our offspring. And once our kids became involved in our relationship, it was very clear to both of us that we viewed each other’s children as our own and that we would take care of them. I am grateful, as is he, that we love each other’s kids and want the best for them in life.
DNA has no baring on our relationship with our four kids. My FSD (future stepdaughter) and FSS (future stepson) are just as important to me as my daughter and my son. When they are with me I make sure to watch over them as I do my own. I do for them what my boyfriend does for mine and what I want my ex-husband’s girlfriend to do, too. And I don’t want my boyfriend’s ex-wife to worry about her children and wonder if I’d protect them if the need arose. I absolutely would.
In fact, when my FSD told me about being picked on at school, I instantly felt protective of her because I remembered all too well what being bullied felt like, and I don’t want to see her deal with the things I have. I don’t want any of the kids to. I will protect all of them, as will Chris.
There are some people I know, however, that feel a stepparent should not have to protect and watch over children that aren’t theirs because they’re not blood related. The day someone told me that, my blood boiled. How can I ever feel that my children are safe when they aren’t with me if they aren’t being protected by all parties around them? I can’t. And that sucks.
As a mom, I will always worry about my children’s welfare. It’s part of being a parent. But I shouldn’t have to worry that those who are brought into my children’s life by someone else are not expected to watch out for and take care of them. Instead, every time my children aren’t under my, my boyfriends or my parents’ care, I worry about them and if they are being watched over. I have to worry about something bad happening to them all the time. And let me tell you, if something bad did happen to them, there would be hell to pay. I would never forgive the responsible parties.
So, I feel a stepparent’s roll is to be A PARENT. Blood relation should have NO say in whether or not a step parent takes care of a child. The best interest of that child(ren) should be top priority for the parent AND stepparent. Just because someone donates DNA to make a child doesn’t make them a parent. It’s the things we do for them, the things we’d sacrifice for them, the worrying we do over them, etc., that make a person a parent. And though I am not the birth mother of my boyfriend’s children, they are still very important to me, and I will not shirk my duties/responsibilities just because we do not share DNA. That is MY roll as a stepmom.
And though my boyfriend and I aren’t legally bound to each other yet, in our hearts we are. His kids are not just his kids and my kids aren’t just my kids. In our hearts we are bound together, not just for the moment or while it’s convenient. We see our relationship as a long-term commitment and investment to each other and our children and in all ways but on paper, we are stepparents.