Whew! That was one busy weekend.
My husband was away on an overnight hockey tournament with my 13-year-old stepson, so I was on my own with the rest of the crew!!
Between hockey games, snack bag duty, appointments, dance class, the kid’s social lives and a family gathering.... it was a definite balancing act.
An unbalanced one at that!
As most of you know, I became a stepmom before I became a Mom.
At 26 years old, I fell madly in love with a single dad with three kids, and dove head first into step-motherhood. From day one I was committed to loving my three step-kids like they were my own. They instantly became my favourite people, and have been at the top of my priority list ever since.
In fact, when my husband and I decided to have an “ours” baby, I worried about how I would juggle a new baby, on top of everything else I had going on with the kids.
I was right to worry. Things did change.
When Reese arrived, nap time started to trump hockey games. Her bedtime routine, trumped nightly homework sessions.
We’d bring her along as much as we could, but often, I’d stay home with her while my husband took care of the others.
I felt bad missing things, but I figured that my stepchildren had two other parents available for them. My responsibility was to Reese.
This weekend, it was no surprise that I ran into a scheduling conflict. On Saturday morning Reese had dance class at the same time as my stepson needed to be an hour away for hockey.
I toyed with what to do - with neither his Mom or Dad available to go on the bus with him, the only other option was to send him with another family while I took Reese to dance.
But that just didn’t feel right. I didn’t want him to feel like he wasn’t a priority and that Reese always comes first.
I want him to see that I am still dedicated to him, and that he is STILL at the top of my list!
With our hectic schedule, there are times when we need to rely on other families, but I don't like to do that unless it's completely necessary. I don’t want him to be the kid without a parent at the games, unless there is no other choice.
So, I decided to get our babysitter to help out with Reese’s dance, and go on the bus with him.
When I told a friend about my weekend dilemma, she asked if I felt bad choosing my stepson over my daughter.
The truth? I'd feel bad either way.
But I don’t make parenting decisions based the “biological” kid vs. the “step-kid” label. There is no "ours" vs. "theirs" distinction.
It’s about looking at all of the kid's needs, assessing the situation and making parenting decisions accordingly.
I never ever want my stepchildren to feel like they are “JUST” my step-kids.
In this situation, for various reasons, the priority was him.
Yes, as a stepmom I tend to take a step back and let the kid's Mom & Dad tackle the tough parenting conversations (By the way, this is a step-parenting strategy I highly recommend)
But I don't prioritize my daughter's needs over my stepchildren, just because I gave birth to her and not them. It’s not fair to the kids, and it’s certainly not how I roll.
When we're all together, no matter what’s going on in our stepfamily dynamic, they're all "ours" - and we do our best to parent accordingly.