Lucky Seven Family

Tag Archives: Relationships

Step-Momming — please remember you are the adult!

When my mother was diagnosed with stomach cancer, my family was told she had six months to live .  She came home from the hospital and chemotherapy ensued.  Given my parent’s expectations, they identified a home health aid to be available for my mother.  Given her strength, fortitude, and the loving care of her friends and family, Momma defied the odds; she managed the chemotherapy like a champ. Given how well Momma was fighting, after about six months, the home health aid was helping more with household items like laundry and groceries than taking care of Momma’s health needs (so lucky we had some healthy times with her!).  I was 18 years old at the time; a freshman in college.  I took my second semester of my freshman year off to be at home given the prognosis we initially received.  During this time, I was a complete brat (or substitute some other word here) to Lillie Mae, the home health aid.  In all honesty, I was just plain MEAN.  She didn’t do the laundry like my mom did.  She didn’t buy the same brands at the grocery store that my mom did.  So, what did I do – gave her the cold shoulder and talked ugly about her to anyone that would listen, including my mom.

Why I am telling you this?  To get your attention! And…

Because I think this relationship is analogous to the step-mom/step-child relationship in many ways…

Lillie Mae was the target of my anger and frustration.  Any sane person can quickly see though, that Lillie Mae was not whom I was really angry or frustrated with, right? I was angry and frustrated that my mom had cancer! And, that I had no control over what was happening.  Lillie Mae was the easiest target… she was new to our family and I didn’t have a personal relationship with her.

Think about it!  What does a child go through when their parents split up? when someone new shows up in their home?  They are angry, frustrated, and realize they don’t have control over what is happening.  A new person  in the home is the perfect target.  That new person is often the new partner of either parent.  This does not make bad behavior excusable; it still has to be dealt with.  However, I hope this analogy will help you think about HOW you deal with it.  Perhaps your first step will be considering where the child is coming from; their life has been significantly impacted.  Also, I’ll make the point that I was not a five year old when I was so difficult with Lillie Mae; I was 18 years old!  So, this pertains to teenagers as well, maybe even more so.

As the adult in the relationship, we have to put the child’s feelings first. It isn’t easy.  When you aren’t being treated with respect, you get an eye roll, or the cold shoulder, just put yourself in the child’s (or teen’s) shoes and remember that as the new person, you are their easiest target.  Take a deep breath, count to 10, and don’t take it personally.

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