Football games and Friday nights are right around the corner for many incoming freshmen as they begin their high school journey. When you are in a blended family and navigating step-parenting during school things are a little more complicated.
Thinking back to my high school years, I vividly remember the egg sandwiches and orange slices my mom had ready for me as I ran out the door. She stayed up late with me to help me study for my history test. Even sitting next to my bed and reading the vocabulary words and definitions so hopefully, it would seep into my brain as I fell asleep.
What I didn’t realize at the time was how many plates my mom was juggling. She was my mom and I felt her main focus should be on me and my siblings. But she was also a wife, worked outside the home, and volunteered for different organizations.
As a mom now, I see all the pressures she had on her shoulders and feel them too. I work from home and have two stepdaughters. I am trying to balance a 50/50 custody schedule while staying on track with my own kiddos’ schedules.
My Role as Step Mom
As moms, we carry the weight of our families on our shoulders. We keep everyone on schedule and arriving/departing activities and school on time. We provide snacks when it’s been a tough day. Moms drive to Target to get last-minute project supplies when their daughter says it’s due tomorrow. As a stepmom, I provide guidance and support for the girls when they are at my house. But I don’t replace their mom.
High school is a big transition, especially when living in a split household. There’s more pressure to remember everything you need when traveling between houses. As a step-parent, I have to have understanding and grace that balls will be dropped. And I will need to help pick them up. That may include needing to drive 40 minutes to their mom’s house to get a forgotten item. Or have them call their mom to get the advice they are looking for.
School and step-parenting collide when I want to be at all the firsts. This is because I love my girls just as much as my younger kiddos. But I remind myself they have a mom who loves them and deserves to be there first. So I will stand back and watch. I will take lots of pictures and remember the little details. My girls should never feel they need to choose a parental side. Our job is to love unconditionally and be there in support.
High school is tough and living 50/50 is never ideal, but it’s the reality of many teenagers. So I choose to make it the best situation possible. That way the girls are confident and secure in their home life so they can excel in school. It’s a choice to put my feelings and ego aside for what is in the best interest of the girls. This is why navigating school and step-parenting is vitally important.
Sending extra grace and patience to all parents as their kids start school soon. Especially the step-parent who has that special role that is not always seen or acknowledged.