Summer is winding down to a close and it’s almost back-to-school time again. With four kids in our blended family I have to navigate meet the teacher nights, haircuts, doctors’ visits, school supply and clothes shopping, and parent “get to know you” meet-ups starting, well…..now.
All stepmoms’ degree of participation in their bonus kid’s life can vary from complete disconnection (it’s not my kid), to full time parenting with an uninvolved bio-mom. Because of this, there’s usually a learning curve for others while they figure out our roles and particular circumstances.
In preparation for back-to-school events and the new teachers that will have to get to know our blended family’s specific dynamics, here are
5 things my stepdaughter’s teachers should know:
1. Yes, that’s probably me in the carpool lane. Out of the three parental units, I have the most flexibility so yep, that’s usually me driving the minivan you see in the carpool line. I’ll probably be looking haggard since I drive around to three different schools with three different carpool processes across three different towns. Oh, and I’ll definitely be holding a hot caffeinated drink in my hand to get through it all.
2. Yes, I volunteer at your school. I can’t resist a SignUpGenius. If there’s a sign up sheet for tissues or anti-bacterial wipes, you’ll probably see my name. I love to help whenever I can. I also have the luxury of a flexible schedule so every once in a while I’ll volunteer in the cafeteria, or help out in the drama class, and I’ll chaperone field trips when the bio-parents aren’t available. I do the same for my bio-kids and I know very well how my stepdaughter would feel if I didn’t do it for her as well. I’m an equal-opportunity Mama in our house and that’s the way we function best as a blended family.
3. Yes, I will probably attend teacher-parent conferences. Not because I have any need to establish my role with you as a parental unit. I have no need to prove that I’m important in my stepdaughter’s life. (I am very secure in my role and very happy with the unique and special place I have in her life).
I attend simply because my husband prefers separate meeting times from bio-mom’s and he and my stepdaughter want me to. As a wife and co-authority in our household, I support my husband in lots of different ways when it comes to his child. He does the same for me. I’m usually the one that makes sure everyone’s teeth are brushed, that homework is done, that all lunches are packed, and that clothes are ironed. I’m also the one that ran out last night at 8:30pm to pick up the poster board she needed for class today because he had a late night at work. This stepmom is proudly invested in her stepdaughter’s success in school and in life.
4. Yes, I am happy to be “just” the Stepmom. Nope, stepmoms aren’t usually chomping at the bit to take over the bio-mom’s role. Especially if they’re already a mom to three of their own like I am. I love being a mom and I also love my (different) special role as Stepmom. I fell in love with her dad and CHOSE to love her. In fact, I’ve loved her for half of her life. That’s pretty special all on its own.
Stepmoms in general usually do a lot that is not required of their roles. Most of the time we receive no credit for the work we put into helping to raise our stepkids. We certainly never receive accolades the way my husband does for his role as stepdad. We’re used to it. That alone should let you know that we don’t do it for any other reason than love for our bonus kids and the desire to have a happy and successful blended family.
5. Yes, I know how to take a backseat. I know that my stepdaughter will always run to her mom first after a school performance or recital. She should. Don’t worry-I’ll be the one happily snapping pictures while she does. But I’ll also be thinking about the times I rehearsed with her, the care I put into helping her choose her outfit and how beautiful the braid I plaited looks on her. My heart will be bursting with love and adoration for this cheeky, dramatic girl I am helping to raise. I am just fine being in her Top Three.
Are you looking forward to back-to-school events? Let’s chat in the comments below!