They call me “MZ”
Never in a million years, did i ever think that i would be in a relationship that meant loving and embracing a child that was not my own, as my own. Not that i felt anything against the idea, its just something i never thought of or considered. But that is just how you see it. You have ideas and make plans and then Life happens.
Where did the term ‘step-children’ come from? Why is there a step?
For about four years, my ‘step’ children and I have been in each others lives. It seems like an easy enough relationship whereby i know my boundaries, in manner of not attempting to be their mother, rather a loving figure in their lives. It was a rather difficult relationship to define at first, because well i am not really ‘Auntie’, but yes ‘Dad’s Companion’ and also their sister’s mother.
Eventually they settled for an abbreviation, which i think is pretty cool, MZ they call , from “Mama Zuri.” Sort of like a superhero type? Or close? It feels like it.
And so on and on it goes – this journey of ours. We sometimes have growing pains. It cannot be easy to have someone around who they did not plan for. And this someone playing a role that they did not expect to see me play. But i am thankful and blessed in many ways. It is easy, when they are good kids. There is an occasional discomfort but we paddle through. Like any relationship, it has its ups and downs. But we work at it and it works out. I do not ask for much, other than respect for themselves and others and self discipline. I guess those are simple standards for children everywhere.
The notion of the evil step mother that is perpetrated in history never helps. So there is hesitation in getting close.
But I am confident that the less I think about it and the more love I give, we will get to where we are meant to be, which is in a space of comfort, ease, trust and love.
Do you have any step-children? How is your relationship with them? Any tips to share with the world?
This is an original post by Nancy Sumari from Tanzania. You can find more of her writing at Mama Zuri.
Photo credit to the author.
My husband and I have four boys – his, mine and ours. We have one child each with other partners and then the two younger ones we have together. They now range in age from 16 – 24 years of age.
This morning my son sent me a text message to say his girlfriend has begun having contractions – which have since stopped and started and stopped again – regardless the baby is coming (be it today, tomorrow or next week) and this has raised all sorts of emotion in me.
This new baby is not biologically my son’s yet he’s been with the baby’s mother for almost the entire pregnancy. The girlfriend treats my son’s little boy like her own and my son in turn has been there for her every step of her baby’s short life from the first movements, to birthing classes, to sticking by her side today as labour has stopped and started and stopped again.
Raising happy, healthy children is a massive undertaking. As is maintaining healthy, sound relationships with all of the involved parties when relationships break up and family dynamics change. Step families have a dynamic all of their own with all of the extra people involved; from different partners and new siblings, through to step parents and step siblings. Wrap this entire group up with lots of emotion, plenty of personality and opinion and you have a good idea of how challenging step families can be.
The early years of family life were challenging in my world – with my husband’s ex-partner, my ex-partner and then all of the grandparents and family members who didn’t suddenly stop loving the children or wanting to see them because their parents had split up.
Consider Christmas which is hard work at the best of times; it’s harder when you have to coordinate four immediate households, four children (plus their step / half siblings) and numerous aunties, uncles and grandparents. Christmas is exhausting to say the least.
You may wonder where I’m leading with this post…
I’m excited for my son and his girlfriend, but I’m also a little reserved because I’m not sure how I should act. Am I a proxy grandma, a step nanny – I’m not really sure where I fit into this picture. This baby already has two sets of grandparents and I don’t want to step on anyone else’s toes. Then I realise I’m probably being stupid about the whole thing and I don’t have to ‘fit’ anywhere. I realise no baby can have too much love or attention and that biology alone does not make a loving family member.
Regardless, I guess this newest member of the family, when he finally arrives (yes, they already know it’s another boy – why am I not surprised?), will no doubt enchant us and beguile us. He’ll add an extra element to Christmas Day and I will goo and gaa over him, hug him and cuddle him just as I do with my own biological grandson.
In the end – happy, healthy babies and loving families are all that matters – biology surely doesn’t count for as much as love and emotion does.
What’s your experience with step families? Do you have special ways of dealing with the ex-partners, extra siblings and family occasions?
This is an original World Moms Blog post by Fiona from Inspiration to Dream of Adelaide, South Australia.
Image credit courtesy of Vlado of Free Digital Photos