It’s a natural impulse to love and want to be loved back in return. Being a step mum, I have had to adjust my expectations and redefine the term love!
When I became a step-mum I thought to myself, how hard can it be? Once the children realized that I loved and accepted them, they would accept me in return and we would live happily ever after.This was far from the reality that I found on the ground. I would go out of my way to please them, show them that I truly care about them and that I have their best interests at heart. But I still faced rejection and would sometimes come to the realization that my step kids might not be as in love with me as I am with them. They just might or might never accept me no matter what I do.
When I said yes to my husband, I also said yes to my step kids. I have learnt to love them, their flaws, their difficulties and their past mistakes, because I accept and love them just as they are.Through the years, even when the children don’t appreciate the sacrifices I have had to make, by virtue of being children and having a different perspective of things, I have learnt to forgive, over and over again. I learnt not to take things personally or to heart, but to let go and move on.
Give yourself permission to not be completely accepted by them. Their acceptance of you is often more about wanting to remain in contact with their biological parents than it is an acceptance or rejection of you personally. This realization will help you to de-personalize their actions.
You have to remember that divorce is a life-altering moment for most children, and there will be issues of insecurity and fear that arise. At the end of the day they are just children who are trying to find their way through an awkward situation they never asked for.
I wear my heart on my sleeves and always try to be authentic and consistent with the kids. I do my best and hope that my best is enough. It was not easy to get here. I had to go for counselLing and this helped me realize that what I was experiencing is nothing out of the norm. She told me that unless I reduce my expectations, I will always feel hurt by my step kids and in return I will end up blaming them for my pain.
Over the last 9 years, my stepchildren have made me realize what true love is by loving without expecting anything back. A love that is not complicated by my own self-interest, a love that is pure and undemanding. This has filled me with so much happiness and peace … I would never exchange it for anything!!!