Being a step-mom is not for sissies!

Two of my three stepkids have their birthdays in February, so it's a memorable month for me.

(Stepkids, you say! How can you have stepkids! You're not even married?)

I have three of them by my former husband, who is also my daughter's dad. He passed away in 2001. I still consider them my kids, even though they are much older now and have grown kids of their own!

Being a stepmom was ... well, a mixed bag of emotions. I was a stepmom back in the 70s and 80s, when there wasn't a lot of information readily available to anyone, like it is now. For me, it was a matter of doing the best I could with the know-how and experience that I had.

Which wasn't much.

I was married young and had a ready-made family. They were very small at the time. Of course, I was in love. I thought that would fix anything. Besides, I thought, we will only have the kids on a few weekends! Right?

Wrong!

It went that way for a while, but it wasn't long before we started having all three of them more often. Then one came to live with us. Then two. Then all three.

I loved their dad, so loving them couldn't be all THAT hard, right?

So much depends on both parties and how much each of you are willing to give and compromise. As the adult, I felt that most of it was up to me to make things work.

Well, between the back and forth arguments, ("You're not my mom!") the hurt feelings, the manipulations, and the many rewards, the kids and I managed to survive the years we had together.

And now - now that they are all grown up and in their 40s - I love them even more and am proud to be called their "mom".

There are a few things that step-moms these days say would help to make their job easier:

Can I get some help from their "real" mom?

I'm going to make mistakes!

Let's keep the lines of communication open!

Hey, DAD, how can we work together for these kids?

Tell me about your school work (sports, friends, etc)!

Keep an open mind.

Be the best person you can be!

Step-parenting can either bring a satisfying and wonderful addition to your family, or a thorn in your side! In my case, it was both!

Jeanne Archambeault

Mancos Times editor