Stepmonsters The Book: A Review and A Ramble

Just the title of the book conjures up all kinds of evil thoughts doesn't it? But, if you are a step-parent, this is the most reassuring book you will ever lay your hands on. 

First off, let me say how guilty I felt when I started reading this book. Why would I, Karen, want to read a book called Stepmonsters? Well, because I feel like I've failed at this stepmom gig. We've been through a lot of ups and downs with our blended family. And I want to be a better person. I'm tired of feeling angst and helplessness in the stepmother realm.  And this is one realm you'll not understand until you walk in the stepmother shoes. 

Finally, I've found a book that doesn't tell me to "just shut up and accept it" "the problems are coming from my insecurities" "how I can change to make the family better". Well, Stepmonsters validates that I am not the problem. Nor is it my problem to solve. 

I've learned, halfway through this book, that I am NOT ALONE. I cannot tell you the weight that has lifted off of my shoulders. I've learned that from the beginning of time, step moms have been titled "evil", through fairy tales and movies and books. And this idea of the evil stepmom is so entrenched in our brains, that it is something that is just accepted and even expected. We are dealt a losing hand before we even enter a second marriage, doomed by fiction and non fiction tales of stepmother evilness. 

I've been remarried to a man with two children for 13 years. I thought my "active" role of step parenting aka being the "wicked stepmother" was over, and that now that the kids had grown and flown, I could finally develop relationships with his kids, relationships that don't involve parenting at all. It was such a good feeling to know that I could finally relax and just enjoy my husband and our marriage, without my kids or his kids being "in the middle".

And then I found out that one of his kids is coming back to the nest to roost.

Insert emotional tornado here. I've been struggling. (intensley which is why I've been quiet)

I love my husband so very much. And I want to be the best wife and the best person I can be. So I started searching, really searching, "Adult Stepson Moving Home". Because I didn't want to go back to that place I had been before he moved out. That place? Being the interloper. Being the intruder. Living in the house that belongs to his dad and him. (Even though his dad and I bought the house together 10 years ago). Being the guest in my own home. I thought those days were over. But they aren't when one is coming back to the nest. Or are they?

I put my foot down and said no. 21 years old is too old to move back in. He's a MAN now for crying out loud. But I didn't really have a leg to stand on that foot. This is his child, and although he's an adult, he is my hubby's child. So we compromised. Three months, living by house rules aka: no weapons in the house, no having friends over after we go to bed at night, no coming and going whenever, no treating our home as a flop house. No water bottles everywhere, no dishes left for me to clean up, yeah... all unrealistic expectations because of my experience in the step kid living at home camp. I'm not the maid, nor the dishwasher, or a short order cook. But I love my home and realistically, if he leaves a mess, I'll probably clean it up because I don't want my house a shambles. 3 months is a wink of an eye, and it will be here and gone before I know it. 

I'm also not bending over backwards to make people like me anymore. I'm too old for that nonsense. Not just my step kids, but anyone I encounter in life. I've given that up. All people are just not going to like me. There's nothing I can do about it. Coming into my marriage 14 years ago, my goal was to be "just another adult in my step kids lives to love them". Now my goal is "just be my husbands wife". I'm not the mother, I'm not a monster. I am their father's wife, and I am content in that role.

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