That Fight

Since I don’t have any kids, I wasn’t sure what to make of Boo and Radley when Kiefer and I first started dating.

To be safe, I followed the no-touching rule because I envisioned Kiefer and I holding hands, and one of them screaming, “DON’T TOUCH DADDY!”

But that never happened. This is what happened:

  • Boo asked me to throw the ball with him.
  • Radley showed me his Pokemon cards.
  • Boo and I made cookies.
  • Radley crawled into my lap during movies.
  • Boo squeezed my hand while Kiefer dislodged a seashell splinter from his foot.
  • Radley napped with me on Christmas Day.

With Kiefer and I looking at houses, I’m still worried. Because now I’m envisioning this happening:

Me: Boo, please don’t throw the ball in the house.
Boo: You’re not my mother!

And my divorced/remarried friends warned me that’s gonna happen. “You’re going to have THAT FIGHT,” they said.

Not a fight about throwing a ball in the house. A fight about me not being their mother.

Has anyone had that fight?

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I'm about to have my first child...who I promised to Rumpelstiltskin. Shhhhhh.... Hopefully he won't find out. View all posts by thoughtsappear

31 responses to “That Fight

  • ryoko861

    Ah, the challenges of raising kids….even though they’re not your own, you’re sort of in that position. Advice? TALK to them, don’t scold or yell. There will be challenges. You have the patience of a saint thoughtsy. Don’t think about it too much. Have Pop-Tarts, will travel….far in life!

  • Bonnie

    A valid concern – kids are sure to throw a test at us once in a while to keep us on our toes. Keifer will just have to support you if/when that time comes, that’s the most important thing. :)

  • mistyslaws

    They obviously love you. But yeah, there will always be a moment when kids will try to test you, and that is an obvious one to use. Especially when they become teenagers. You just have to make sure that when they are in YOUR home, they see you and Keifer as a united front, and that Keifer backs you up (much as Bonnie said above). There will be certain rules they must follow, regardless of parentage. Other issues, you will most likely have to have Keifer and their mom deal with and stay out of it since you aren’t technically their mom. You will handle it. I have faith in you. They seem like good, well raised and intelligent boys. And they know you love them, too. That makes a difference.

  • Smedette

    Ugh. I don’t envy you. My parents split the year I left for college and neither of them started seriously dating or remarried until my younger siblings were teens, so I don’t think they had to deal too much with this.

    Good luck. I agree with one of the other commenters – talk to them. Maybe sit down and have a family discussion rather than wait for something to happen and you end up yelling at each other.

  • Crazy Tragic Almost Magic

    No kids, so no fight. But yea, it probably will come up at some point and it will hurt. But just remember that whatever made them say that, it’s because you’re doing your job, a good job, at raising someone’s kid.

  • Hippie Cahier

    Is this why you toss babies at ceiling fans? A warning shot?

    • Hippie Cahier

      I once had a parent/teacher conference for two students who were step-siblings, with their combined parents, step-parents, and I think even some grandparents.

      There was a village in my classroom. I had a tough time knowing who was who, but it didn’t matter: they were all there. We all cared about both kids.

      It can be done well and I’m sure you can and will.

  • erica

    I worry about this all the time. When I worry, I go to the internet. I found this essay which made me feel not at all better, so now I’m going to share it with you, because that’s how kind I am.

    http://my.en.com/~mcq/stepmother.html

    In all truth, though, I really am finding your blog helpful, if not for anything else but to help me realize that I’m not alone in my situation.

  • suzicate

    Sorry, I have no advice on this one, but I’m sure there are many people who will be able to tell you how to handle it as they’ve been through it.

  • Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

    Whether the kids are “yours” or not, everyone has to learn to coexist- especially if you’re under the same roof. I wrote 10 rules for the neighborhood kiddies to follow- you might find them helpful:

    http://sugardishme.com/2012/04/12/it-aint-easy-bein-green-or-mean/

    It’s waaay harder to share space with grown-ups than with kids!
    Keifer backing you up will be key–even when you’re being ridiculous! Like when Chad tells the boys that they are grounded from the Xbox for life because of a minor infraction (ridiculous), I just smile and nod in agreement. We work out the details behind closed doors when they are happily distracted and then I let Chad lift his imposing lifetime Xbox ban. :)

  • lindamedrano

    My kids called my ex-husband’s wife “Mom” too. They adored her. They still do even though my ex has been dead since 1986. If the kids live with you and Keifer, I assume they may cal you Mom. In any case, kids do test and by the time they reach teenage, they generally are horrid monsters no matter what your relationship was like when they were kids. It will be fine. Send them to military school and let them come back home when they are 20 or so.

  • howyoumadethemfeel

    I can’t even imagine being in the position you’re in — I count my lucky stars that I’ve found and fallen in love with a single, never married, no children, good man. So I can’t be help from the point.

    However the point I can give you… might be helpful. My parents got divorced when I was 4 months old and have been friends– however throughout my entire life they’ve had a significant other in their life. And from the kid’s point of view I can tell you that yes, their going to say “You’re not my mom” at some point. Probably when they’re teenagers. Just put yourself in their shoes. It’s a really difficult position to be in as well however you’re an adult and capable of handling it, them… not so much.

    “That Fight” will happen however you guys will make it through the fight and be okay. It’ll even bring you closer. They’ll look up to you and respect you as long as you’re worthy of their respect.

    Just make it clear that while they’re in your care, they follow your rules however you understand you’re not their mother and are never going to try to take their mother’s place. But you love them in a way that only a step-mom can love a child. You’ll have a special bond with them as well.

  • Kitten Thunder's Girl

    Even if they were your kids they would inevitably try the “you’re not my mother!” argument. Kids are that way.

  • marinasleeps

    No matter who you are …. you an adult and they need to respect that.
    I have a step son… and those problems have existed and are still there.
    My problem is very different from yours I can tell.
    Boo and Radley seem to like you.
    And as long as you and Keiffer work together ,… you can do it

  • Kimberly Pugliano (@GisSilent)

    Nope. Since day 1 Noah has been in love with Hot Joe. Granted, biodad saw him like 4 times after the divorce and then suddenly became very busy.

  • crazedmama

    Hey there! As I am a married woman with kids of my own, I really cant relate to your question, but I think its a battle either way. Any time there are kids around, there will be a fight where the child says hurtful things like “You aren’t my mother!” or “I hate you!” or “I wish you weren’t my mother!” and I guess the best thing to do is try to prepare yourself for this the best you can. Maybe an “I’m sorry you feel this way, but I still love you” will have to be said. Either way, I think you are doing great so far from what I’ve read!! Keep it up and you never know what the future will hold!

  • Choc Chip Uru

    Sometimes kids can get a little but testy, it’s hard for them to ignore such intense feelings and they can vent it out as frustration. K is supportive and I’m sure it will all come through.
    They know you love them.

    Choc Chip Uru

  • gojulesgo

    Sweet! I got quoted!

    Sadly, I can’t give you any advice here, since I don’t have kids and neither does Peppermeister (THAT I KNOW ABOUT…), but it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job and that they love you lots. I’m sure when that fight comes you will handle it well! :)

  • Victoria-writes

    I don’t have any personal experience. Make sure you have lots of pop tarts to bribe them? No seriously, you’ll be fine!

  • Queen Gen

    The other day at a party for a friend’s kid, I told one of the boys to stop digging up the grass.

    He challenged me: “you’re not my mother! This is my house!”

    I almost laughed out loud because who said I wanted to be his mother? But instead I kept a straight face (barely) and told him “it doesn’t matter that I’m not your mother! You still shouldn’t dig up the grass”

    I was kind of terrified that he’d ignore me, but the moment he realised I wasn’t going to back down, he stopped digging up the grass. A few minutes later, he and I were playing with his toys and laughing like nothing happened.

  • Brittany

    Fortunately this has never happened to me. Kids are not my favorite, so I could see myself turning into a child younger than the one I would be fighting with and have a whine fest.

  • Jennifer Fabulous

    I’ve never had to deal with this issue, on either end. But, my mom’s best friend dealt with it on a strange level: with ADULT children! Her friend was seriously dating a man who had two grown daughters (both in their 40s). These women, who were married with children, would always whine and complain to their dad “why do you have to spend so much time with her?” and “you love her more than you love us”. It was astounding. Finally, the guy told my mom’s friend, “I’m sorry, my daughters just aren’t ready for me to be dating yet.” Ummm he had divorced his wife five years before!! Yeah.

    Good luck with the kids. Hopefully you won’t face a lot of negativity. Better start with them young rather than teenagers, right? :)

  • Lorraine

    “You’re not my mother!”

    And then you give him chocolate.

    Honestly, though, like with everything in life there will be a learning curve. You learning them and them learning you. Besides, the most important thing you can do is realize that it isn’t personal. Kids test authority. Their teacher isn’t their mother. Other kids aren’t the boss of them. Even their mother and father get tested with “that’s so unfairs” and “why” etc, etc. If one or the other ever says that to you, you’d do good to remind yourself that they aren’t really saying they don’t want you to tell them what to do, they just don’t want to be told what to do.

    Which, sucks for them, because they are still children and you are an adult.

    You’ll do fine though, especially if you keep lots of chocolate around. I’m kidding. Or am I?

  • itsthecookiemonster

    i don’t have any kids either (since i’m only 19 and all) but with your sense of humor, im sure you’re great with kids :)

  • lauriejlong

    I have been meaning to comment for the longest time, but haven’t had a chance to sit down and do it. (I can’t fathom doing it on my phone, ‘cuz my phone intentionally miscommunicates for me.) Here’s what I can offer:

    I haven’t been on the receiving end of “You aren’t my mom– in my case, ‘mum’!” The reason I have never been able to hear these words is that my husband’s loony ex will not allow me to talk to my step-daughters and I haven’t spoken to them in 6 years. I have been on the end of the mother who has heard her sons scream this to their step-dad (my husband) and the mother who knows they also scream it to their step-mom (my ex’s wife). I can give advice from those points of view.

    First, I always tell my children that they are under our roof and will do as they are told. I explain that I back up everything their step-dad says, and they are to be respectful and obedient.

    Second, as much as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it when my kids tell their step-mom this (because I hate her and she is the second biggest bitch I have ever met– excluding myself), I always tell them the same thing. They need to be respectful and obedient. If they have a severe problem with her– which they often do– they need to take it up with their father. If the problem persists and he will not help, they need to get me involved.

    I hope your boyfriend backs you up when you need to give orders. If it doesn’t work like that, explain to him what your issues are and have him address them with your little mockingbirds. As the step-girlfriend, your biggest job is to make those kids love you and feel loved by you. Sometimes you need to let daddy be the mean one. (Bonus: In that case, you get to be the comforter.) Good luck! :)

    • lauriejlong

      Oh, and P.S. It always helps to speak to them like little adults, and tell them that you are treating them like little adults because you respect them and they are smart. Then work out the issues on an adult-to-‘adult’ level.

  • leashieloo

    I haven’t personally, but my sister totally did this to my former stepmother. It was ugly. But then again, we never got along with her. It sounds like you are in a better place than we were.

  • monicastangledweb

    When you expect nothing, isn’t it lovely when you get pleasant responses? From the sounds of it, you have nothing to worry about. They like you. They really like you! Besides, you can always entice them with some warm, toasted Pop Tarts.

  • cooper

    The correct response would be “and you’re not my kid so I can’t go to jail for locking you in the basement for the next ten years.”
    ….or something to that effect.

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