Ahh the title of Stepfather. A time-honored title and source of pride and sadness for children around the world.
I’m a Stepdad. I think about being one all the time. My wife has 2 daughters from a previous relationship (to a complete bag of douche, I might add) and they’re great, adorable, annoying, exasperating, cute, funny, garrulous, little headaches sometimes, but always good kids. They have a knack for making me laugh at times, and also a knack for annoying the bejeesus out of me.
Stepdads. They make bad movies about us. I mean for christ sake, I can think of at least 3 movies where the stepdad is the evil one who beats up women and terrorizes kids. Think about the title of Stepdad, and think back to how many times you heard kids talk about their step-parents in unfavorable terms in school. Hey, I get it. It’s hard to have one dad your whole life, have your folks split up, and a new guy taking your old dad’s place in your home and in your mom’s bed. I get it. It’s a tough adjustment for everyone. Now you have a new guy in the house who eats different, maybe snores or farts in his sleep (my wife’ll attest to that one), maybe has a commanding voice and doesn’t tolerate some of the things the kids used to do before he came. It’s a tough racket man.
It’s also an adjustment for the step dad too. He’s coming into a new house with a woman he loves and her two children. If it’s a case like mine, those two children are from her ex-boyfriend who did all sorts of horrible things to her when they were together. It’s not the kids’ fault their father is a waste of air and space, but it is pretty hard sometimes to be fair and fatherly to them when they display some of the same character traits their dad has.
The oldest is almost exactly like him in some ways. She’s moody, bitchy and mean to her sister (although she’s gotten better in the past year, and really – what older sibling ISN’T crappy to the younger one?) and doesn’t have much of a sense of humor sometimes. She’s unlike him in that she’ll laugh at some things she finds funny, and has a tender heart for a girl her age. She’s also very dedicated when she wants something. She’s got a good analytic mind when she applies it – which is a LOT more these past couple years. She’s having a tough time sometimes, because she remembers what the relationship was like between her mom and her dad when they all lived together, and it has affected her. She really does try to curb some of the negative aspects of who she is, and I know it’s not always fair to be upset with her because of how she’s acting, but I can’t help it sometimes. I’m human too.
The younger of the two is nothing like her dad. She reminds me so much of her mother it’s uncanny. It’s hard NOT to like her, because she’s so damn helpful and giving. She loves to help around the house, and really goes the extra mile to do things for her older sister – despite my warnings that her older sister won’t return those favors – but that’s another thing that makes her Her. Plus, she LOVES Phish. She knows the words to “46 Days” and “Backwards Down The Number Line.” If that ain’t cool… I dunno what is. She doesn’t remember anything from when her dad was in the picture, so she hasn’t been impacted by his antics as much as her sister has.
I don’t have an answer for all of this. I’m writing it all because I want to see it all in print, to read it, and maybe come back later and figure out a solution. I love those girls. I truly do. I went toe-to-toe with their deadbeat loser of a father and told him (nose to nose) to “stay away from my daughters”, and honestly, I felt a lot closer to them because of that. I felt protective. Really protective, like I would’ve felt if I had been talking about my son to some psycho. It definitely brought me closer to both girls.
Being a Stepdad isn’t a bad thing for me. It’s just a tough thing. I don’t know if I’ll ever get all-the-way used to it or not. Regardless… I do the best job I can, and try to keep the negative shit to a minimum. They’re great girls, and they teach me things every day. I just hope I can do a good enough job.