@luvmesumhim: I’m a stepmother to two boys who are going to be 13 and 16 in March. I’ve known them since 2005 and began dating their father, my husband, in 2007.
I highly recommend a book called The Smart Stepmom. It is a great reference on making that transition smoothly and effectively for all parties involved, deeply going into the child’s perspective, your husband’s perspective, and that of their biological mother. It also takes into account your needs which are all too often dismissed. It gives a realistic look at what you are exactly up against, and a way to manage through it all even in the best of circumstances.
Here is the link to the Amazon website for the book:
I disagree with PPs that say don’t be a parent as the kids already have two parents and so on. Certainly, they have two parents already, but you will be a stepparent; the word “parent” is part of the word stepparent for a reason. This is not to say you would replace a parent, but you will, in the far future, have a parental role of responsibility toward them that goes beyond friendship. It is a role that is an extension of your husband in the household. It is linked, it is an adult voice of reason to follow.
Yes, start as a friend, but eventually you may very well be involved, by association and whether prompted by your husband or the children themselves, in decisions that concern their medical needs, education, finances, social life, discipline, relationships, and on and on. It is important to acknowledge early that your future parental role exists so that you can plan for how you feel about those matters and how you can best support the family as a whole.
I, too, have it pretty good compared to others. The boys love me and I love them. We have a solid family unit among us. Things are healthy all around. Still, there are problems and situations and feelings I never thought would come up or bother me but nevertheless they are there. I’ve had to find a way to cope, to keep myself in check, and give myself a break.
Here’s a reality check: You’re going to overstep. No matter how careful you are, something will pop up and surprise you and everyone. It is bound to happen, comes with the territory, and it is a very, very difficult dance. You’ll kick yourself, or someone will point it out to you and it will be hard to take. But you’ll find your way to navigate. Be patient with yourself. Join a support group for blended families or just stepmoms, online in a forum like this, or in your community.
Big hugs and best of everything to you.