New stepmom Joelyn (Jody) brings us her story and shares with you her perspective on the gifts of stepmotherhood. Some of us are further along on the journey and some of us are just beginning. Regardless of where you are on the path you will be moved by her words. I think all of us can relate that stepmotherhood brings with it surprises. Joelyn has a beautiful perspective of her life changes.
Surprises For A New Stepmom- Joelyn
Here I am, the month of May, the month of the mother – boy has my life changed recently. Looking back it isn’t really so recently, June 1st it will be a year that my life began a plethora of change. Some good, some bad but all a learning experience and although I say I would love for things to have been different, in reality I look back and realize that I appreciate more of what I have right now because of the past experiences.
I am a mom to a fourteen year old girl and anyone who has a teenager knows what a challenge this can be. On top of that, I am on disability due to a neurological disorder. In August of 2011 I was able to finally move out on my own and not have to worry about anyone taking care of me and my daughter was able to start living her life to the fullest as a teenager and I was enjoying every moment of it.
Over the course of time a friend I had known since I was 14 years old began communicating with me again. We shared our troubles, our joys and of course what was going on with our kids and families. We both were in need of a friend who would listen and not judge and after knowing each other for 20+ years, it seemed to be the right fit. It also helped we were hours away from each other and just had messaging to communicate.
When reality hit that his life at home was not going so well and there were problems regarding his girls we worked to create a contingency plan should he have to leave. Needless to say the contingency plan has happened and our lives have changed drastically.
I am learning to co-parent a three and seven year old, who are majorly different than fourteen year olds, I am reverting back to laying out clothes, putting clothes away, making breakfast, packing lunches, doing homework, reading stories, drying tears, giving baths, going on field trips and picking up crayons and Barbie dolls.
This is so challenging for me, especially considering the pain I am in some days, the confusing and frustration of moving to a new city, along with what happens on a day to day basis due to the shared parenting of both his girls and mine.
I have learned to love the hugs of little ones, the ability to teach them new things like cooking and baking, the shouts from parts of the house because something is not right, the running up and down the stairs and of course the little voices when they say thank you or that they love you.
I find it funny when they are learning to read, write and spell – all things I have taken for granted with having a fourteen year old child. It is so cool seeing them draw and then share with me what it is they drew. The sound of them asking to help in the kitchen or the yard is like music to my ears and it is great when you see all three of the girls asleep in the back of the car after a fun day as a family and you realize that you are so blessed and grateful for what God has given you, even though sometimes it feels like more than you can handle on a day-to-day basis.
Being a step-parent or co-parent is amazing. I never imagined my life with little ones in it again. I am so happy that they are though, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I went from a two bedroom apartment to a four bedroom house, increased from two cats to four, and added a bathroom, bigger kitchen, yard, garage and responsibilities. It all sounds like a lot, but when I can tuck all three girls in at night and each one has their own special way they like it done and I sit down to do homework, write or work on my business I stop, listen to the silence and smile – the hugs and kisses I received just a little bit ago are all I need to sleep well and make it into the next day.