A Christmas gift from my stepson, Aidan, finally arrived in the mail today and it was well worth the wait! What makes this "stepmom" mug so special is not just because he thought of me for Christmas, but also because he supports my "Tough Love & Coffee" women empowerment podcast collaboration with my partner, Stasia Miller. He's even listened to a few episodes! W-h-a-a-a-t!? He's 16 and a junior in high school and our podcast addresses issues that impact women, especially middle-aged women!
So, if that's not love, I don't know what is!
Being a stepmother can have it's ups and downs especially when you've never been a mother before and when they're "not your children." You have to get used to a whole new lifestyle. Before I met my husband, I was living the life of a single woman who was always put first and where I was doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted and with whomever I wanted. But, once Matt introduced me to his two sons, Zach and Aidan, my life changed immediately and forever. Not only was I surrounded by boys, but even the two dogs are boys! That's a lot of testosterone!
But I hit the stepson lottery because I get along great with these kids. They've been raised to be loving, kind and compassionate and to respect me. Even at nine and seventeen years old, when I first met them, they've shown so much support in my transition to SoCal living in the 'burbs.
We may have had a few growing pains together, but we've also had a ton of laughs.
But one thing I've stressed in my relationship with them is that while I know I'm not their biological parent, I do care about their health and well-being and the men they're becoming. So, I would do anything and everything in my power to be a positive person in their lives. I've let them know they have a bonus adult in their lives to help them if need be. They can come to me for help with anything. If I can help, I will, and if I can't, I will tell them why. If they ever have a problem or situation where they think I could be of help, I can keep the conversation confidential. I will not share our talk if they ask me not to unless their safety or health and well-being were at risk. I aim to be fair and reasonable in every situation and don't take sides with their parents. Sometimes I agree with their mother and sometimes I agree with their father. I remain neutral as I have my own unique life experiences, opinions and wisdom and I always aim to lead by example.
And, that's why I am so happy and grateful for this gift - because it makes me feel like my efforts were noticed and that I must've done something right. I know I'm not perfect in my role as stepmother, but I give myself credit for having the courage to give it all I've got. And, I'm grateful that Aidan gives me credit, too.
While I'm so very grateful for this gesture in aloha this Christmas, I'm even more happy and grateful for the aloha from my West Coast ohana every day.
If you're a stepmom, I hope you have fostered a loving, kind and compassionate relationship with your stepchildren and, if not, I hope you find a way to be a positive example in their lives and start to live, love and lead with aloha today.
Live, Love and Lead with Aloha!