Where was I?
The "step" children. I don't consider them step-children mainly because I don't see the point in it. If I hadn't intended to love them as if they belonged to me I'd not have married my husband in the first place. I married them when I married him. Unfortunate for them, but nice for me, is the fact that their "real" mother is in another state and rarely ever contacts them. So, I'm it. And they've been so awesome to allow me to be "it" for them. I recognize that I can never replace her, but I can do all that I can to "mother" them as much as they will allow me. And they've allowed me pretty much free reign in that area. I've never felt uncomfortable loving them physically or disciplining them.
In fact, I have, what is to me, a touching example of the way they've willingly accepted me as their mom. I'll preface this story by saying that if I hadn't felt completely comfortable in this role I'd never have done what I did in this situation.
When we married the youngest of the two was 6. My youngest was 5. They've always been quite a pair when it comes to getting into mischief. It's one of those, what one doesn't think of the other will scenarios. Their personalities and temperaments are exactly opposite but they truly complement one another. It's pretty cool. I was, in those formative years, a "spare the rod and spoil the child" advocate. Which means, I spanked, and particularly if their safety or someone else's was involved. They are all much too old to spank now.
The offense on this occasion was crossing the busy street in front of our house instead of staying in the boundary of the side street. This was a big problem when we first married and a rule they kept pushing. Finally, I'd had it with catching them going across that street and I steeled myself to do what I knew had to be done. I'd never spanked my youngest step-son before but I felt it necessary to enforce my point and I couldn't spank one and not the other.
So I put on my stern face and posture and called them in from outside. I told them I was done with them disobeying the crossing the street rule and they needed to each go in my room and lean over the bed. They knew what this meant and the wailing ensued. I was not detered. I followed them into the room and they leaned over the bed while I went to the closet to get the belt. I gave my own son the first 2 swats. He cried in an escalated manner and left the room. Then, my new little son did something so sweet. He stopped wailing just long enough to turn around and give me the sweetest look, eye to eye. That look said it all. I heard loud and clear from him, "thank you for loving me and being a mom and spanking me when I need it." It was as if he felt honored to be spanked. I gave him the two swats, he cried, then hugged me before leaving the room. Later, they both apologized and promised not to do it anymore. Which I don't think they did. At least not that I was aware of!
My sons have all told me since that my spankings never did hurt that much. I don't know if they're just being "tough" now or what.
But that's how it's been from the start with my "step" sons. They've made it easy for me.
I guess what it all boils down to with blended families is the same thing with any family. It's about relationships. We can't use pre-conceived notions about what it's supposed to look like to guide what we do. We just have to take each child and each situation one at a time and do what needs to be done to get through it. It's challenging most of the time. It might be blending, but it's like blending a milkshake that's full of chocolate chunks and nuts, it's not ever going to be completely smooth. At least not at our house.