My husband has a sense of humor…sometimes. Most of his jokes are funny and then some…well, cross the line.
For instance, shortly after being married, Matt would teasingly say to his kids “should we keep her? Should we keep your new mom?” referring to me.
Haha, very funny. Eye roll… He is the best at “dad jokes”!
Then, he would joke and ask his kids “who is your favorite Dad?”. They would giggle and say “You are my only dad so you are my favorite!”. My kids remained quiet and I was uncomfortable. I was praying he wouldn’t ask “Who is your favorite mom?” I mean that would just be awful. And to clarify, he didn’t and would never ask my kids, but they were there.
Well, my young daughter whispered to me “mom, I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to be mean”. Matt is her step dad and it left her a little confused.
Now, this joke about favorites in any other family is fine, but not in ours. My children father is deceased and Matt’s children’s mother is deceased so….
To make sure this joke came to a stop I had to quickly announce “we aren’t playing this game anymore. No more jokes about favorites. We don’t have favorites.” And that was that.
It’s been quite some time since that happened but lately I’ve been reflecting on how I felt when Matt asked that question and what my feelings were. The tiny bit of anger and rage that I had at the thought of my child saying who was her favorite.
Why? What triggered these feelings? Why would I get angry about this little joke?
Well, I was afraid of her answer. Would she forget about Cameron, her birth father, and say that Matt was her favorite or she liked him more? No, no, no, she can’t say that!! If she did, would that mean she didn’t love Cameron anymore? I strangely became protective of Cameron and his memory. It was almost as if I had to stand in the way and make sure my child did not tell her stepdad that HE was her favorite.
This made me wonder about all of the blended families out there with ex-husbands and ex-wives in the mix and how they must feel.
I’m not sure I would handle sending my child to another woman’s house well. What if my daughter liked her more?!! What if my sons liked her food better than mine? Nooooo, that can’t happen, it’s not allowed! I’m not comfortable with my children sharing their love with another woman. They might end up loving her more and she would become the favorite!
Right? This could happen, right?
I’m no expert, but I have a feeling I’m wrong.
Now, playing favorites is never a good idea. BUT the goal of step-parenting is to at least have a warm relationship between the adult and the child. If there is love there, even better!!
Instead of being fearful that my children might love this new man in their life (a lot), I should be embracing this relationship and encouraging it to flourish.
We all should be doing this!
I personally discovered through remarriage that I was capable of loving another husband so I know my children have the ability to love another parent just as much.
As step parents we need to be willing to allow our children this opportunity and not let our jealous feelings intervene.
I’ve heard of parents not allowing their child to call their new step parent “mom/dad” or “bonus mom/dad”, etc. This breaks my heart especially if they really want to call them by that name.
Wouldn’t it be great for children in blended families to have multiple sets of mom’s and dad’s? How lucky for them!
There was a time when my youngest stepson, Quinton (who was 3 at the time), was outside playing with our neighbors and excitingly told them “guess what guys, I have TWO moms! Amy-mom is in heaven and Lisa-mom is here!”.
How wonderful that he feels able to express the label of “mom” to more than one woman and knows that we both love him. How beautiful also that Matt allows me to love him, mother him, and doesn’t stand in the way out of fear that Quinton might love me more than Amy. Both moms love him, there is not a favorite.
How wonderful it would be for each child in a blended family to have the opportunity to embrace their stepparent freely. To not have to feel like they have to choose but to be able to say they love all of their parents. And for us biological parents to surrender our feelings and encourage this process.
Have you ever directly/indirectly stopped your child from getting too close to their step parent? Or have you, as a step child, felt like you couldn’t like or love your stepparent out of wanting to protect your birth parent?