One of the challenges I have faced in being a stepmom is to try and not allow favouritism to creep into my heart and my relationships with the children – especially when I had my own child. Sadly though I don’t think I have succeeded completely with this.
It’s hard to explain. I don’t love my own son “more” than I love the other two boys. I love them all three very VERY much and I truly do consider them to be my children. I would move heaven and earth for them and if the whole world turns against them I will still be there for them. I will never turn them away or shun them – no matter what. I love each boy differently to the other one.
I guess where some people (including myself) would see a “problem” would be in our relationships. (Bear in mind he was already 5 when I married his father) My oldest (step)son has slowly and progressively shut me out. He barely speaks to me and very often will just ignore me if I talk to him. He avoids looking at me and only really talks to me when he wants or needs something. And as a result I have ended up talking less to him too. I have been trying for years to get through the wall he has put up between him and I but he just will not let me in. And I can only hope and pray that one day when he “grows up” – he is 16 already – he will see that I do love him, but it would be so much easier to like him if he would not be so closed to any kind of attempt I make to reach out to him. And so as a result our relationship is less than wonderful. It is strained at times and rather volatile at other times. I still treat him pleasantly, I greet him and when he does look at me I smile at him – it’s never returned. I drive him to soccer and to his friends if he needs me to. I try at times t make conversation with him – usually not successfully, but I will keep trying. That’s why when I read my dear friend Dawn's post titled Fixed I felt like there may very well be hope for him and I one day. I know that the way I behaved when he was very small may have something to do with this, I have told him in words and in a letter that I am so sorry for that and I have decided to win him over with love. Love will prevail here in the end. And forgiveness. I see the wonderful qualities in this young man. He is a wonderful role model to his brothers when it comes to his school work and sport and how he is determined to do well so that he can get somewhere in life. How he studies for exams and does well in his soccer too. His brothers look up to him and want to be like him. And that’s great because he is not interested in alcohol or cigarettes or anything like that. He wants to keep fit and healthy, and both his younger brothers hang on every word and action that comes from Mark. They admire him and he is a good big brother. And I tell him this too.
What does this have to do with favouritism? Well, my relationship with my second oldest (step)son (who I have known since he was 5 months old and he was 18 months when I married his father) is so different. He is open to cuddles and hugs and jokes. He treats me with respect and love and we can chat freely with each other and have other deeper conversations too. My oldest has always said it is favouritism – he sees it that way, but Sean allows me in. He hasn’t put up a wall between us and I can still reach him. He is sweet and playful and funny. It’s hard to not get along better with him than I do with Mark, he is so open to it. I don’t see it as favouritism, I know in my heart it’s not that. I see it as resentment in Marks heart for me. Am I wrong? Sean lets me in.
You see, what I feel in my heart and what Mark believes I feel is very different. I love all three of my boys, but I love each one differently because they are such unique and different people.
I love Mark for his sense of humour, his dedication, his way with his younger brothers and just because I see him as my son. I love him, he has grown up into a very strong and determined young man. I will not stop believing in my heart that he and I will one day also come to a place where we can talk and share and be friends.
Sean I love for his naughtiness, his prankster nature, his easy going nature. I love how he is becoming a young man too. He is often misunderstood by his father and his youngest brother and being the middle child I try very hard not to “forget” about him. I love hoe he will talk to me when something is bugging him – even if it is after a bit of coaxing, he opens up. I love him for his charm and the way he loves just being a kid.
Yes I love my son differently to the way I love my step sons, but I don’t love them less or him more…
I have the same dreams and desires for them as I have for Donovan, I want to see them all grow up and be happy and settled and have prosperous lives and careers and marry women who will love them and make them happy and also in turn know what it is to have children of their own. I pray for their wives and their futures now already and I pray for them too.
I love them the same, but different…
If there are any other Step Parents out there reading this – I hope it makes sense…