By: Edward Almonte
Being a step father wasn’t something that I aspired to do. In my late teens and early twenties, my mother warned me to not get involved with someone who already had children, as it complicates every relationship. Taking into account the fact that this was coming from someone who already had a child herself by the time she met my father – I figured it was sound advice.
When I first met my fiancé, I was extra cautious because she already had a child (an eighteen month old) and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t just jump into their lives in a major way, if we didn’t have a chance at a long-term relationship. Seven years later, here I am with an eight and a half year old step-daughter, still going through the balancing act of trying to be as good a father as I can be to her, but also not taking away from the life she and her mother had before I moved in a few years back. I never wanted to be a person who came in and disrupted everything, but it wasn’t easy to figure my role out at times.
I mean, how can you come into the relationship and start giving parenting advice when you don’t have a child yourself? That doesn’t work unless you have a degree in child psychology or something along those lines.
There were times when I disagreed with the way things were being handled in the household, but had to remind myself that I was coming into their lives and disrupting what they did on a daily basis. Arguments occurred and I have been told – “You should leave and not come back because we were ok alone” – by a (then) 5 year old… But those moments were few and far between.
The good definitely outweighs the bad and you get used to not feeling as bad when they tell you off (I’ve been informed by other step-parents who are further down the road in this journey to not take it personal at all). The truth of the matter is that there is nothing like the first time I heard her call me “Dad”, or even when she runs to me at the door when I come home. You just can’t beat that.
Being a step-parent isn’t the easiest thing to do as my mother warned me, and it may not be for everyone, but as my father displayed towards her, I believe it’s a path worth taking for the family that you want.