Friday, April 15, 2011

Mother vs. Monster

Today’s topic is parenting. Parents, especially mothers, are all different and have a different way of raising their children.

I grew up with a mother who wanted to know every single detail of my life. There were no secrets between us. She was nosy and pesky, and would walking into my room at sunrise and wake me up for a chat. I hated those chats. They were always about the same thing. All the dangers in the world and the reminder that every action has a reaction and that there’s a consequence for everything you do.

Now all her lessons are coming in very handy, as I’m crossing that threshold into parenthood. Although the child isn’t mine, and I wasn’t there to change her diapers or hear her first word, I still have the responsibility of parenting my preteen stepdaughter.

At first, I was the silent observer to my husband and his ex-wife’s parenting. But watching them mess up their own kid, it made me appreciate all of my mother’s talks and speeches.

My husband insisted he had his parenting down and I should stay out of it. All the step parenting books I’ve read advised the same thing. But how could I when my husband believed the perfect father is a man who showers his child with gifts and attention yet doesn’t teach her any of life’s lessons. That would be okay if the mother knew how to be a parent but his ex-wife believes being a mother is someone who pushes the kid onto anyone who will take her. The mother is more concerned with getting more booze into her system then anything.

My stepdaughter didn’t try to get door grades in school as daddy with take care of her when she fails and mommy will not care either way. She didn’t try to be nice to people because daddy will still love her even if she is a brat and mommy will ignore her either way.

It wasn’t until a year ago that I told my husband to either let me play a role in her raising or we’re done. Even then he didn’t allow me to be painfully honest with her until she lost all her friends due to her attitude and my hubby’s entire family told him they don’t like her as a person.

Ever since late last summer, I’ve been playing an active role in her raising, at least on the weekends when she’s here. Now, she’s a little less rude to people. She is no longer getting F’s on her report card. And although she didn’t get her friends back as they aren’t willing to forgive her for years of verbal abuse, she is making new ones. She’s also now more aware of the world around her. My stepdaughter also knows she could come to me with her problems, and she does. Actually, when she wanted to learn about nature’s curse, she came to me about it instead of her mother. I’m glad she came to me as her mother didn’t teach her much when it did happen.

Now, although she defends her mother’s lack of parenting with “she’s too busy for me” or “she has too many friends” excuses, she’s also noticing her mother’s absence. Like on weeks like spring break or summer vacation when we have her for weeks on end, she sometimes questions as to how hard it is to pick up the phone and call her, something her mother rarely ever does.

All of this parenting made me appreciate my own mother even more for all the work she put into parenting me. My father was an absent parent, kind of like my stepdaughter’s real mother, and I’m glad to have a parent who was there for me. Now, because of my mother’s example, I could be a parent figure to my stepdaughter and maybe my own kids if I ever have any.

So what are your opinions on parenting?


  1. Kudos for being that parent for her! Parenting is hard even under the best conditions.

    My parents were never in my face but they knew everything about my life. As a parent, I try use what they taught me while being very aware the world my kids are growing up in is very different from the one I grew up in.

  2. Good post! And kudos to you for picking up the slack with your stepdaughter. I'm sure she'll appreciate it in the years to come.

  3. She's so lucky to have you in the picture, Angelina.

  4. She sounds like a lucky girl to have you as a guide and champion in her life. I don't have kids, but the older I get the more I appreciate my mom and everything she sacrificed for me when I was a kid.