Being a mum has taught me so many things and continues to do so every day. Being a step mum is challenging in a whole new way and sometimes I am completely blindsided by the tribulations that come along. It’s very much a day to day, sometimes hour to hour thing, just trying to do your best and balancing the needs of a lot of children and two adults and all of those relationships and dynamics.
I always had foremost in my mind to remember that I am not the girls’ mum and that has been good advice to give myself. It’s hard to put into words and define what exactly I see my role as so I don’t try. I am not everyone’s mum in our family but I am the mum of the house. I just give it my all and days I feel I have done well and days I feel I have failed.
One of the most interesting things for me to realise is that not only am I not Andy’s wee ladies mum, but also, and I never anticipated this I don’t think, they are not my children. What I mean by that is that I maybe never understood fully how many allowances our kids make for us. They have heard our hearts beat from inside our body, they have been with us all their lives, they know us inside out, they are acutely aware of how we operate, our good side, our bad side, what can make us laugh out loud and when our tone of voice is saying, ‘mammy’s not in the mood’. They let us off with so much and are so ready to forgive us. All ground work that has happened naturally.
The step parent has a different journey without the benefit of shared genetics, shared personality traits, attachment as a baby, that lifelong journey, all those days and hours of getting to know each other with an instinctive familiarity.
The relationship is different but it has many moments of wonder and sweetness and on those days when you feel that the elements of both families have come together and created a wonderful new, safe and warm and loving place for everyone to be, there is nothing as satisfying or glowy ( I can’t think of another word to describe the feeling, it just makes your heart glow).
And always, always with the learning.
It’s good to be back in the flow of PhDing after my period of low output. The introduction for my first chapter is started so I am finally on the road. Met with The Professor on Friday and we are back where we should be. He is happy, and I am once again doing excellent work. All results were ready for his perusal and he had a quick look at what I had done so far on the introduction to my latent class analysis chapter. I think I will always seek approval from those that I feel are teachers to me.
This week I proof read the proof reading version of my first co-authored, soon to be published, in production, academic paper. And I was delighted. I printed it out and showed it to people in work, at home and that I randomly met in the street. It was great and I love that I am soon to be a published academic.
It always strikes me how beautiful I find the world to be. Particularly in Winter. A memory that stays with me from before I started to live life in recovery. I was lying in my bed. I was looking out the window in Winter. It was a grey day. It was cold. It was, to me, bleak and sad. One of my favourite types of day in my new life, are exactly those days. Winter. Cold. Frosty. Grey. Still. I find these days to be haunting and to be beautiful and I love the stillness of them. These days have not changed. I have changed. What I see changes. My perspective has changed.
I read this young woman’s blog every day. It’s a great read. She writes beautifully and I always find something interesting to think about.
As we get ready for the day, I listen to The Small Daughter as she goes about her business. I often listen to, and watch her because she is fascinating. I am particularly interested in the way she talks to herself. As we get older, we stop talking out loud so much to ourselves (well actually in our family we have a long tradition of talking out loud to ourselves, but we tend to do it when no-one is around). With The Small Daughter however I can still get clues at to the way she talks to herself. She declared to herself, as she walked upstairs, ‘I feel good today. Really good in fact.’