Posted by: soulshinemoments | September 28, 2013

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

I have a lot of anxiety about being a step-mother to A. I know I have mentioned it plenty times before. Really, I am not legally her step-mother, even. I am her dad’s girlfriend, a somewhat insignificant role by name and implications alone. However, there is so much more than that involved in the “daddy’s girlfriend” role. Jack and I are also fully responsible for A’s emotional, spiritual, physical, and financial well-being. I am supposed to know how/when/why to reign her in, set boundaries, model/teach her how to become a woman. I am the mother to her brother she so adores.

Her mother lives across the country and I am supposed to step in where she left off all the while A. idolizes and desperately misses her biological mother.

I am still just learning how to be a mother to Jackson. Two years ago, I wasn’t a mother at all and now I am to play the mother role for two people. (Do I even know what the hell that looks like? I certainly do an awful job at the domestic part of that role…esp the cooking part!) Not to mention, I am still figuring out my role as a student, my role as a professional, my role in a committed romantic relationship. Sometimes I want to (and do) scream outloud: what….the….fuck!

But, I know, I know..much of this is my own doing. I fully hold myself responsible. Doesn’t mean that I still don’t feel overwhelmed, scared, lost, confused, etc.

And not only am I a “fake” step-mom–I am also coming in to try to help raise an adolescent girl. (Holy shit.)

Today I told A. that if she watched her brother, swept the floor, and put away her clothes, I would take her and Jackson and her friend to the park and then to get a cupcake. It was such a beautiful day and I was aching to get outside. I met CB (a friend from my program) at the park and we walked for an hour while A. and her friend played in the park.

Near the time we were getting ready to leave, A. comes up to me and says that she just met two people.

Two people?

Yeah, they were actually nineteen.


Well, I hope they weren’t boys, CB speaks up.

Well, yeah, they were boys. But they were really nice.

By this point, my heart is racing and I am panicking. Oh, no, oh no, oh no. Nineteen years old talking to a 13 (almost) and 14 year old girl in the back corner of a crowded park.

And A. sees no problem with this. In fact, she continues.

Yeah, I showed them my gymnastic moves, she proceeds to demonstrate immediately in front of us by spreading her legs a part and doing a split on the pavement where we are all gathered.

What would 19 year old boys want with 12 and 14 year old girls? I would prefer you not talk to older boys at all. Maybe my voice was a little shaky at this point because a myriad of concerns are rushing to my mind. Perhaps it was an innocent conversation now, but what happens if there comes a day when it isn’t?

CB and I continued to walk around the track toward my vehicle. She listened to my concerns. I told her how much I struggled with my boundaries with A. I struggle when it is okay to lay the law down.

CB encouraged me saying that I needed to feel confident in the role as her mother and be stern with her, tell her, firmly: Do not talk to 19 year old men! Tell her that others can have impure motives. Tell her that there is a time and place to do gymnastics, and in front of strange boys may not be one of those times. Tell her that just because someone looks nice, doesn’t mean they are.

Ok, so guess that’s my job now.

So, as we met the girls on the other side of the track to pack up and leave, I tried my best to express all those things to A. She sort of seemed to understand, but I also felt it went in one ear and out the other.

(“I’ll sit on your egg and try not to break it.” -Dr. Seuss)

A.’s friend told me that her mom would have told her the same thing, so that made me feel good.

I feel as if I am struggling in the dark.

On our ride to the cupcake place, I was deeply thinking about my concerns about raising A.

Then…I felt like the universe sent me a sign.

A.’s friend F. has been taking her to church the last couple of weeks. For whatever reason, the girls started talking about Bible verses they likes. A. mentioned last night she read from Psalms before bed. This kind of floored me because I didn’t know A. was really seeking this aside from enjoying the social hour the church provided.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

A. mentioned this as being one of her favorite verses. This, too, was one verse that I often looked to when I was 14 and going to youth group and having my adolescent issues. It provided me with a lot of comfort then.

And, today, it provided me with comfort again. I felt as if the Universe was saying, Relax. Do your best, but relax. Everything is going to be okay. I will work with and through A.

I know it sounds kind of weird, but something inside of me just accepted it all.

So then the four of us ate delicious cupcakes, went to walmart, and came home. Now I am typing on here while Jack blows glass and prepares for a show he is doing in October in Madison, WI. I told Jack about my concerns and he said he would discuss with A. again about “stranger danger”. I am happy we are on the same front and he gets why I am worried.

‘Til next time…




  1. Love this…doubt and fear turns around to be whittled away by sharing your experience with someone else and knowing in your heart that you are doing the right thing. Even biological parents have a hard time with kids at that age, believe me. I think there is a sense of still finding your voice in this, and it will be hard at times, but it sounds like this was a wonderful teaching moment (I hate that term, sorry) for you and for A. Great!

    (I like that term “stranger danger” – will have to steal that one : )


    • what beautiful, encouraging words; thank u!

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