It’s weird, the things you learn about yourself when you become a stepmom. Especially if you’ve never been a mom before.
If you have your own kids before getting into a relationship with a significant other who has kids, I imagine that’s probably a different experience. But for first timers in the adult-with-children category, you learn a lot of things.
You learn, for example, how very dearly you love sleep, even more than you may have before. And not even sleep itself so much as the idea of chilling with your brain turned off. Because being on kid-mode is a different kind of exhausting than being on, say, work-mode.
Oddly enough, you learn that you spend more time in the bathroom than you usually would. Because taking a shower or doing other business gives you some much-appreciated peace and quiet.
You learn that you suddenly look forward to doing the dishes and the laundry. Because it gives you a productive excuse to take a break from playing.
You learn just how much you overthink, and that you’ll stress about every little aspect of what it takes to raise those kids.
You learn how short your fuse is. Because when the kids keep clamoring for attention when all you want to do is talk to your husband for a minute, you might lose it once in a while.
You learn that, if you’re honest with yourself, you’re actually a very selfish person. You look forward to your days off (when the kids are at their mom’s house) more than you should, and you feel guilty about it. You set time limits on how long you’ll play with the kids, so you have a light at the end of the tunnel to look forward to. You plan outings with the family more to avoid your own boredom than the kids’ by being cooped in the house all day. You honestly prefer to eat dinner in front of the TV so you don’t have to think about keeping a conversation going. You’d rather do the chores yourself instead of taking the time to teach the kids how to, because it’s just easier.
Basically, you learn some not-so-nice things about yourself.
But you also learn other things.
You learn that you can care about the opinion of a 7-year-old and a 11-year-old more than about the opinion of your peers.
You learn that you have the patience to teach things like reading and Photoshop — and you enjoy it.
You learn that you can in fact figure out when one tantrum calls for you to be kind and gentle to help the kid through it, while another tantrum requires you put your foot down.
You learn that it genuinely matters to you what kind of people those kids are turning out to be, and that you’ll do whatever it takes to help guide them to becoming their best selves. You also shed more tears over their futures than you ever expected.
You learn how proud you are to watch two little people grow into bigger little people.
You learn that you find yourself missing them when too many days go by without them.
You learn you have a new appreciation for what your parents went through raising you. Because they went through everything you’re going through, except they started with you from Day 1 and didn’t get any days off.
You learn that you and your husband make a pretty damn good team.
You learn that it’s possible for your heart to burst with love, generally expressed in the form of a tearful meltdown at work (that you hope your coworkers don’t notice) or on the couch at home (that your aforementioned damn good teammate hugs you through).
You learn that you’re far from perfect, but you’re also rather stubborn and don’t quit all that easily.
You learn that, unbeknownst to even you not that long ago (yep I just used “unbeknownst” in a sentence), you do actually have what it takes.