|photo credit: ~PhotograTree~ via photopin cc|
Parents get to bond with their children from the day they are born. The connection is innate and mutual. Children naturally feel love and affection for their parents, these are the most important people in their lives.
I want to feel that. I am a childless stepmother, which means I don't have kids of my own. Every once in a while I get a little glimmer of what that parent/child bond feels like but for the most part, what it feels like I get, is a lot of responsibility.
My relationship with my step children will be what I make of it. If I do nothing and offer nothing, I will likely get nothing. So I offer myself. I make sure I am available to my step kids. I listen to them even when they are just rambling on about some kid thing I know nothing about. I ask them questions about school and any activities they are involved with. I do a million mundane everyday expected things like this.
While all of those things matter, there are three specific things I do with my step children that I know are the keys to our bonding.
- I do crafts with the kids.
- I have the kids help me cook.
- We have a special show that we watch together.
Niether of my kids' biological parents can cook or turn a bottle cap into a necklace. These are special things that the children do with me. In our house these are what I think of as "safe activities" meaning that there are no loyalty issues for the kids because I am not treading in their mother's place. I do not try to do the same things she does with the children. The last thing I want to do is create a situation that feels to them like I am competing with their mother.
The kids watch an array of annoying kid's shows. They watch sports with their dad and who knows what with their mom. We have a special show that we watch together though, just the kids and I. Yesterday, while the four of us were huddled together under blankets on the couch, my oldest stepson said, "I like it when we watch this show together, it feels cozy". My heart melted a little and the memory still makes me feel emotional. I assure you that the show we watch together is not "cozy", he was referring to all of us and the comfortable, mutual relationship bonds we are building.