Being a step parent.
I became a step parent before I became a fully bona fide parent in my own right. I was only 19 when I met my husband along with his 4 year old son from his first marriage and for this I am grateful. Too naive to know better.
I actually believed that it would make no difference to our relationship, He was only 4 and we had him to stay every other weekend. I was seriously under prepared for the situation I was about to freely place myself into.
The fact that my husband made it very clear from the start that his son came first only made me want him more. I had found a proper man who took his responsibilities seriously not some idiot who thought getting pissed was high up on the list of his priorities.
It is all the firsts that you have to deal with that makes it difficult, especially when you have no prior experience of children. The first time on our own, the first time I had to tell him off and the first time I had to get him dressed. With my own children these things did not even warrant any thought or pre planning, they were just dealt with.
The problem with step children is that they are not yours. That might seem like an obvious statement but with step children every single interaction with them in the early days is cause for dilemma. You don't want to upset the child, your partner or the scariest of all, the Ex. Your mind races through all the potential consequences of the actions you are about to take and by then you have left it too late. As we all now know you have to nip it in the bud to avoid full scale tantrums no matter how old your child is!
It is massively worth it in the end that I will say but you will have to jump through some hoops mostly held up by the Ex. If you are the Ex I hope you can understand that as the other woman we try really hard to do our absolute best but sometimes we get it wrong. You are the expert so help us out! Little things like letting us know that the child doesn't like carrots really make a difference.
The most important thing I learnt was that regardless of your partners relationship with their Ex you must remember they are the child's mother/father and that child loves them dearly. Don't slate them in front of the child; you will not ever achieve anything from it.
Oh and if you are the Ex please remember we are not trying to be their mother, hell no that is your job, we just want to make everyone happy and we are terrified of getting it wrong. Please don't rub salt into our wounds if we do.