As a step daughter, a step mum and wife to a step dad, I can really relate to the step dad content on this site and the issues that it raises, as I have been faced with many of these myself. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share some of the highs and lows that I have experienced, and sometimes still do, in a three part series. The first part looks at my life as a step daughter; the second part details my experiences as a step mum and the third part looks at my relationship with my husband in light of us both being step parents
Firstly, as far as my step dad and I are concerned, he is my dad and I am his daughter, so you won’t hear me refer to him as my step dad from here on in. My paternal father decided when I was very young that he didn’t want to be part of my life and so he has never been on the scene, in all the time I’ve known my dad. When my mum and dad first got together I told my mum that I didn’t like him – what I wasn’t capable of communicating at the time was that I resented him having my mum’s attention and being a new authoritative person in my life. He wasn’t strict or anything but if I deserved a telling off, he didn’t pamper to me. I always knew (and still do!) when I’d done something wrong because I used to get ‘the look’ – one of those Paddington Bear stares from over the top of his glasses. My dad was very hands on and threw himself into providing for my practical and parental needs. He was a teacher at my school which caused me a few problems but looking back, it was worth it. We spent time together in the school holidays, just the two of us, which was really great and created some wonderful memories. My dad is fair – he can be firm but he is never pushy. He has always been consistent in the way he has treated me, which has enabled me to feel secure and confident in our relationship. My mum and dad’s marriage didn’t work out – it was a decision they came to mutually and I was devastated at the time – my relatively new found security had been shattered…… it didn’t stop him being my dad though!
I think it’s important to note that when my mum and dad got married, I didn’t just gain a Dad, I gained a Nan too. My dad’s mum was wonderful and I feel very privileged to have had her in my life. She welcomed me from day one; she had a very positive influence on my life and enriched it deeply until the day she passed away. I still miss her now and wish that I could tell her that everything worked out ok and that I’m in a wonderful relationship with a man she would have loved.
Sometime later after my mum and dad split up, my dad remarried and I gained a brilliant step mum, who also had a positive influence in my life (and still does), and 3 step brothers. My step brothers and I were roughly around the same age and got on pretty well for a bunch of teenagers. Initially I felt a bit left out and jealous because I had to share my dad with them too, but we soon settled down into a regular weekly routine, which partly involved us all having dinner together – I think this was very important in helping us all gel as an extended family.
My dad and step mum have had their fair share of challenges along the way but they are definitely the bedrock of my wonderful extended family. They keep me grounded and have been a constant point of reference in my life as a mum and step mum. I’ve been very lucky and truly blessed!
About the writer: Nicky is a member of our Family Matters Institute team. She is an advocate for dads and families, and engages regularly with our dad.info audience on our Facebook page.