“I didn’t fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong.” (Benjamin Franklin)
When I was a girl, I remember my dad telling me many times, “We’ve never been parents before. Please forgive us for any mistakes we may have made. Believe us when we say that every mistake has been made out of love.”
Then I grew up and became a mother. Believe me, I’ve shared that sentiment with my own children, many times, over the years, as well.
And THEN I became a stepmother. Or as some would say, “Better a serpent than a stepmother!” (Euripides) Completely new unchartered territory.
Despite their “fairy tale portrayals,” let me set the record straight. Stepmothers actually are human beings. They’re women. They’re mothers. They’re imperfect, like everyone else. Odds are, they’re bound to continue to make parenting mistakes. Even with stepchildren. Especially if they’re me.
I made my first one before I even married my husband. I apologized, my future stepson forgave me, and I realized something would be very handy in the remarriage/blending a family situation: a disclaimer.
Yes, I think parents, especially stepmothers, should come with a warning to the children they love and will parent. Something like, “Please forgive me. I’ve never been a parent before. I’m bound to make mistakes, but every mistake I make will be out of love as I seek to do what is best for you to prepare you for life.”
And along with the disclaimer, a guarantee: “I promise I won’t quit, I won’t let myself fail you, but I may find several ways to do it wrong in my quest to get it right.”
Maybe even 100 ways.
Consider yourself warned.
“One timely cry of warning can save nine of surprise.” (Joshua Thompson)