Momma Chel is a contributing writer to this community, as well as a mother raising several children in her expanded family. These are some of her thoughts regarding the subject.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

Stepping Back

Okay, we can say that December has truly been a difficult time for me and mine so we’re trying to love and live and get through life altogether! Of course, easier said than done, but what’s life without a few battles? One of my newest battles for the kids and I revolves around the fact that I’m the Momma. I truly identify that I am a mother before all things in my life. This identification process has led me through many difficult times. It leads me through the stress in my life aptly. Knowing in my heart and soul that I’m a mother first and before all else allows me to be me.

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a salesman that frequents our shop that helped bring all these facts to light. We’ve known each other now for over 10 years and we’re not on such friendly terms that he knows of our lifestyle, but we have always been able to easily carry on lengthy conversations. I always ask how the family is doing and was informed that he will become a grandpa again and I saw how that lit up his face. He speaks of his daughter frequently and has only mentioned his son to me in these last few years, relaying his belief that he’ll never have a daughter in law or any more grandchildren as he was leading up to his statement of how he gave kudos to people that have over two children. He believed them to be stronger people than he ever felt he was! I explained to him of my own personal walk into motherhood and how there was no fear and no qualms. I just knew that being a mother was, for me, inherent. I further explained that always being around other kids (not siblings) in the family had helped me, and how at the age of 12 I had a baby nephew on the hip and a newborn baby nephew in my arms. Because of this, I "longed" for the day when I could have one of my own. Just explaining all of this to a virtual stranger (in most respects) helped to show me just how much being a mother means to me and my existence. You may be asking how all of this relates to my current battle, eh? Well………..we have some huge emotional obstacles that each adult partner is dealing with. One that has popped up on the radar with our third is the fact that she has become dependent upon me to literally “be the momma” for all of our children and the fact of the matter is, I’ve taken this duty on willingly and obligingly. I think that at the start of our relationship, it was important to take on roles. I took on the role of mother, hubby took on the role of protector-of-all, girlfriend took on the role of finding herself. At the time we took on our roles wholeheartedly, never realizing we could complicate other areas of our lives down the road, which is exactly where we are now.

I’ve touched on the subject of having to step back and let the biological parent deal directly with their child(ren), but I have never put it into so much practice. It’s hard! I’ve learned over the last 4 and ½ years how to deal with each of the children. I’ve learned the quirks that make them behave the way they do. I’ve learned “tricks of the trade” so to speak, that have enabled me to be a good parent to each child. So now, the time has come to step back from my non-biological children to allow a better relationship between mother/child(ren). How to do this and still maintain a uniformed parenting approach has become quite a challenge, but I think we’re getting there.

One of the things we’re doing is to spend alone time with our biological kids. For me, I felt this important due to the pressure of my oldest being 14 and realizing that he’ll be out of high school in just 3 and ½ short years. He wants that time with me now, and he may not seek it out as much in the years to come, especially after he starts driving. Also, my daughter is changing and growing before I can turn around twice! She talks to me incessantly sometimes, and I know there will be a day when she’s a little more skittish of talking with old mum! I want her to know that I’m interested in what’s going on in her life. It also gives the oldest two time to do more “grown-up” activities versus adapting our activities to include something for the younger children, which can be a difficult task at times. We are still doing things altogether as a family to keep the strong family front we’ve worked hard at achieving. I’m just adapting activities/situations to help strengthen the other mother in our family. Alone time, also allows the younger kids to be with mom and do whatever they wish without interference from the nagging older kids! We all get back together and have some new things to talk about too. It’s been exciting for the kids!

With the good, there almost always comes the bad. The bad, for me, is not just automatically doing some task or activity for each child. I’ve had to really watch myself and consciously step back from making a decision without including more help from our other mom! I understand that I’m helping our communication and our relationship by not automatically taking over and handling the situation. I’m not like this in any other aspect of our lives, but have recently noticed the effect on our family by my automatic “mothering”. In some ways, it’s been beneficial beyond words but the effect it’s had on our third hasn’t been as beneficial. I want more than anything for her to be strong, healthy and happy extending her health and happiness to her children. I know that this is something that only she can give to them. We are supporting each other and helping each other find our way in this new challenge for us. I want support from each of my partners and I want them to know they can lean on me, but at the same time, they have to be independent from me in order to survive all of life’s ups and downs. By stepping back, I know that in the end, the kids will have three strong, loving and independent parents to love and protect them through all of life’s struggles!

Momma Chel is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Momma Chel; January 16, 2006


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