There are as many opinions on what the role of a step-parent should be doing (or not doing) as there are opinions of what parents should or should not be doing.
What is a step-parent to do?
You know there will be people who will protest your actions and investments as a step-parent no matter what you do. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t and that is perfectly ok. These same people will more than likely overlook you as existing let alone as having a parental role in the children’s lives. Guess what? That’s ok as well.
Are you doing what is right and what is needed within your family dynamic? Are you, your spouse, your children (regardless of prefix) happy with the role you are playing in their lives? Those are the only valid opinions in this convoluted step/parenting web.
Before I even moved in with my husband, we sat down and discussed his expectations of me with his kids and my expectations of him with mine. “If you are part of my life, you are part of theirs, in full capacity of a parental role.” Luckily, we were completely on the same page.
We each agree that the other is not just there to be a buddy to the children, a live-in baby sitter or simply play a supporting role to the “parents ” while hiding in the shadows. We are parents and we shall act accordingly and unified. We have both played step-parenting roles before where the expectations of us were to behave just as we would toward, and for, our biological children. This is the desire we share for our family; there is no division or line drawn in the sand of who can do or say what to which children.
So, as a step-parent, what is your role? You need to ask 3 opinions to find that out and I would suggest having this discussion early enough in your relationship that you can see if you have conflicting opinions.
1. your own
2. your spouse’s
3. the children
Let the opinions of others simply be that. They have no weight nor merit in your life or circumstance. That is simply a weight they need to carry.
Love your life, parents. Enjoy your children. The nights are long but the years are short and soon this time with your children will be a faded memory.