I was at a company event recently chatting with one of my clients. We were talking about football teams and our kids and I mentioned that my son is an OU fan even though his Dad, Mom and me are all OSU fans. The client looked at me and said so what’s his mom’s name? Thinking I had a split personality, without skipping a beat I told him her name. He then gave me a confused look and I had to explain he’s my bonus son, not my biological son.
This is a very common theme in my life recently as I don’t refer to him as “Eli, my bonus son” and I sure don’t like having to use the “step” reference. In this family, blood or otherwise we’re all the same. I know a lot of people don’t get that, but it’s how we work. I never NEVER try and step on Eli’s biological moms toes and I tend to defer to James whenever possible, but I do not treat him as anything less than my son and I hold the same expectations for him as I would if he were biologically my own. Because other than sharing my DNA I see him as my son.
The important thing here, to me, is that we’re not not just two parents and James and Eli’s mom aren’t the only ones doing parenting but we’re actually a block of four parents coming together to do what’s best for our common interest: Eli.
This is something I wish my parents would have done when I was younger, and I think all divorced or separated parents should take it under advisement. It’s not always easy, after all there’s a reason that the two biological parents aren’t together in a co-parenting situation, but regardless of that you made a tiny human and you need to do what’s best for them while still showing them that you deserve happiness. I tell Eli all the time when he’s struggling with his mom and dad not being together that I get it, but that he’s so lucky. He doesn’t just have two parents to love him, he has four. And while kids that are blessed enough to have their two bio parents together are the luckiest (and rarest) I think that it’s important we show our kids by we deserve to have love that we give and get in return and that if a relationship is not good it doesn’t mean that person isn’t good it just means you’re not good together and it’s okay to step away. But you can’t leave your responsibilities, i.e. your children.
Regardless of what your differences are with your baby’s Mom or Dad, you thought that person worthy enough at some point to make a tiny human with them. Even if it was an accidental pregnancy…they met your requirements at some point and the child does not deserve to be punished for that.
One of my most frustrating things from my childhood after my parents split was how they’d always talk so much shit about the other parent. And I get it as an adult…you were hurt, the relationship wasn’t good…whatever. Toxic relationships are real. But my siblings and I didn’t deserve to have to hear such things about our other parent. We loved them both and while I can’t speak for my siblings it constantly made me question if my parents REALLY loved me, after all I was HALF the parent they apparently loathed. As a result of this, we have a rule in our house that we don’t speak poorly about the other half of our parenting unit. Eli adores his mom and step-dad, as it should be. I will never want to or try to replace her, I’m just a BONUS to him. He gets his bio-mom AND me. Two mom’s to kiss booboos, make sure he’s fed and has clean clothes and doing well in school as well as two dad’s to do the same. I never ask him to call me Mom, even though I refer to him as “my son.” I don’t do this as a disrespect to his mom, but because I would literally do anything for him and I don’t ever want him to think of himself as something less-than to me, because him and his Dad coming into my life has been the best blessing I never knew to ask for.
So, if you’re blessed enough to be the bonus parent OR to have bonus parents in your kid(s) life…just remember that everything within that parental unit that you do should be for the best for the kid. Don’t put your adult struggles on the innocent…the world will be hard enough on them without us burdening them before their time. And to all the bonus moms and dads out there…I know it’s not easy. I know there are times it HURTS to have to split your time and sometimes it’s even hard to hear wonderful things they got to do with their bio parent…but just remember it’s not about you. YOU’RE blessed to get to be a part of their life and you’re LUCKY that they have another parent(s) looking out for them. That’s what matters at the end of the day. So, keep your chin up and soak up the little times while you can…they’ll grow up all too quick – bio child or not.