Styling Out StepParenting….

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Alright my lover?

I’ve always been nervous about the whole ‘Blended Family’ thing. Not because I live in a Cinderella style fear, but for many reasons. To me, it’s even harder than being a biological parent.

In my previous relationship before Paul – one of those arsehole back then types but now a friend (I’m one of those people who actually can be friends with an ex, eventually.) he had children of his own as well as me obviously having Nev. Anyway, I met his practically adult daughter by accident one night when we were out in a bar, she approached me in the toilets, asked if I was her Dads new girlfriend to which I responded with the correct answer and then went on to ask if she was alright for money! Yes, I actually offered his 18 year old daughter pocket money. That was just the start of it, when his ex found out he had moved on, life was made hell for all of us. I was subjected to her abuse through her 4 year old who once told me in the car that I was ‘Daddy’s minger’ because that was what Mummy had said. Fast forward a lot later and details I won’t disclose so publicly but, for my ex, he was put through sheer hell. I always knew the issue was never with me when it came to his ex, but more the fact that there was another woman doing the family thing with their children. Not only did I have my problems but he had his fair share of shit too. My little ray of sunshine made his life hell. She hated him. I knew it. She knew it. He knew it. So really, in hindsight, put his little arsehole ways aside, we were always destined to fail. But it’s all worked out for the best really, he’s now happy living with his partner in Dubai and I’m happy with how my life has turned out. It was a win win situation and I learnt that I had a long way to go with this blended family malarky and maybe, it just wasn’t for me after all.

Then I found out just as we parted ways that I wouldn’t be able to have anymore children and as you can imagine, quite naturally, I went into full on selfish mode. I hit a dark place and forgot that I needed to be grateful for being blessed just once with perfection in comparison to those that aren’t lucky enough to be blessed at all. My little sister and my one of my best friends were both pregnant too and I felt like Mother Nature was a spiteful wanker and wanted me to suffer. I felt as though no man would ever want me again now I was barren and I was destined to live my life as a little duo. I felt I was letting Nev down, that not only could I not give her a family environment on my side, but that as her Dad had provided her with two siblings, I couldn’t and she would love him more, eventually, maybe leaving me in favour of a ‘proper’ family. I was totally irrational in all my thoughts.

Fast forward a year and a half. I met Paul and was made aware from day dot that he’s not bothered about the no womb thing, he has two beautiful babes of his own and more children just wasn’t on the cards for him. I was excited, the fear had shifted and I was full on ready for this. The stories he would tell me about George and Lyla warmed my heart, the videos he played me had me in fits of snorts and laughter and the photos were just adorable. This could work right? I made a mental note to myself not to offer them pocket money when I eventually got to meet them months down the line and to just be myself.

George was the more accepting of me out of the two at first. He understood that I was like a child myself and would probably end up parenting me if he really had to. I was always told by Paul that George was different to any other boy I would meet. What I didn’t realise was how right he was. He reminds me of an 11 year old boy trapped inside the mind of an eccentric old man. George just has this air about him that I can’t explain. His presence fills the room and you can’t help but notice him and once you do, you’ll never forget him in a hurry. To look at, he’s just simply adorable, pale, silky skin with little pin prick freckles all over his face, red hair swept over in the latest fashion and on trend glasses to complete the look. George wouldn’t be George without the glasses, he doesn’t wear them because he wants to but because he has to. Without them, he can only see outlines and blurred objects but he’s accepted that they make him who he is and I can’t imagine ever seeing him in contact lenses. He rocks his own style and is always coming downstairs to show us his outift and seek his Dads approval, when Paul tells him how great he looks he has this smile that lights up a room and he’s happy. What I love the most about George is the fact that he IS different. You won’t see him kicking a football or getting muddy knees, what you will see instead, is George dancing like his life depends on it. He can’t help himself, even if he’s doing a comedy dance, he’s giving it his all. We all say he should be on the stage but he’s not having a bar of it. Nope, that boy wants to be a Doctor one day and as long as he watches every episode of Casualty then he’s practically qualified. I don’t doubt he will get to where he wants to be. He’s driven and he’s talented, he’s got a good head on his shoulders and he’s ready to work for it. I know he’s pissed off with me at times when I remind him of the rules, I see him roll his eyes at me and I wish I could remind him that as much as he probably hates me at that moment, I hate me too for having to be firm and tell him what to do. I’m not his Mother and I don’t want to be, he’s got a perfectly good one of his own who I must say, although we don’t see eye to eye, she does a great job at being a Mother and I know myself what it’s like to allow another woman into your childs life, it’s the hardest thing in the world and that is why, I will never try to take her place.

Lyla however, wasn’t so easy. ‘Princess-Pain-In-The-Arse’ as she’s sometimes affectionately known as. Lyla was only little when her parents parted ways and for a long time, she didn’t understand it, sometimes, she still doesn’t. I hear her at bedtime telling her Dayyyee that she misses living with both her parents together and Paul has to reassure her that now, she has two families with extra sisters and a brother as well as her very own big brother, then she’s calm again and happy with the way things are. You all know how the Daddys girl thing works right? Well Lyla is a great advert for it, at meal times she MUST be beside Paul, at bedtime he MUST sit with her for well over an hour and, if at all physically possible, given her way, she MUST be glued to his side at all times. I’ve lost count of how many times I tell Paul that she’s playing him like a fiddle, Paul looks at me and smiles, he knows she’s doing it and he loves it. Lyla is at her happiest when she’s dressed in the most lairy of outfits. When I first met Paul she would always be in a party dress with Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Style shoes kicking a football, now, we’ve moved onto leggings with crop tops and baseball hats or anything that screams 80’s throwback meets chavtastic.  If she could get away with not brushing her hair she would and if she could live on a diet of Tic Tacs alone then believe me, Lyla would do it. Both George, Lyla and my Nev have the best sense of humour, they all have a great repertoire of one liners and always have the ability to answer back with something smart. For a while, Lyla was too young to understand that comedy and would look at them like aliens, she felt left out and it showed, but now, she’s got it nailed and her one liners are on top form. I love Lyla cuddles and I love Yous, she says it like she really eans it and when I say it back, she knows I really mean it too. Lyla is the one who keeps telling her Dayyyee we need to get married, she wants to her hear tales of love and romance and to me, it’s another sign that she’s growing up. Paul is already struggling with George not needing to be escorted to school anymore so I have no clue what he’s going to do when Lyla starts being more independent, maybe I can talk him into having a pet dinosaur after all.

Despite our three kids being very different, they blend well together and are really close. As I said before, think small gang kinda close. We have a great arrangement that suits us all, the children are with their Mum for one week, then us the week after and so on. When the three of them aren’t together, our family feels incomplete, the house feels empty and eerily quiet. It’s on these days that I realise I’m glad I gave the blended family thing another shot and I’m glad that this is the family we chose to become. Although being a StepParent is hard and I appreciate there are more boundaries, I know how much I love Paul’s children and how I never will understand why Cinderella’s StepMother couldn’t have just embraced it and been a little more like me!

Two plus three equals five.

Emma xox

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