A while back, my step cousin added me to The Unapologetic Stepmom group on Facebook. I’m not a huge fan of social media and whatnot, but she thought it would be beneficial for me to have a support group to lean on just in case.
I’ve never made a post in the group. Every now and again, I pop into the group and skim over the posts. Usually it’s when my significant other’s ex has her head lodged up her rectum, leaving me frustrated because I’m trying to advocate what’s best for the children and getting nowhere. Going through the group posts give me a moment of “We may be struggling with our situation, but at least we’re not dealing with that.” It reminds me to breathe on occasion. Today, I stumbled across a term that I’d never heard before, googled it, and had a major wtf moment. Nacho Parenting Theory.
The Nacho Parenting Theory basically boils down to “not your kids, not your problem.” It encourages a step-parent to approach being in a child’s life by means of friendship or a “cool aunt” sort of way in lieu of as an additional parental figure. It forces the bio parents to talk to each other in lieu of the step parent having any part of the communication process. The step parent has responsibility similar to that of a babysitter.
Now the communication thing I get. One of my closest friends has to do all of the communicating for her partner. It gets ugly with his ex and stresses her out to no end sometimes. I feel that a step parent has no place in the communication cycle between bio parents whom have a lot of conflict. A group text to stay in-the-know perhaps, assuming step parents and bio parents can get along and can coparent. Otherwise that’s bio parents’ realm. My step kids’ bio mother loathes the ground I walk on and the air I breathe, so I’ll never have to worry about communication with her anyway. But to take a backseat to everything else?? Nu uh. What’s the point in even marrying a person then? When you marry someone, you marry into their situation. You marry into their family. You marry into their whole life, not just part of it. “But I was stressed out because my spouse wouldn’t take up for me against his ex. My spouse let’s his ex treat me like crap. My step kids hate me. My step kids don’t do blah blah blah.” Okay you know what? Your problems with your spouse shouldn’t have a reflection on how you treat your step kids. It’s not their fault they got dealt a crap sandwich in the parental pairing department. Your step kids hate you? Guess what, it happens to every biological, adoptive, and step parent alike. It’ll pass. They don’t listen to you? That’s a parenting problem, not a problem with your step kids.
I feel like if you’re not going to take an active part in the (step) parenting roles and responsibilities of a child’s life, then you have no room or right to rejoice or participate in the good moments. Babysitters don’t do that. You can’t eat your cake and have it too. And it’s tough. Finding a balance between being supportive and defending versus not overstepping certain boundaries is hard. Step parenting is just like biological parenting, but with none of the credit and all of the blame.
“A step parent is so much more than just a parent. They made a choice to love when they didn’t have to.”