I have been a step mom longer than I have been a mom to my own three children and I still didn't have all the answers for her. I find that being a step mom comes with a lot of grey areas. You can love the child as your own, but not TOO much, because after all, you didn't give birth to them. You can discipline them, but not TOO much, because then you're over stepping your boundaries. You can do everything imaginable for them, want only the best for them and work hard to help them succeed, but in the end...you're just the step mom.
In general, being a mom is a thankless job. (no real secret there) But being a step mom, well, that's even more thankless. (at least it feels that way) You invest just as much love and energy into your step children. You work hard to make them feel special and loved. You feed them, clothe them, make sure they have everything they need. You encourage them in their activities and in school. You want them to work hard and become good people. And, at the end of the day, no matter how solid the relationship, you sometimes feel like all that love and energy goes unnoticed.
I don't expect to replace mom, nor would I want to. I know that all that I do or want for my stepchild will likely go unnoticed, and ultimately, I'm okay with that. When I tell people how many children I have, I always say 4. Because whether I carried him or not, I still love him just the same as the ones I did carry. Most importantly, I think that as a step parent it is our job to know when to step aside and when to intervene. And always, always, make sure the parent knows how much you love their child.
Just some thoughts from today....K