Don’t Step On Me

I spent one summer making ice cream cones and malts and milk shakes and blizzardy-type drinks every day. I’d see those vans pull up stuffed to the gills with kids and I knew everyone would be demanding something labor-intensive. I’d go home at the end of the day, arms coated with a layer of ice cream, soles of my shoes gritty and sticky.

I also spent several years as a registration clerk in an emergency room. Almost literally, I was the person asking for your insurance card while you were bleeding from the head. I’d be seeing people at their worst – drunks scooped up from city streets by EMTs, children in the throes of high fevers (accompanied by panicked parents), GSWs, car accidents, and more commonly, sore throats, ear infections and STDs. Seeing people at their worst in eight hour stretches. I loved that job, but boy, could it be stressful.

What is my point?

Those jobs – as stressful and thankless as they could be – were leaps and bounds easier than stepparenting.

I made a somewhat conscious decision to not blog about stepparenting much. That’s because we are in one of those scenarios that is rife with conflict – so it’s not exactly fun blogging fodder.

Last week, after a particularly gruesome day – my stepson got suspended on the first day of school, his mother had a temper tantrum on my front porch – I was feeling mad, sad and frustrated. I was angry and I was hurt. I felt the need to feed my feelings with coffee, a new book from Target and lingering fantasies about cookies. In the many years I have been a stepmother, it’s never been smooth sailing – my stepson has had struggles and our home is probably as different from his other home as you can get – so there has always been conflict. It’s been hard. And the other day I thought to myself, “This is TOO hard. Why is everything so difficult?”

My mom gave me the number of a friend of hers – a friend who is walking in very similar shoes – and said, “CALL. HER. She knows what you’re going through.”

And I did. We spoke for forty minutes. We were able to commiserate, share stories, and even… (gasp) LAUGH. Laugh about the similarities in what we’re going through, laugh about the things you think and don’t say, laugh about trivialities.

I can’t speak for being a stepfather (since, y’know, I’ve never been one), but I’ve never known a stepmother who thought life was a cakewalk all of the time. By and large, blended family stuff is tough-stuff, and it’s not really easy for anyone. So, if you’re walking in some shoes that look a lot like mine, know this:

I hear you and I understand. Take a deep breath. Buy that cup of coffee. Know you’re not alone in that boat.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. Hi Sarah-

    Lovely post. As difficult as stepparenting is, I’m glad that you have the perspective to be able to laugh, and the will to continue providing one-half of that safet net. I shope your stepson has an easier time the rest of the school year…and you, too!


  2. Hugs to you Sarah.

    You know I can relate, except for the temper tantrum on my frontdoor doorstep. We pay money to keep that stuff away from our house and our daughter. Money well spent, however it’s money that shouldn’t have to be spent on nonsense like that.

    Hope things improve for you guys!

  3. I’m not even a parent but love so much that you wrote this post. You’re the bomb, FGS!

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