“I stepped back and facilitated,” she recalls. “I tried to make it possible for my husband to have very little else to think about when the boys were with us. Plus, we were not yet married, so I was only unofficially stepparenting. If you think parenting is a thankless task, believe me, I get it.”
Over time, Edelstein realized she had become a parent without a title -- her main objective was to support the parenting style of her partner.
“In an even bigger twist, you have to support the parenting of your partner's ex, even if you intensely disagree with it,” she writes. “You need to show up 100% ready to drive the parenting car and then sit in the backseat.”
Ultimately, Edelstein has learned that no two families are the same, but “children will let you know what they need from you.”
“You keep showing up, forever the third parent, and the family dynamic will stretch and contort and redefine itself to include what you have to offer,” she says. She adds that last winter she got to spend a few days alone with her new stepsons, which made all the difference.
“After almost seven years together, I got to see the relationship I'd built with the boys on its own,” she remembers. “They were relaxed and chatty and open and gorgeous, and we had tons of laughs and tons of fun.”
“The question remains, though: What is a stepparent? Who am I to them? I still couldn't tell you, not exactly,” Edelstein admits. “But I do know these