The New Normal – Life As A Step Parent



With second marriages and even third marriages becoming a reality, step families, or should I say blended families, are becoming a norm. I come from a polygamous home and have step-siblings, but believe me, what goes on there is child’s play compared to what goes on in a blended families, with children having two sets of parents, one of which they are not biologically related to. It can be a nightmare at times, but it can also be really good.

As cliché as it may sound, no one truly enters a marriage with the intention of getting divorced, but then, there have been instances where you just know this marriage is going nowhere, but often times, each partner wants to stay with their spouse till death do them part, just as they vowed. And that was what Toun thought was going to happen with her first husband, T.J., a laughing man with a handsome physique.

Fast forward to five years and two children later, their marriage was unravelling. And very soon, the center could no longer hold. They could no longer pretend everything was fine. Counselling only worked for a while and then they were back to where they were.

Toun and T.J just stopped caring about each other. They stopped loving. The T couple no longer had any tonic in their marriage. There was no hint of infidelity, it was just dissatisfaction in their lives, their partner and then, they had grown apart. Each had their separate lives. They no longer talked, at least not like the way they used to; like friends, buddies, gossip mates. It was all dry and drab in their relationship.

Push came to shove one morning, when T.J woke Toun and told her it was best he moved out, as he could no longer bear the way their marriage was. Toun wanted to speak, something in her wanted to fight for her marriage but she was just too tired to try and she didn’t want to pretend all was well, when it wasn’t. So, she said nothing. Hoping that the separation would perhaps give her some needed perspective.

One year and six months later, T.J started dating and after a while, he pitched divorce and they went to court for surprisingly amiable divorce proceedings. They got joint custody of the children and that was fine by everyone.

Not long after the divorce was finalized, T. J married Remi, his boo for the last couple of years. At that, Toun started to get serious about dating again. In fact, her family strongly encouraged her to get married again.  But she was afraid the same thing would happen again, that she would fall out of love, they would drift apart and a good thing would turn sour for no good reason.

The more she thought about it, the more she wanted to give it a try, so she did it afraid any ways. She gave an old flame a chance, and guess what? They hadn’t even dated for six months, before she found out she was pregnant. Nothing else to do but get married to the very eager, first time Dad-to-be, Peter.


He was over the moon and that was Toun’s journey into step parenting. Not only does she have to relate with her ex’s wife, who is amazingly nice to her children, but she sometimes worries about the way her own children still view her new husband, who is sometimes seen as an interloper.

While her son is on very friendly terms with Peter, and sometimes calls him Dad, (when his biological dad is not around, of course), her daughter is another kettle of fish all together.  She wants nothing to do with him and it takes a lot for her to just say hello. But she is quite in love with her Aunty Remi. Who knows the way a child’s mind works?

Toun is however hoping that the arrival of the baby she is carrying will mellow her hostility a bit, as she is going to have a sister to play with, hopefully. When she gets to that bridge, she will cross it.

All this came about at the open day at my younger twins school, where I had sat beside Toun and her entourage, comprising of her ex, his wife, her new husband and of course the bump, all because of two children.

And that is how they attend all the school’s activities, a motley crowd, wanting to provide as much stability for their children as possible.

Divorce is such a life-altering situation, especially for young children. Even adult children are shaken, when their aged parents go their separate ways. It makes you wonder what else in life lasts forever.

Even though, it looks all yummy on the outside, I’m very certain it wouldn’t have been easy, not by a long shot, to get to that place.

It must have taken a tremendous amount of change these past few years, and regrets too, that the children had to experience the one thing their children wouldn’t have wanted – divorce.

New homes, new schools, new stepparents, new friends, new routines — all of this equates to a tremendous amount of stress in a child’s life.

While most parents would love to avoid anything that would cause unhappiness in their children’s childhood, it is a bit unrealistic, because we live a world wracked with hurt and turmoil, most of which parents have no control over.

So, for the blessings in the lives of Toun’s children, who are blessed with four parents who love them, when some don’t even have one, it’s glory to God.

Welcome to the new normal!


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