Being a writer and a blogger is a funny thing. I am not a compensated blogger (and to check out how they often plan about things to write read this post), I write because I like to write. I also write because it’s my catharsis and way to work through things. I share my opinions, my garden, things in my life, and I even share my photography and recipes.
“Blogging” is a very widely used phrase today and face it, it is is fairly common that with everyone you meet they either blog on their own or follow blogs. It is rare that you meet someone who doesn’t follow something.
Some people incorrectly refer to social media pages as blogs. They aren’t, although bloggers share their work most easily via social media.
Perception, as defined is first of all from the Latin “perceptio” and is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information, or the environment.
Perception is like a bend in the road. Everyone sees the bend a little differently.
Human beings all see things differently. Put a bunch of people in a room and show them a photo. They all see different things. Leave them in the room, and human nature takes over, and some of those who are stronger willed than others will try to impress THEIR perception upon people, tell them that their individual perception is the only one that matters. You can literally watch as something goes from individual perception to more of a mob mentality. It’s fascinating. (It happens in social media groups on Facebook all of the time. )
People are often so uncomfortable with the perceptions of others, no matter how benign. Some of these types like others to think blogging is a four letter word. Or that the blogger is a bad person merely because their opinions and experiences are different from theirs. Or because a blogger is expressing some of their perceptions, experiences, and opinions openly.
Recently, I wrote a post about essentially the end of one chapter of my journey as a stepparent with a child graduating high school. I wrote about my perceptions, my feelings, my experiences. Today I heard from a friend. Passing along a message from parents who did not like what I wrote.
I wonder, did they also have a problem about an article on stepparenting I wrote in 2017 for a regional magazine?
I am sorry they did not like what I wrote. It was about my experiences. It makes me understand once again, why so many stepparents do not like to talk about their experiences. It is often like we are not supposed to have feelings and experiences. We are just supposed to soldier on and never talk about it at all.
Being a stepparent is the hardest best job I have ever had. At times it is exhausting and frustrating. And then there are those moments, those magical moments, where it all comes together.
I became a stepparent in my 40s. Most of my friends had been at parenting since their 20s, maybe early 30s. I knew when my sweet man and I got together it was a package deal, father and son. (They even have the same shaped hands.)
But being a fair bit older than parents with similarly aged children, I have felt at times like I was walking a tightrope without a net. When I am unsure, it is sometimes really hard to know what to do. Everyone wants to help and give you parenting advice. You don’t want to offend, yet sometimes you want to scream “stop” because the role of a stepparent is so different.
A stepparent is not a traditional parent. You can’t replace the parent who is absent, and shouldn’t. No matter the state of the relationship the natural parent (in my case mother), a stepparent must respect that bond. And be aware, even if the bond is fractured, it does exist.
Everyone expects a blended family to emerge overnight. That is a myth. As much as you want life to be like a Hallmark Channel television movie, it isn’t.
Creating a blended family takes a lot of time and hard work.
As a stepparent I do not have that literal biological bond. So there have been plenty of days I wanted to scream into my pillow “I can’t do this!” and I have cried buckets by myself out of frustration. But underneath it all, if you nurture it and let it grow, is an amazing relationship.
As a stepparent you respect the family traditions you inherit with the relationship, and you work to create new ones. Your job is not to erase the past, and together you create new memories.
For everything a writer writes, there will be at least one person who dislikes what you are writing about, and honestly, usually more. And if you are a blogger, well just add to the numbers. Why? Because a lot of people do not consider bloggers real writers.
I am a real person. I am a real stepparent. I share some of my experiences because it makes others in my shoes as a stepparent feel less alone. Much the way I also blogged my way through breast cancer.
Perception is a funny thing, and I am discovering it is especially funny when it comes to parenting. I can never decide if it is because we are all supposed to have perfect Facebook-ready families at all times, or if people are just that uncomfortable if you are different, or your opinion is different, or if their kids think the moon is made of cheese and you think that is silly.
When it comes to being a stepparent, the parents I have met for the first time who are the least judgmental are individuals who were not born in the US. As in people who grew up elsewhere who came to this country and became citizens. I think they are more kind a lot of the time because so many people can be so incredibly ignorant to those who are non-native born. As human beings we can be incredibly judgmental. Sometimes it is very hard not to be.
I find this all to be a conundrum of sorts. Here we are (in theory) supposedly teaching our kids to be good humans, yet often as adults we often can’t accomplish that on our own.
Well that’s enough from my catbird seat as a stepparent.
It’s all about perception.
Thanks for stopping by.