What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is that there’s actually no distinction between who or what’s ‘real.’ There are no labels, no differences. Your child is your child, not your ‘sort of’ child, not your ‘half’ child, not your ‘pretend’ child. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re biological or carry the same DNA—you are a parent.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is that it’s really hard to watch your child go. Even if it’s for a weekend, there’s a part of you that aches as soon as he walks out that door. And you know it’s silly, selfish even. But you can’t help but feel like a part of you is leaving, a part of you that will never fully be yours.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is that there are so many turns and twists to navigate. Sometimes people will regard you with respect and honor. Sometimes they will scoff and treat you as if you’re less. There is no guarantee that you’ll walk through this life with people who support you. But when you do, hold onto those people.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is how much affirmations really matter.
A nod in your direction, a pat on your back, a hug after a long day, a smile and “you’re doing a good job”—these are small things that make such a big impact. We all need to be reminded that we’re okay, even (and especially) when things get hard.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is that your entire life so quickly changes. You weren’t given the 9-month intro into childbirth. You weren’t given the months or even years of practice before jumping in. When you became a parent in this child’s life, you had no idea what you were getting into. And you still don’t. Every day you just do the best you can and pray that it’s enough.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is that you have such a hard time figuring out where you fit. You’re no longer running around with the people your age, laughing and moving through life without a care in the world. But you don’t quite fit with the mothers and fathers, either. With the people who have settled into their worlds with comfort and ease, who have playdates and parent parties and know the ins and outs of growing a family. You have been thrown into (and have willingly jumped) into a world you don’t quite understand, looking for where you fit.
What people don’t understand about being a bonus parent is how much of your heart is filled, every time that little person walks through the door. You didn’t know what you were missing, didn’t know there was anything to miss. But now your entire life has changed and you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
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Featured Image Credit: Kyle Nieber