If you’ve been following this page or my social media for a little while, chances are, you know my story. If you’re new to this page, or just reading one of my articles for the first time, welcome! I am a bonus mom to my boyfriend’s eleven-year-old son and frequently share about the ups, downs, and in-betweens of our journey.
Here are five things I’ve learned in loving a dad and his son.
1. Love has no rules, no boundaries, and no fear.
We try to define love, understand love, put it in a little box and wrap it with a bow. We want to make sense of what it is and how it changes us. But we can’t.
Because love doesn’t follow rules.
I was content on my own. I was walking my own path, perfectly happy focusing on my selfish desires and goals and I bumped into a man who changed everything. I wasn’t expecting to fall for someone—especially not someone who came with ‘baggage’ of a previous marriage and a child—but I did, unconsciously.
And what I’ve learned in loving a dad and his son is that true love doesn’t have rules, or boundaries, or expectations, or fears. You simply open your heart to the possibility, and it takes the lead.
2. There is no ‘guidebook’ for motherhood.
What I’ve learned in loving a dad and his son is that you learn as you go. I thought there would be a book with the answers, or that I’d find them in talking to people older and more experienced than me. I thought, in time, I’d learn exactly what I was ‘supposed to do’ in being a bonus mom. I thought there was this big secret I’d one day uncover when I stepped in those shoes.
But I’ve learned that there’s no guidebook or ‘how-to’ when it comes to being a parent. Your decisions are a compilation of everything you’ve learned, bits and pieces of those who have influenced you, and above all else—your heart.
3. The parents that look like they have it all together actually don’t.
No one actually has it all together. And you don’t really realize this until you’re on the other side. Until you’re the one trying to pose for the perfect pictures, trying to smile when you’re really in a baggy old sweatshirt with two-day-old hair. You don’t recognize the imperfection—and the beauty of it—until you step back and see all that you’ve done and all that you’re doing.
You may not have it all together, but you’re doing an incredible job.
4. You can’t have unrealistic expectations for yourself (or others).
You’re not a ‘superwoman’ or ‘angel’ – this lesson took me a while to learn. I stepped in with unrealistic expectations for myself. I wanted to fill all the mother-sized holes in my boyfriend and his son’s life. And I held myself to these impossible standards (and stressed when I continually fell short).
But you can’t. You can’t put so much pressure on yourself (or others) to the point that you’re not actually enjoying the beautiful memories you’re creating every day.
5. All you need to be a good parent is an open heart.
None of us are actually qualified. There is no ‘perfect’ or ‘better’ mother. There is simply you, doing your damn best, standing there in all your mess, and loving with all of your open, mushy heart.
Featured Image Credit: Denise Ko