Sunday, June 7, 2015

Peripheral Parent: The Flipside of Being a Bonus Mom

Like most things in life, there is a flip-side to every belief, idea, and emotion. The majority of the time, I love the term "bonus parent" because it means that I add value to my step kids' lives. In many ways, I am like a fun aunt who listens, supports, and advises. Unfortunately, there of tough days when I feel more like a third wheel. In the last 24 hours, I have found myself reflecting on the word, peripheral. I looked it up on Websters Dictionary, and it turns out peripheral parent is the flipside of the term bonus parent.
Dictionary

1peripheral

adjective pe·riph·er·al \pə-ˈri-f(ə-)rəl\
: not relating to the main or most important part
It's funny how words, both negative and positive, have a way of helping me make sense of my feelings. Now that Hunter and Chandler are out of school, our time with them is limited. They must split their visits home between mom and dad's house, which makes things complicated and difficult. I continue to watch them struggle with the divided sense of loyalty that comes with all divorces, and my gut instinct is to bow out of the equation. Their biological parents are the primary relationship in their lives - fundamental, essential, and needed. On the contrary, my role in their lives is both complimentary and secondary. I'm like an extra computer cord that isn't really necessary or a necklace that accessorizes an outfit but isn't really needed. 
As a bonus mom I am not related to the main or most important part, And sometimes it sucks to be superfluous. This pity part will end soon, and I know these emotions are fleeting. The trigger of interacting with his ex-wife and her family at graduation surfaced my "your not enough" gremlins, and I'm confident these icky feelings will pass quickly. This journey through blended families can feel lonely at times, but I know I am not truly alone. There are other women out there with similar experiences, and hopefully by acknowledging the joys and the heartaches, we can find community. 

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