In my short stint as an elementary school teacher my entire career was really revolving around the consideration of parents. As a college student with no kids of my own, aside from the younger brothers I helped raise, I had to make the incredibly difficult ethical decisions day in and day out, “how would I want my children to be treated, taught, spoken to, responded to, etc.” if I were the parent? As a step-parent it really is no different. For each situation it is unique, for my own though, the birth mother refuses to take in any part of conversation with me. She refuses to open up to me about her beliefs and ideas, her expectations and hopes when it comes to anything much less the son we share. In normal situations this could cause a void between a step-mother and child, and right at first it did for me. I kept my distance and let my husband, his father, make all the calls, though the calls he made I questioned. McDonalds for every meal and lots of sweets made me weary still for his mother.
Slowly over time I started to branch out as I became more comfortable with our B. I started baking dishes that were filled with vegetables, in fact B was my eager assistant while cooking each and every meal. I began to research harmful foods to children and started avoiding sugar, food dyes, and started focusing more on whole wheat and turkey. Instead of Fruit Loops each morning we had oatmeal and fresh fruit with a Flintstone vitamin. Instead of grilled cheese for lunch, we have peanut butter and strawberry sandwiches. Instead of McDonalds for dinner we munch down on low calorie dishes that are built up with vitamins and nutrients a young body craves.
Instead of Batman we started watching Blues Clues. And instead of T.V. we started getting out of the house on a daily educational adventure. We practiced our speech on a regular basis and he was given light and easy responsibilities to help him become a responsible individual. McDonald’s, Batman, and grilled cheese became occasional rewards for just because your awesome, and he never complained a day.
Now he does question my methods from the perspective of a five year old, “My mom and step dad let me eat McDonald’s & Fruit Loops everyday,” he will protest. I think to myself, that may be so, but your not losing your vitamins and nutrients on my watch. I don’t want to be the one at fault. I don’t judge them, that’s their prerogative and their own private choice to make. I don’t think McDonald’s is the end of all things healthy (heck we probably over do the McD’s with his sister Aislyn when he is away), but as a responsible party outside of the birth parent I have to play things extra cautious because if I were in B’s mom’s shoes that is how I would want that other woman to be.