The monster upstairs OR A visit from stepson

There is a special place in heaven for stepparents.

But there could also be a place in hell.

Being a stepparent brings out the worst and the best in you.

I often joke that Cinderella's evil stepmom was not mean or heartless, but misunderstood. If the Cinderella's story was told by the stepmom's point of view, she would tell you that Cinderella was high on LSD when she talked with animals and made friends with an old, invisible fairy that turned pumpkins into vehicles. She would also tell you about the one time that Cinderella came home from a party so trashed that her dress was in shambles and she was missing a shoe.

I am not a mom yet, on the sense of the word. There is a child inside me, but I don't know yet about sleepless nights, the tantrums, the lack of understanding and cooperation from the child's part when you want them to do something that is important to them (and they won't), and have yet to live the part where they tell you they hate you.

When someone throws a half grown kid into your life that came from another woman's womb, it becomes even harder to comprehend.

You start to wonder if there is something wrong with the child, and then if there is something wrong with you because you don't understand that child.

When he throws himself on the floor because you won't give him a toy, or won't eat his food if it's not macaroni and cheese, or won't go to bed and take showers when you expect him to, and interrupts your conversation every three seconds, runs around and breaks things, says your name with such frequency that you wonder if your name is going out of style, and claims he is bored when you already spent the whole day with him in a loud and wild water park where the water smells of pee and think you can't move any longer... you wonder, is this normal?

I remember a particular day; one of those days when he seemed to have incarnated the tasmanian devil, acting hyper, throwing tantrums and wanting to play, play, play, and I took not one, but TWO birth control pills at the end of that day. I recall rushing to the medicine cabinet, my head pounding from the day's events, and said under my breath while hearing him complain from the living room that he was bored yet again, and looking frantic for my birth control pills, "Where are those damn things?"

But then he follows you around just because he looks up to you, wants to help you plant your sunflowers, asks you questions such as, "If China is on the other side of the planet, how come Chinese people don't fall into the universe?", and understands the beauty of just watching seals sunbathe or how truly cool oversized Lego sculptures are, you end up feeling horrible about yourself.

He is a child, after all, and it is OK that he is jealous of this baby, and that he tells his mom in the process that he hates me. A grown up understands that he doesn't mean it. A grown up swallows his or her pride and tries to see things from the point of the view of the child, even if it hurts, and sometimes it hurts a lot.

That's why being a grown up sucks.

A stepchild is God's way of presenting you a mirror to your soul, all the good, the bad and the ugly, which forces you to learn about love, the unconditional kind, and to grow up really fast.

This is what came out of his room this morning and I suspect that this is the source of all the creepy noises we have been hearing upstairs.


  1. Mariana, you totally get it! Being a stepparent is also very rewarding it just takes lots and lots of time and patience, at least in my experience. To me, being a parent is the most rewarding and also the most challenging job ever. There are no manuals for your specific child. You just have to go with what your heart tells you. You will be a fantastic mom! I'm sure that you are already a fantastic step mom. He is going to get bored. You are not his playmate. I'll guarantee you that he gets bored when he is at home. Hang in there.

  2. Well, I am not a stepmom, but I get you. I worked as a nanny for several years and even getting paid to take care of other peoples kid, it can turn into a lot of frustation... Sometimes, only sometimes, I feel that I will never want to be a parent. But at the same time I feel that if was my own kid it would be different. I think that in the end of the day gives you experience, and it will help to be a better parent, and I am sure you will be.


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