I think that stepparenting has given me a whole new appreciation for my own strengths and weaknesses. Don’t get me wrong, I have not come anywhere near turning my weaknesses into strengths, but by being more aware of what they are, I hope I am at least on the right track.
Some of my strengths come in very handy with the kids (all of the kids, but perhaps especially my bonus kids.) I am incredibly organized. that may not seem important, but the kids know that I will never forget to pick them up or who is taking them to rehearsal or how to schedule school shuttles, piano lessons and orthodontics appointments so that nothing gets dropped. I have a great memory. Again, this is not so incredible, but it helps that I never forget a birthday or a teacher’s name or which kid hates onions and which one loves sweet potatoes. I am a whiz with computers. That means that I am the one they turn to when they have to figure out how to make a graph in Excel, or when the printer isn’t working, or when they need to search the internet for something. Those all may be small things, but I have to think that over time they will appreciate that and realize those are some of the ways that I show I care.
Of course, I come with more than my fair share of weaknesses. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that I am a bit of a control freak, and I like a fair amount of structure in my day, my home and my life. Also, I am not as thick-skinned as one who is a bonus mom probably should be. There have been many occasions when I let digs by the kids have a devastating effect on me. My mood tends to be extreme, and though I can easily be the most fun person in the room, I can also have that turn and bring a room down. Finally (though certainly not an exhaustive list of weaknesses), I tend to worry, and though some of that is natural in a parent, it is certainly intensified when one is a parent of six.
My strengths work rather nicely for one who is a mom/mom-type to six, but my weaknesses often wreak havoc. At the moment, I certainly haven’t mastered them, but as I said, I suppose it is good to at least acknowledge them, own them and recognize whatever part I play in letting them ruin what might otherwise be a fine moment. For now, I think the best I can do is to be glad of the fact that I tend to balance my husband who is unorganized and has a lousy memory and is a disaster with technology, but he is very patient and easy-going and perhaps most at home when surrounded by noise and chaos. If we can both just learn when to drive and when to be the silent passenger in this adventure, we just might come out ahead.