Advice from a Stepdad on Father’s Day

Things they do not tell you about being a stepdad

So, I’ve been a stepdad for about 5 years now, and I have some observations I’d like to share… the top 5 things that no one will tell you about being a stepdad.

  1. As a stepdad, you start to worry a lot more. For me, this has led to more grey hair, a weird twitch in my eye when I hear a siren and the boys aren’t home, and (best of all), a massive worry-line in the middle of my forehead. It’s a line soooo deep that I can hold a fork in it. Without even being stressed.

I worry about their safety, their health, their happiness. I worry if they’ll make friends, if they’ll make good friends, if they’ll find a girl (or guy) at some point who will love them the way they deserve to be loved.

I worry about if they’re eating right, if they’re watching too much YouTube, if they’re becoming more like a robot than a human. I worry if they’ll be able to afford to buy a house in Greater Vancouver, if they’ll be destroyed when AI takes over the world, or if they’ll drown when the polar ice caps on mars melts.

In other words, I worry a lot. There’s a 24-page list. Single spaced. 10.5 font. As a stepdad, you will be exhausted … like Fred Flintstone working as a Bronto-crane operator at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company kind of tired.

2. After a full day with the boys (and remember, I don’t even work), I can literally pass out on the couch with a bottle of whiskey clutched in my trembling hands. Ok, the bottle is a lie, but the rest is true.

A day of taking one biking, another to music, of cooking supper and forcing one of them to do homework, and listening to the other play the piano and trying to get them to reveal intimate details of their life so I can blog out them, well, yes, it takes it out of me.

I totally get why having kids at 25 is a great idea. At 55, gosh, it’s tough.

3. As a stepdad, you will discover that you are not a god.

This came as a big surprise to me. I so wanted to be god-like, for little faces to look up to me and soak up all my vast stores of knowledge, to listen to my every word like I was a YouTuber or a rapper or sit in awe as I pontificate about history, philosophy, tanks, or politics.

Instead, I’ve had to reset my expectations.

Now, I’m insanely excited if they ask me about the weather.

4. Being a stepdad is COMPLETELY different from being Uncle-Joe. Uncle Joe never had to get someone to bed who didn’t want to go to bed. Uncle Joe never had to nag someone to finish a project or threaten to take away electronic time. Uncle Joe never had to explain what an erection is or what to do about bullies.

Uncle Joe had an amazing life of giving out ice cream, of taking kids mini-golfing, or showing them how He could leave whenever things got, to quote The-Oldest “Real”. Being Uncle Joe was easy. Being stepdad Joe, a lot harder!

5. There’s a ton of stuff that you will do that you will not want to do as a stepdad, but you will do it anyway. I’m not talking about changing diapers, I missed that fun, but other stuff that’s hard.

I mean, honestly listening to a grade 4 band play something is like having someone stick a screeching cat in your ear, then set it on fire. But at least the grade 4s playing their little hearts out has a cuteness factor.

Being a baseball scorekeeper or hockey treasurer, well, that’s just pure stress that you take on for no other reason than you have to do it. Or the pure joy of getting up at 5am to take a boy to a practice then driving back to get something he forgot. Or the racing to the school after a terrifying call that you need to be in the principal’s office NOW!

Fun times. Yes.

*****

So, yeah, those are some of the things they don’t tell you about being a stepdad or stepmom or hell, just a parent in general.

teaching the boys about chess

But here’s the deepest truth of all – being a stepdad, even a massively flawed one, has given my some of the greatest experiences of my life, and watching the boys grow from little goobers to decent, amazing men is something I wouldn’t trade for all the chocolate in the world.

Honestly, it’s the last thing no one tells you about – All those things above pale in comparison to the joy of being a stepdad.

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