If you know me, you know that I have impeccably high standards. High standards for others, but even higher standards for myself. This makes me judgmental. It’s a hideously ugly trait; but it’s something I’m working on. I am especially judgmental of other females. Partly because I believe that men are an easy read and therefore can be easily manipulated (me: judging) and partly because I am a female and I know how crafty we can be. And unfortunately, I must admit, this judgmental mentality has led to a certain level of competiveness with other females in my life, particularly my future step-daughter. Because, to put in frankly, when you put a beloved man (be it a dad or anyone else) between two females of any age there are bound to be fireworks. It’s just (female) human nature. Plus, it hasn’t been that long since I was 16 and could play my dad like a fiddle so I (believe) am always one step ahead.
It’s something we’ve talked about in the past and it’s gotten a whole lot better over the last year, but the fact of the matter is that girls are competitive with each other whether they have a reason to be or not. In fact, all the times I tried to talk to my fiancée about the invisible fencing match that was taking place between my future step daughter and I (despite the fact that outwardly we got along just fine) he thought I was imagining things. He insisted for months that everything was just fine. By the time I hit my breaking point and brought it up to her though, she agreed immediately. She said she had known about the competition all along. And it made her unhappy too. So we made a commitment to fix it, which is why I remind myself daily that “Women don’t put each other down, they lift each other up.” And I am the woman in this situation and it’s up to me to do the lifting.
Is everything all better? No, not all the time (because teenagers are crazy in general). Do I still feel the wrath of female teenage angst? Hell yes. But I remind myself daily that it’s temporary and one day, maybe, I’ll be seen as a “parent” who is just trying to do what’s best. I will not be like the significant others of my parents’ past. I will not engage in the competition and I will not do what’s easy. I will do what’s right. Because I understand fully the life changing impact I can have on the lives of these kids; whether I’m a real parent or not.