Stepfamily Issues

Personal stories about stepfamilies, childhood and general family issues.

February 23, 2008

adult stepfamily a blessing!

Helen is 56 and until two months ago she was managing a full-time job as well as a ready-made family of adult step-kids. When she made the decision to ease her way into retirement with a part-time job she met with a lot of resistance from her co-workers and boss who couldn’t understand why she considered spending more time with her adopted stepfamily was more important than her job.

"I married late in life and I take my new responsibilities as a stepmother very seriously," says Helen. "I could understand my boss putting me under a lot of pressure to fulfil my obligations to the company because of my high profile with it, but I was horrified by the attitude of my co-workers."

"They thought I was letting them down -- they even pointed out that the kids weren't mine and I shouldn't have to bother about them," sighs Helen "but I was adamant that my new family life was far more important than my job -- and so was my freedom to enjoy life while I was still young enough to enjoy it."

“Bearing in mind that I opted to work part-time in order to give priority to my new life as wife and stepmother, it was vitally important for me during the transition period from full-time work to retirement to keep my feelings under control.”

“I used humor to hit back at the sneerers,” laughs Helen, “and it helps, too, as you're walking out the door at noon after a four-hour shift, to feel a bit of compassion for them.”

“When I’m home relaxing with my adopted family at 9pm - after a pleasant afternoon spent shopping and preparing a gourmet meal for my wonderful new husband and step-children - the sneerers at work are likely to be still punching out the hours they need to work in order to earn enough to cover the costs of their expensive lifestyles.”

“I remember that lifestyle as being all about the trappings of what our society calls success but with no time to enjoy them - if, indeed, these things were ever intended to be enjoyable, or capable of being enjoyed.”

"I may be earning less, but I have gained a brand new family life that I never thought possible at my age," says Helen, "and because my stepchildren are adults -- all over 21 -- there is none of that stepfamily nonsense that happens with younger families."

"I consider my adult stepfamily a blessing!"

Read more of Helen’s story:

  • part-time work eases retirement
  • sneering at part-timer

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