It is times like this, and when I say this, I mean the global pandemic which has swept across the world, leaving no stone unturned, that I realise how lucky I am.
Lucky I have friends and family who are safe, a soon-to-be husband at home with me daily, someone to keep me company and smile while the outside world continues with lockdown. And a beautiful step daughter who makes me smile every single day.
I am lucky, but I am not perfect. Nor am I happy 100% of the time. Who is?
Social media brings forward this idea that life has to always be perfect, that everything goes right for the people you see on there.
A lot of the time, social media shows one half of the story. So many people post the happy times, the laughter, good news, perfect moments, but how often do you see the heartbreak and tears? The worry that keeps them up at night, or the bags under their eyes from weeks of sleepless nights.
I’ve been there, and been told off for it endless times. Why paint a perfect life in times of hurt and upset?
To me, right now, in this moment, I have what I would describe as the ‘perfect’ life, but along the way, in these five years with Chris, it hasn’t always been the case. Like any couple we argue, we make stupid comments that hurt one another, and of course we make up – but it’s only the latter that I have ever shared on social media.
The truth to a perfect relationship is the imperfections, the parts that make you who you are as a couple, the bad things, just as much as the good.
And why am I saying this on a blog dedicated to step parenting?
Because there was a time that I thought I had lost my ‘perfect world’ and not a single person (minus close friends and family members) would have known.
I was so scared to admit to myself that I could lose my family, my home, the life I love, the person I love, and Lily – a little girl who I had treated as my own for a long time.
Whilst sharing my happy moments, I hid the arguments between myself and Chris. I hid taking my ring off and placing it in his hand. Why would I tell the world we were going through what I can only describe now as some of the worst moments of my life?
Because it was honest. And honesty hurts.
And I can say this all now, because it’s not raw, we got through the tough times, and if I am being truthful with myself, I am glad they happened.
I am glad of the tears, the hurt on both sides, the anger and the pain. Because I now know how strong our relationship is. I know that even through the toughest times, we are able to work out where we want to be in life and get through the other side.
And this post isn’t here to go into detail about what happened, nor is it here to point fingers or highlight the bad in either of us – but it is here to highlight that sometimes, even if the world on the outside seems ‘perfect’, it’s not always the case.
I see so many step mums who post on groups, hurting, looking for guidance, who feel they have no where to turn and are unsure how to cope when life isn’t what the pictured it would be at home.
But life isn’t easy. No one will ever be happy all the time, and I think sometimes, step mums, and step dads even, get the worst side of it all, and are lead to believe they must portray this perfect life, as only a ‘real’ parent can say they are struggling.
Step parents open themselves up completely, they let themselves be vulnerable to letting love in for a child that is not theirs, and take the risk of potentially losing that child if a relationship breaks down.
Surely, if they portray a happy life all the time, it’s perfect, isn’t it?
I wish it was that simple, and I wish I had an equation that would fix the hard times but I don’t, no one does.
But what I can say, and this is from experience, the best thing you can do in a relationship is be honest.
Being honest is all Chris and I have ever been, even at times where being honest hurts, and that is what has made us strong.
Now I’m no relationship expert, and I don’t claim to be – I think this post has made it pretty clear I don’t have the social media ‘perfect’ relationship, nor do I want it, it’s the imperfections in my relationship I love the most.