being a step-parent
Hi all. I've debated on even delving into this topic, but I really just need to get it out there and hear some outside perspectives on the topic.
First some background, I was a single mom until my son was 8 and I got into a LTR who I married two years later. We separated in 2017, after a very rocky previous year trying to make things work. He is the only dad my son ever knew. My son actually still lives in Oklahoma by him and I'm eternally grateful that my ex and his family never treated my son as anything but their own.
Fast forward to now, I am in a LTR with a man who has an 8 year old daughter. I adore her. Although we aren't married I'm essentially her step-mom. She tells everyone, "That's Rhonda, she's basically my second mom." My boyfriend and his ex-wife get along well. There is communication between them and between she and I, particularly about his daughter.
We recently got his daughter a horse to ride and enrolled her in 4-H where she is doing the cavy project and the horse project. I have found the 4-H club because I am the one who is familiar with the program as I did it as a child. My own son was too busy with football, wrestling, and golf to really get into horses or 4-H, but my stepdaughter loves animals and her careers change between vet, dog trainer, and now horse trainer. Anyway, the cavy leader for the group gave her the animal. We got her everything she needs to feed and care for it. Then her mom says it can't stay at their house until they move which is fine. I did ask her prior to moving forward with any of this to get permission from her as well since it is a large commitment.
My issue is this: when step-daughter is at our house she is engaged in activities. She practices her showmanship with the cavy. She loves going to the barn and doing barn chores. She actually cleaned all three stalls the other day while I was organizing tack. She read the entire horse project 4-H handbook and determined that more than anything she wants to learn to rope. I got her a cheap kids rope and she has spent hours practicing it in the yard roping fence posts and setting up challenges for herself. Then when she goes home the only activity she does is play video games or watch tv. Let's just say that her mom is not the outdoor active type. This also drives her dad nuts that there is so much screen time at her moms.
I've never been a step-parent before, and I know that I have to learn limits of how much I can interject, and I have not overstepped at all. I am very conscientious of overstepping or making anyone uncomfortable or angry. I want to have a smooth relationship. It has gotten different since we moved closer to them. We previously lived in Oklahoma with them in Arizona, then we moved to Arizona about 2 hours away, and recently we moved to the same town. It's an adjustment for everyone coupled with my bf's adjustment to civilian life.
I guess I just need to hear from others who successfully navigated this step-parenting thing with such differing styles of parenting. And get some ideas on dealing with my own feelings on the matter. Thanks in advance everyone.
to ride on a horse, is to fly without wings