I haven’t mentioned this before, but I’ve become a pseudo step-mum. I say pseudo because Rufus and I are not married, and his two sons are 16 and 13, so they’re pretty grown up and not looking for another “mummy” figure.

But all the same, about six months ago, I met them for the first time, and now they come and stay with us for weekends a few times a month.

I am secretly a little spun-out by it all.

I want Rufus to have a good relationship with his kids, and in theory I wanted to meet them and get to know them. And now we have our own on the way (touch wood), I want them all to know and love each other. But I have to admit I enjoyed the long honeymoon I had before knowing them.

Having two teenagers suddenly camping out in our house, permanently connected to a Playstation or laptop, is a bit irritating. Conversation is pretty rare – the younger can be enticed into a game of Jenga, but the elder has plugged himself fully into the Matrix. They seem to view Rufus as a bank, even though we have never, ever been broker, and they constantly ask for new stuff.

It’s awkward having this role in their life. I have tried to get off on the right foot, sending them both to visit their uncles in Brazil to learn Portugese. We only bought the tickets after asking them if they wanted to go, and they were really excited about it.

But the eldest has had second thoughts since then and ended up sulking for a few weeks before they left yesterday. He doesn’t want to leave his girlfriend. He accused his mother of “tricking him” into going, and tried to back out altogether, and I’m afraid he’s spend the whole time mooching about and not enjoy himself at all, or learn any Portugese, or make any new friends. He doesn’t do very much outside of school, sleeping and his computer – he’s always “too tired” or “too lazy” to play any sport, or even serve himself a drink (he makes his younger brother fetch for him).

I am pretty pissed off about his behaviour, to be honest – I think he’s behaving like a spoiled brat, and he doesn’t seem to see what a great opportunity this could be for him. I would have been thrilled to have this kind of chance at the same age, and my parents always expected me to put effort into everything I did. I don’t see how he’ll ever be happy if he doesn’t have any interests or friends, and no fire in his belly to do anything with his life.

I think part of the problem is cultural – Peruvians in general are soooo indulgent of their children. They are like little princesses and princelings. We Anglos are just as loving, despite what Latinos say about our “frio” culture, but value discipline more. I find myself thinking there is no way I want our child to be so indulged he or she doesn’t think about the feelings of others.

Anyway, I have got my knickers in a major twist about it all. Maybe it is just a general freak-out. I never wanted to be a step-mum! I don’t know what to do with these boys! I don’t even understand them half the time (they use lots of Peruvian slang and no English)! I am a selfish person! I will be a bad mother!

Maybe it is just a reaction to being swamped by family over Christmas. I like personal space, but haven’t had any since late December and now R’s mother, who is actually pretty cool, is staying with us for a whole month! (So not cool)

Or maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones making it all seem so much worse.







One thought on “Step-mutha

  1. I hear what you are saying. My 13 year old nephew can’t look up from his computer (or new iPhone) enough to engage in the world around him. He’s switching schools so I asked him to tell me about the new school and why he wanted to go there – and he couldn’t respond. “Um…” (20 seconds of silence) “I don’t know”. His mom took his iPhone away from him so he could focus on responding to my question but more silence… This went on for 5 minutes – and I never got an answer from him, his mom had to explain about it all. I have thought a lot since then about how I want to raise my child to be able to interact with people and be interested in others. I hope your step son “steps up” on this trip (but I know it’s unlikely)!

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