How Important Are The Early Years? One Mother's Opinion
I have six boys. Three are my blood sons and three are my step sons. All were raised the same. The only difference was the early years when my step sons were with their birth mom. Is there a difference? Read on and then answer the question.
A Mother's Love Makes all the Difference in the World
I became the step mother of three lively boys when I married my husband. I had two sons already and we decided to have a child together and ended up with son number six. And yes, all six of them lived with us. My step son’s mother decided all of a “sudden”, the day after we got married, that she just could not raise her boys anymore and brought them to their father and me to raise about a week after we had tied the knot. Now my husband and I had talked about trying to get custody of his sons after we got married so it was a blessing in disguise that she did what she did, but I will always believe her motives were not pure. A few months after dropping the boys off with us, she moved back to our town as well.
The only problem with all of this was that, in my opinion, she did not ever make enough effort to have contact with her boys. She rarely called them and even though she lived in the same town, did not see them except for a rare few hours on a rare weekend. These little boys were ages 2, 5 and 6. They didn’t understand why their mother couldn’t take care of them anymore nor why she didn’t call them or why they couldn’t spend more time with them. My oldest step son especially was very close to his mom and struggled with this new arrangement. She eventually moved back to the city where they had been living which was a couple of states away.
Even then, she rarely called her boys and the first few years we had them, didn’t see much of them. They seemed to be happy. My sons got along well with them. They were very close in age with only 3 months separating my oldest and my husband’s oldest. My middle son and his middle son were about a year apart and when we had our son together, he joined the two sets of boys together.
Our family was a busy one. I worked full time as did my husband. The boys were in after school sports and I spent a lot of time running them to various practices. As they grew, I noticed a great deal of competition grow between the two oldest boys. They were the ones who did not get along the greatest and the ones who I had to get in between a few times to pull apart when things got a little heated. It wasn’t an ugly kind of competition, but one I considered normal. The rest of them acted like most brothers do; getting along for the most part and fighting a little here and there along the way. They all picked on the “baby” and he grew up very spoiled but protected by his older brothers.
My sons would spend most of their summers with my mother. One summer, she took all five of the older boys, but swore she would never do that again. So they took turns going to her house for the summer months. Then, as my step sons got older, their mother asked for them to spend summers with her. Only one summer did all three of them go and spend time with her, though. Other summers, it was one or two of them due to sports or jobs interfering. And still, during the months they spent with us, she had very sparse contact with them.
I could never understand how a mother could give up her children to have another woman raise them. I was a single mom for five years before my husband came along and I NEVER thought once of letting someone else raise my boys. I always cried when my boys left for my mother’s house for the summer. I talked to them on the phone practically every day while they were gone. I never understood how she could just let her sons go like she did and not call them. And while my step sons seemed ok, the damage was done.
My oldest step son was affected the most. He was a moody child, and he never did warm up to me the way his siblings did. I understand why in my head, but in my heart, it has been a struggle. Oh, he called me Mom, like the rest of them, but he never liked me. He lied and stole money out of my purse as he got older and let me believe it was one of the other boys. He constantly tried to blame one of the other kids even when it was obvious that it was he who had performed the transgression. Too often, one of the other boys got into trouble because of something he did and then lied about it.
My middle step son is a funny, loving person. He got along with everybody and would talk to anyone. He got along well with my oldest and they became friends as well as brothers. As he entered his teenage years, however, trouble started. He had been diagnosed as having ADHD and it was frustrating for him. He hated taking the medicine as it turned him into someone he wasn’t. At one point, he simply refused to take it anymore. At around the age of 15, he started hanging with the wrong crowd, started smoking pot and got into repeated trouble in school. His father and I tried everything we could think of but his behavior just continued. Finally we ended up sending him to the Job Corp with the hope that he would get his GED and be able to learn a trade. We also were trying to get him away from the bad element he had been hanging with. It didn’t work. He got himself kicked out of Job Corp and went to live with an Aunt. It went downhill from there. He recently got out of prison after serving 12 years for armed robbery.
My youngest step son is a sweet young man. He was still a baby when he came to us, just two years old, but already older than most two year olds even then. He got along well with his brothers and managed to live with us until he was 17. He got into trouble then when he took a friend’s car, without having a license yet, and got tagged for DUI. He also ran with the wrong crowd and started taking drugs. His dad and I sent him to live with his mother. A huge mistake. He did end up finishing high school, but she just allowed him to do pretty much what he wanted to do. Our house always had rules to follow. Now he is 28 years old and working in the fast food industry. He has a beautiful baby boy who he tries very hard to take good care of but is planning on moving in a few weeks to be near his oldest brother. I am afraid this move will result in disaster.
This is a lot of history to bring me to the point of this story. My “blood” sons, the ones I carried in my body, are doing well. The “baby” is married and has a good job. They own their own condo and have 4 cars between them. My middle son is also married and they own their own home. He is working for the Highway Patrol in our state until he is able to start their academy in January. My oldest is engaged to a wonderful girl. He has two beautiful step children and is going to school learning to cut hair. He wants to own his own barber shop when he is done. He will graduate in July. He has always worked, but has always wanted to be his own boss.
None of my blood sons has ever given us any of the kind of trouble that my step sons have. They all were raised together and treated the same way. They were loved and cared for. The only difference is in the early years when my step sons lived in very poor conditions with their birth mom and the abandonment they had to feel when she left them with us. I know in my head they were much better off with us, but the damage she did to them is so apparent in the things they have chosen to do with their lives as opposed to what my blood sons have chosen to do.
I think what spurred me to write this is that there is now some trouble between my oldest step son and my oldest blood son. They are not speaking and it hurts my heart. Hopefully they will mend fences at some point, but the saddest thing about all of this is that my step son is no longer speaking to me, either. I know he had never liked me, but I fear that he will try to turn the other two boys against me, too. Unfortunately, they have always tended to follow his lead in things and that has not been a good thing. He talks a big game but when things go to hell, people around him pay the price and he is the only one left standing. It has been that way since he was little. And with my youngest step son moving to the city where he lives now, I am so afraid for him. I see nothing but bad things coming from this move, but I fear that if I say anything, it will do no good, either.
Even though my boys are all grown men now, it is so hard to sit back and not say anything when I see trouble headed their way. I love them all so much. I hope they know this. I also am aware enough to know that my oldest son’s hatred of me has perhaps trickled into my other sons minds as well. It is a pain like no other. This past Mother’s Day was the first one in which I heard nothing from my step sons. Their birth mom died about 5 years ago and it was she who got the mother’s day wishes from the oldest on his facebook page.