Real Mama: Erin Patterson

Anyone can imagine that being a step-parent and becoming a blended family isn’t easy. This well rounded, passionate, and inspiring step-mama has embraced her role head on. She makes it all look easy and makes being a step-mom fun.

Tell us a little bit about yourself….

My name is Erin and anyone who knows me would probably say that I’m this outgoing girl who is always smiling and having a great time. I love to be active and surrounded by positive people. My life can get busy and crazy, but I welcome it!

I consider myself to be a passionate person and when I do something, I put all I have into it. I’m engaged to this amazing man named Ian and we are currently planning a June 2014 wedding. After dating for a while, I got to meet a big part of Ian’s life, his son Aiden and thus began my role as a step-mom! 

To be quite honest, I never wanted to be a step-mom because all I could think about was kids who look at step-parents as evil people and want NOTHING to do with them (obviously that is the furthest thing from the truth)! I didn’t want to be looked at as someone’s “evil step-mother”!

However, being in the role of step-mom has been nothing short of an adventure and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It has made me look at things in a whole new perspective.

Where is home?

Home is Pasadena, Maryland at our townhouse with my fiancé, Aiden, and our two crazy dogs. What I love most about our neighborhood is that is a quaint waterfront, with private beach access, a boardwalk, pool, and tennis court. It one of those neighborhoods where kids can play outside and everyone looks out for each other.

What kind of mama do you consider yourself to be? (Are you a working mama, stay at home mama, part time working mama)

Honestly, all three! Lol! I know that’s crazy, but with how my schedule was when I was doing my internship for my Masters and then going back to my old job part time; I was doing a little bit of it all.

It did work out though, because once I was done my degree, I took a couple months off and I was able to be home in the mornings to get Aiden ready for school and put him on the bus and then Ian was home in time to get him off the bus.

Not being the child’s biological mama, what do you find is the hardest thing about parenting? What is the easiest?

I think of the hardest things was the disciplining (and could happen again once he gets older). Ian always supported me and told me; “he needs to learn to listen to you when you tell him to do something” which gave me a lot of confidence in sticking to my guns.

He would test me at first (which I figured would happen) but I stayed strong and consistent with him and eventually he started to realize he didn’t have the choice of not listening.

One of the easiest things was forming our own bond. We would do things together as a family (vacations, parties, cook-outs, museums, fairs, sporting events etc.) and then he and I would do our own things together as well. It could be anything from going to the library or the movies to baking cookies, playing games or just being silly together.

Aiden is a great kid, so bonding with him came so easy and naturally. As he’s gotten older, he is starting to form is own personality and I love being able to watch him grow. I already see a huge difference in him being in first grade compared to last year being in Kindergarten. He keeps me on my toes and constantly surprises me with some of the things that come out of his mouth. Ian and Aiden lived in England for a while due to Ian being in the military, so Aiden told me they would have bachelor nights.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a mama?

Don’t worry about being perfect and pleasing everyone. You have to look at your life and what works for you. Every family is different and handles situations in a different manner. I look at Aiden and Ian and as long as they are happy and healthy, life is good and everything else will eventually fall into place.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My mom and my soon to be mother-in-law are my inspirations. They both are amazing mothers and who raised great children. They constantly remind me that I’m doing the best I can and that regardless of situations, I am great with Aiden and he does see it and he’s lucky to have me. They are my cheering section for Team Step-Mom and it reminds me that I can do this!

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama?

As a step-mom the best advice I was given was to make our own family traditions. Growing up, I had some great traditions with my family that I now have carried on and then of course, we have made our own which is the special part. It allows us to bond and make memories that Aiden will have all through his childhood.

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

I would like to think so! It’s a little different in my situation because I started being a mom to Aiden when he was four, so I had to bond with him and gain his trust and let him know that I am here for him. I’m sure when I have kids of my own, my parenting style might change again, but right now, I’m just trying to be the best step-mom I can be.

If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

Does it only have to be one person!? Can I have a lunch date with a few people?? If I had to choose it would be Marilyn Monroe. I am slightly obsessed with her and LOVED that she embraced all her imperfections and wasn’t afraid to make mistakes as a person.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The power to multiply myself so I can be everywhere at once! I hate to miss things, but when life gets in the way, things tend to get crazy and I find myself having to go somewhere but miss something else.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Settled in our own house with a big yard, hopefully on the water (fingers crossed) and with one or two more kids with Ian. I have a four year old nephew who Aiden is great with, so I would love to see him as a big brother.

How has your mothering evolved? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore you wouldn’t do?

Well my mothering evolved from non-existent to full head-on, so I’m sure there are plenty of mistakes I have made along the way, but you learn from them and you move on. No one is perfect and I’m sure when I have kids of my own, I will do stuff I swore I wouldn’t do. You never know what you will do until you are put in that particular situation.

Do you have a mama mantra or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

This too shall pass! If you have a great support system, you can get through anything no matter how tough. You just have to allow yourself room for error and realize that the only person judging you, is you.

Is there anything else you wish to share with the Mama Say What?! Audience?

I know the bond between a child and their biological mother is a bond that can’t be broken, no matter what the circumstances are and step-moms do realize that. We have no intentions of trying to steal that away. We have our own relationship of a different kind with the child and we are happy with that. Also, the word “step-mom” is not evil, and I appreciate the chance to talk about things from a step-mom perspective.

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