Caption: Me with King Ron (one of my favorite young people & our favorite host) & DJ Mike P. I met both of them when we worked together on Teens in the Park (TIP) Fest.
One of the most important roles that I have is being a bonus mom. I take this role very seriously because (1) I do not have biological children of my own yet and (2) I believe that it is a part of my purpose on this earth. My first career was that of a teacher, largely because I have always enjoyed helping people to get from a place of not knowing… to knowing. Even now as an Executive Director, a large part of my job is to teach, to share, to facilitate.
I had breakfast with one of my by blessing suns DJ Mike P today. Mike and I met a few years ago when he was selected as an influencer for Teens in the Park (TIP) Fest and Donda’s House was selected as a partner. I was quickly impressed with Mike’s professionalism, his energy and his work ethic. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Mike is now the official DJ on WCIU’s “The Jam” and is probably the youngest DJ on TV right now.
Caption: Me with another one of my by blessing songs Hex Hectic.
On my way home, I started thinking about what it means to be a bonus mom and wanted to share some tips for those who find themselves as bonus moms or bonus dads.
(1) Understand that your by blessing children have biological parents. – As a step mom and mentor to many, I never want to replace or overshadow biological parents. I also never want to contradict them. I see my role as more of an assistant coach or an accessory to my by blessing children’s lives.
(2) Consistency is super important. – The most important thing you can do is be consistent. Show up when you say you’re going to show up. Check-in when you say you’re going to check in. Honor your promises and your commitments.
Caption: Me and my step son Solomon, who will be 20 this year! I’ve known him since he was 10 years old [insert dramatic ugly cry]. Where has the time gone?
(3) Be an accountability partner. – Learn about your by blessing child’s goals and dreams and help them in any way that you can. As an accountability partner, your goal is to make sure they are doing what they can to make their goals and dreams come true. If they are not, it is important to redirect them. If you notice someone around them is shady or may be taking advantage of them, warn them just as you would your own biological child.
(4) Check in regularly. Life happens fast. Don’t wait until there is a crisis to catch up. Share funny messages. When you think about them send them a text or give them a call.
Caption: Me and John The Author, another by blessing sun!
(5) Celebrate milestones. When they accomplish amazing things celebrate with them. Mark birthdays, weddings, and other life milestones. Share experiences from your own journey including your milestones. It’s super cliche but true – experience is the best teacher!
(6) Be vulnerable. Share pieces of your journey. Your challenges. Your mistakes etc. You don’t want your by blessing child to think that life is perfect. You want them to learn how you address challenges and problems so that they can take pieces from your journey and apply it to their own lives.