Life Parenting

Saturday 30 August 2014

Pamela Flood: Step-motherhood has made my life all the richer

As she prepares to tie the knot at the end of the summer, Pamela Flood gushes about another much loved boy in her life

Published 06/06/2014 | 11:33

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Pamela Flood says being an unofficial step mother has made her life all the richer
Not Going to the chapel: Pamela Flood and Ronan Ryan are getting married in September. Photo: Kieran Harnett
Not Going to the chapel: Pamela Flood and Ronan Ryan are getting married in September. Photo: Kieran Harnett

I guess it’ll be official when my partner Ronan and I tie the knot at the end of the summer, but for the last six years I’ve been an unofficial stepmum to Ronan’s son Zach.

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He was only six going on seven when I met him so by now I’ve been watching him grow up for almost half of his entire life. It’s been interesting and fun for both of us. Zach is a very loving, heart-on-his-sleeve young man and has made being a stepmum an absolute pleasure for me. I promise you I’m not writing this so he’ll read it and award me brownie points, because if you ask anyone who knows or has encountered him, he is one of the loveliest kids you could ever meet. He’s thoughtful, kind, hilarious and an amazing brother to his younger siblings. In fact Harrison has a real hero worship thing going on, which I love because if he turns out half as nice as Zach is, I’ll be a very happy mammy.

I don’t have any friends in a similar situation whom I would speak to regularly about it, but I know from reading plenty on the topic that I’m definitely one of the lucky ones in this regard. I know that a lot of children resent a new person coming into their life and stealing attention from their parent.

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It can be a tricky area when it comes to reprimanding. There are many times when it’s just me here with Zach, as Ronan is at work. As the responsible adult and guardian I think you

have a duty to act like one, but ultimately any big chats about issues should be with the parents, I believe. Zach has a father and mother in his life; he doesn’t need an extra one. Also, I think even though we’ll be stepson and stepmother I have to remember that it was fate – and Ronan – who were responsible for bringing Zach and me together. We didn’t choose each other, so our relationship is one that had to be nurtured, and grew over time. I believe it’s a delicate dynamic at times; there’s nothing in the rule book that says Zach and I have to love each other and get along, but what a waste it would be if we didn’t.  

Watching him grow up has been a wonderful insight for me into the world of a young boy, a real learning curve. I can only think that in years to come our relationship will be as strong as ever and that we’ll be the best of pals as well as ‘step people’. It also makes me smile to think that one day, not so far away, I’ll be talking to a fully grown young man and we’ll be laughing about what he got up to as a kid, and I as the adult will remember all the funny stuff he used to do.  I look forward to reminding him of it all. It blows my mind a little that in the future there will stand a gorgeous man inside and out and how lucky I was that by chance I got to be involved in his life. He has certainly made mine all the richer.

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