As a stepmom we get a lot of input from both acquaintances and strangers that is unwelcome, hurtful, and frankly pretty rude.
(I know that biomoms get this too, but in my experience I have found society to be a little less friendly with stepmothers.)
We walk a fine line juggling our husband, the ex-wife, the kids, and learning how to handle it all without overstepping our boundaries. All while trying to keep everyone happy. Amidst it all, we get to worry about what someone will say if we post about loving our kids. Or what comments we may get when we try to participate in a conversation with traditional moms. Or god forbid, we say something negative about any of it.
I’ve made a list of the top three things that I HATE hearing the most about my role as a childless stepmom. Whether out of pure ignorance or intentional hurtfulness, I think we can all agree that these words sting. If we can help de-stigmatize blended family life then maybe we can get the word out that people should just stop saying these things.
“You’ll understand when you have kids of your own.”
I find this one hurtful because I am raising these two as if they were my own. I love them and want them to succeed more than anything in the world. I mean, this IS my family. I mean, what am I going to understand? Am I going to understand why some people parent differently? Am I going to understand why moms are so protective over their little ones? Am I going to understand why parents get so frustrated? News flash : I do parent. I understand all of these. I know that I may eat my words whenever I do have my own biological kids, but until then I wish everyone would just keep this comment to themselves.
“It’s different with your own kid.”
This one gets me because it makes it seem like since these two aren’t biologically mine that I must not love them fully. When people say this to me all I can think is that they definitely do not understand my love for my stepkids. I cannot imagine loving anyone or any child more than I love these two. I treat them just like I plan to treat my own children, because I do consider them my own. It just reminds me that people who are not in a blended family have no clue of what it’s really like. They cannot fathom the complexity of feelings involved.
“Well, you’re not a ‘real mom’.”
For me, this one is the absolute worst. It gets my blood boiling like no other. A few unkind words come to mind when someone has the audacity to utter this to me. As if I haven’t potty trained. As if I wasn’t there to hold them when they woke up crying from nightmares. As if I don’t hang up every piece of art they make me. As if I didn’t heal boo-boo’s. As if I didn’t teach life lessons. As if I don’t love them with my whole heart. As if I somehow am less than because I didn’t give birth. No one would dare to say this to an adoptive mother. I stepped into my stepmother role, and I fully embraced the maternal part of it. Stepmothers are mothers too. Motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes, and titles, and I do not think anyone has the authority to say what is/is not qualified. Yeah, this one cuts me to the core.
These are just a few of the hurtful words we hear on a very regular basis, and can I just say, it sucks.
It makes us feel like we aren’t good enough. Like our position isn’t important. Like we are glorified babysitters who are good enough to watch the children but not make decisions. Like we are not a real family until we give birth.
This could not be furthest from the truth. Stepmama, we are vitally important cornerstones in our blended family dynamic. We get the groceries, do the laundry, brush the hair, lay out the clothes, teach, discipline, play, and everything in between. We make sure the shhh gets done. Whether we are just waiting to have our own “ours baby,” maybe we’ve tried and it just isn’t happening right now, or maybe we are completely happy with our blended family. No matter what, we are trying our best to thrive in our role as a stepmom. We are just loving our babes while navigating our blended family stressors. No, society may not understand you or your role as a stepmama, but that does not make you or your role any less important. Your beau loves you, your babes love you, and you are appreciated whether they remember to remind you or not.
So, don’t let those little comments get under your skin. Shake it off and hold your head high. You are the queen of your castle, and don’t let anyone make you feel any less.
Love your family, love yourself, & live your happiest life.
xo – jessicanicole.