Nobody wants to be a stepmother. It is not a fairytale. I remember dreaming about the day I disappear off into the sunset with a man of my dreams. Marry that man on the top of the mountain….…I would raise another woman’s child. I will hear things like “you’re not my Mom” and will be called by my first name. My partner has a nine-year-old daughter. I moved countries and followed my heart. In no time, I became a stepmom.
Stepparents are very discredited for all the effort and love they put into their stepchildren. Being a stepmom is one of the most difficult parenting roles to take on in a blended family. Stepmoms experience significantly greater anxiety and depression than biological mothers. They have an awful rep. The words “evil” and “stepmother” go together, thanks, in large part, to Disney movies. When in need of a villain, it seems the heroine’s stepmom is the first choice. In the name of all stepparents, I will step up to Disney and show how incredible we are. We endure a lot and we give a lot. It’s time to be acknowledged.
You Are Not The Parent
I will never be her biological mother. Even if her mother rarely sees and spends quality time with her. Even is my partner’s daughter calls me “Mum, I will never have the same rights and privileges as her biological mother. One thing is handling the truth of you not being the parent of your partner’s child, the thought ugly truth is that I am childless. I feel underestimated because surely I has no ability to care for kids when I has none of her own. When a woman is not a biological parent herself, there is a certain grey area surrounding mothering. It hurts.
You Are An Outsider
Often I feel isolated as if there is a family unit in my home but I am not a member. My partner and his child have unique experiences and memories that they have shared for a long time. I was not there. Naturally, my partner would dote on his daughter and the two of them would enjoy reminiscing about memories they shared, pictures and toddler videos. Their behaviour was innocent but it always made me feel like an “outsider”.How can I that when his kid is here, all of a sudden I feel as though you are no longer part of the family? It sounds so selfish!
You Are Expendable
The moment I became a stepparent my self-esteem was put to the ultimate test. The times when his daughter ignored me, blocked me on the friend list and the times the decisions in my life were dictated by her biological mother, were the times when my mental health suffered. I became overwhelmed with anger, resentment and even jealousy. Handling the truth that I am are the priority in the relationship and number one to my partner is quite hard. I have various roles in our household. Some days I am the leading lady. Some days a stagehand. And on the dark days, I am not in the scene at all. After all, there is no law anchoring me to my family. He really could be gone at any moment. If my partner leaves me, so would his daughter. In an instant, I would lose my whole family. I would lose a daughter who I learned to love so dearly.
You Don’t Impress That Much
My stepdaughter naturally wishes to please my partner first. She doesn’t look for the approval or advice from me. I am aware that it is nothing personal. The need to impress her biological parents runs on a much deeper level. Her father is the authority figure, listening and respecting me, on the other hand, is optional. I have learned that knowing when to step back is very important to survive in a blended family. Learning to be physically and emotionally available when my stepdaughter needs me helped me straighten our relationship.
You CAN Make A Difference
Once you establish a steady relationship with your stepchild, you can become an essential contribution to its life. I believe that I have a good influence on my stepdaughter. I have cared, nurtured and loved her as my own. I have supported her in expressing her creative and artistic side. I wish she doesn’t give up on her talents and achieves greatness later in life. I will make sure to be by her side every step of the way. Our relationship flourishes because we both know I’m not her mother.
I’ve never tried to “replace” her biological mother nor have I ever suggested she call me mom. I am too young for that! She turns to me when she wants to go swimming, shopping, drawing or play video games. Few times she told me she feels “extra cool” when we’re in the spa together. Sometimes we pick for each other clothes. Once she looked up to me and said: “You are so beautiful”. It was the best compliment I have ever received because it came from a 9-year-old child. It was honest, innocent and it made me cry. We both enjoy annoying her father when he works late and doesn’t spend much time with us.
She sighs and rolls her eyes at me every time I ask her to practice English and Maths, but in the end, she does her homework anyway. Her tendencies to procrastinate anger me and with no desire to do anything other than play Minecraft, she is incredibly lazy. She is also prone to tantrums whenever something doesn’t go her way. She reminds me of someone. She reminds me of myself. Often I doubt myself as a stepmother. But I don’t ever doubt my relationship with my stepchild. I am happy. I am fortunate to have a healthy, unique relationship with my daughter.
Knowing and loving her has made me a better, less selfish person.