Things I wish someone told me before I became a Stepmom…

I always thought the term stepparent comes from the fact that you as ‘step-in’ as parent.  The word actually comes from the 8th century word ‘steop-’,  which means orphan.

Our kids have never been orphans and I like my interpretation of the word a lot more.  I hate the word stepmom, mostly because of all the negative connotations that the word have.   In our house we talk about the Other Mom.  If I have to speak to someone I always refer to myself as the ‘Other Mom.’  So much so that The Littlest Mouse used to ask why she only has one mom.   ‘Other Mom’ or ‘Stepmom’,  we are all just doing the best we can.

If I could go back in time and tell my naive, younger self what to expect there is a few things I would warn her about being a stepmom.  I love being a mom and I love all my children but there is some things about being a stepmom that you never even think about before it applies to you.

 

1)   Disney hates you

Disney, Rapunzel, stepmom, family, stepdaughter

 

Cinderella’s stepmother is abusive and jealous of her beauty.  The Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs tries to murder Snow White.  Mother Gothel in Tangled keeps Rapunzel locked away to steal her youth by using her magical hair.

According to Disney as a Stepmother I will either poison you, use you as a slave or lock you in a tower.  These are the stereotypes our little girls get poisoned with and we have to fight constantly.

 

2)  There is no place for you in the school system

chalkboard blackboard school learning lesson teacher classroom teaching chalk back to school education family

 

Even though I supervise most of the homework and organise the schedules of our five kids and drive them to their activities, I will not be the one that receives the notes or speak to the teacher.  Notes on sport days and parent teacher conferences will be send to mom or arranged with mom and dad.  I will always be playing catch-up with the information.  Any problems or information has to be shared with the parent and even though you have all the responsibilities as a parent you will have none of the rights.

 

3)   People say really stupid things

I’ve have heard a whole range of stupid things that people said to me when they hear that I’m a stepparent like

–   “Which kids are yours?”-

They are all mine.  Do you think I stole some of them at the supermarket?

–   “You are not suppose to discipline your stepchildren.”-

So I should just let them run around doing whatever they like till their father is there to do the discipline, even when they are putting themselves in danger?  Should I just wait around while they             play with matches and burn the house down?

–   “You must love your own kids more.”-

I love ALL of my children.  With five children there is always one you love more at a particular time, usually it is the one that is giving you the least amount of trouble at that moment.

 

4)  You will never be the Mother that gets the ‘Thank You’ and burned toast on Mothers Day

Awkward mother's day card mom mother family

You will do all the things a mother does for none of the recognition.

You will wipe butts, noses, faces, kiss them goodnight, read them stories, help with homework and even wipe tears away but you will never be the mom that gets the burned toast on Mothers Day.  You will probably not even see them on Mothers Day as this is the special day that they will spend with their real mom.   40 % of married couples with children in the US are stepparents.   If Hallmark really wants to make money they should invent a special holiday for stepparents.

 

5)  You will never be their ‘Real Mom’.

What makes a mother real?

Is it the fact that you gave birth to the children or is it that you raise your children with care and affection?  Is a real mom someone who loves, provide and protect her children?

I have never had the words ‘You are not my real mom’ thrown in my face but as my girls are still on their way to puberty, I’m sure that day will come.  As a stepparent you always feel that you have to work a bit harder to be loved.  Sometimes when your kid is angry with one of the other parents the anger will be directed at you.  Sometimes you will have to keep quiet to keep the peace.  The fact that I came into my children’s lives a little bit later does not mean that I love them any less.   According to the book The Velveteen Rabbit you are real when you are loved.  This makes me a very real mother indeed.

 

6)   Balance is a really hard thing to master

balance stone sunset  calm sea sunset

And I fail all the time.

A stepmom don’t just walk into a marriage, you walk into a whole new life with lots of people in it.   Sometimes this can be difficult to navigate.  Sometimes you will think that you are being supportive but you might be overstepping boundaries that you did not even know exist.  Sometimes it is necessary to give yourself a little bit of space before you get upset.  You have to be flexible if there is three different family schedules that have to be balanced.

To quote Einstein, ‘ Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.’   If you fail and someone is upset just let it go and move on.  You can try again tomorrow.  As parents we can only do the best we can with the information we have at that moment.

 

7)   All children are Angels

baby hand kids angels mom mother family love

Every single mother knows that kids are definitely not Angels.   As a stepmom you can never, ever, ever complain about your kids.   You cannot say the kids are driving me nuts today.   You will hear the famous words;  ‘You knew what you were getting yourself into’.    Every mother knows that sometimes you just need to let of steam and know that you are not the only one whose children are ungrateful little monsters.  As a stepmom you better be very careful to whom you say this too as this will be taken as proof that you do not love your stepchildren.   Or that you do not treat them well.

The littlest mouse once asked me;  ‘how do you have enough love for everybody –  there is so many of us?’  I explained that a mother grows a new heart for every child she has.  All my kids may not have grown in my womb but I have grown a separate heart for every one and if you asks me which one do I love the most my answer would be:

I care about the child that needs me more that day, but I love every single one.

Even though I wish I could have warned my younger self just how hard it would be somedays, I would also say it is worth it.

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This post was linked here:   Marvelous Monday    Mommy Monday   Monday Madness  Manic Mondays  Meet-Up Monday   Let Kids Be Kids   Mum-Bo Monday   Tinkly Tuesday  Turn It up Tuesday   A Little R & R  Wine’d Down Wednesday  Share with me   All things with Purpose   Get Your Shine On  Thriving on Thursday  Brilliant Blog Post  This is How We Roll

 

Epic Mommy Adventures
217 replies
  1. Catherine Holt
    Catherine Holt says:

    You are so right…”what makes a real mum”. A real mum is not someone who gives birth, she is someone who is there day in and day out dealing with all the big (and little things).

    Thanks for linking up to Marvelous Monday on Smart Party Planning.

  2. Meredith
    Meredith says:

    I’ve been a stepmom to two groups of kids. The first one didn’t stick but those three kids were awesome. It felt like the brady bunch to me. The second time, it was much harder but it stuck. We’ve made major gains and all of the blood sweat and tears were worth it. I think that if we knew what to expect we wouldn’t take on this honorable role. Plus, people who had bad experiences with stepparents tend to be the hardest on stepparents (ie, adults). LOL Hang in there! It’s worth it.

  3. Jessy @ The Life Jolie
    Jessy @ The Life Jolie says:

    Thank you for posting this- I have a good friend who is about to become a step mom and I think this would be very helpful to her- I’ll definitely be sending this her way.

    I stopped by from Monday Madness.

  4. Marianne
    Marianne says:

    Wow, raising your own kids is challenging enough. I greatly admire those who are also raising someone else’s . A good friend of mine is a step-mom to 3 kids (plus having 4 of her own) and I am constantly amazed at her strength and resilience.
    You all deserve a medal.
    Marianne
    http://www.preciselyhousewifely.com

    PS: Stopping by from Marvelous Mondays linky party.

  5. Coombe Mill
    Coombe Mill says:

    This post has really made me think, what a hard job you have and I feel for you with the girls coming up the age they are. So well written and it sounds like you are doing the most amazing job. Popping by from Let kids be Kids

  6. Let kids be kids
    Let kids be kids says:

    I had never thought of half of these things, but I can see how every one of them is true. It is a tough job being a stepmother.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  7. Fionnuala
    Fionnuala says:

    I’ve heard a few of these points from a friend who is a stepmother to two great girls. She’s about to give birth to a daughter “of her own” as people say. I must point her in the direction of this piece.
    #twinkly Tuesday

  8. jennifer Abel
    jennifer Abel says:

    Thanks for sharing your post @ #mum-bomonday. I think it is a hard thing to be a step parent and you have given great insight for people that are about to become a step parent!

  9. Divorced Kat
    Divorced Kat says:

    I have wondered a lot about my future with regards to motherhood. I think I’m open to the idea of stepmotherhood, but I recognize it’s very complicated. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  10. Angela
    Angela says:

    I didn’t realize the true depth of loneliness or complication that goes along with being the other mom. I do know that there are kids out there who recognize the other mom and even have better relationships with her than they do with dad. But you may not see that fruit until yours are older. That’s when they’ll be old enough to understand a little better. Then, I believe you WILL get some burnt toast. Or maybe some nice jewelry when they are older and making tons of money. 🙂

  11. Mariet
    Mariet says:

    Thank you for stopping by. It’s the first time that I’ve joined Marvelous Monday, but you will see me again.

  12. Mariet
    Mariet says:

    Thank you Meredith. I think what you say is very true. We tend to learn as we go along. It is definitely worth it though.

  13. Mariet
    Mariet says:

    Thank you Jessy. I don’t think you can ever be prepared enough even though I love my kids with all my heart, but then I don’t think anyone can prepare you for how you life change when you become a mom either.

  14. Mariet
    Mariet says:

    It’s a pleasure and thank you for stopping by. Being a mom or a stepmom is a wonderful experience in completely different ways. Good luck.

  15. Hayley @ House of many Minions
    Hayley @ House of many Minions says:

    Such a beautiful post. I grew up with a stepdad, but he is my Dad in every sense of the worth except biological. My Dad’s side of the family are my family, by love not blood.

    I can’t imagine the minefield it could potentially be, navigating your way through ‘step’ parenting & I imagine it largely has a lot to do with support from everyone surrounding you all. Your definition, a step in parent, nails it. Because you do step in & take these children under your wing as you would/do your own.

  16. Corinne
    Corinne says:

    My parents divorced when I was 9 and my mother remarried. I always considered my stepfather my “real” dad. Because society places a higher parenting burden on the mother, I think it was much easier for him though he did struggle with some of the things you mention (navigating discipline was difficult the first couple of years). Thank you for sharing your perspective on this since I hope it will help others be more considerate in situations like these. And thank you for linking up your post at This Is How We Roll Thursday.

  17. Natalie @ our parallel connection
    Natalie @ our parallel connection says:

    What an inspiring post you have written. I am not a step mum but my sister is and this is just what she needs to read. I love the disney comment, yep steps are always evil. But my favourite is the balance – you are put in a challenging situation and you have no choice but to handle it ( and I don’t always mean the child – adults are worse).

  18. Jenny
    Jenny says:

    Oh bless you I can’t imagine how tough it must be being a stepmom and especially on mother’s day. YOu are too right here and my momma is a stepmom to all my siblings and I know she has had it tough too. I give you props for all that you doing. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  19. Lisa (Mummascribbles)
    Lisa (Mummascribbles) says:

    Great post – it’s not something I ever think about but I can’t believe some if the things youve written – specifically, which kids are yours! I think any mother is wonderful but it takes someone specisl to take on someone else’s kids. Thanks for linking up with #twinklytuesday

  20. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    Being the step-mom to 2 has not been an easy journey. I have had the awkward Mother’s Days and the moments where I didn’t know where to be or even who to be because I knew I was not their ‘real’ mom. I hate that we lost so much time trying to feel our way through the whole step of it all but I am glad that as they got older and I got wiser it became less of a strain and a bit more natural. Love this post and the insight you give to such a misunderstood role.

  21. Krista Mounsey
    Krista Mounsey says:

    Thank you for this! As a bonus mom myself (I don’t like the negative connotations put on “step” parent either)….I can see all of these in my life. Thank you for this!

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