When I met my husband I was all cheesy, love at first sight, head over heels, butterflies fluttering, couldn’t catch my breath, giggly school girl. I know I know YUCK! But it’s true, I knew I wanted to marry him the first time I saw him.
Sounds amazing right? Well, it was amazing and complicated and a little scary because mixed in with all my butterflies fluttering around me was my ex-husband, his ex-wife, a beautiful little girl, a whole slew of in-laws/parents, a gaggle of people’s opinions, court dates, rules, a lot of emotions flying, and a freaking cute dog.
I had to be very honest with myself. Should I even go on a first date with this man? What if it is amazing and works out? What if it works out so well that someday we want to get married? That would make me a Stepmom and I didn’t know if I could do that. Can I love a man and his child? A child I didn’t make who won’t look like me. Will I be able to treat her like my own and keep her from feeling like a stepchild or outsider in my life? What if she doesn’t like me? What kind of life will we have if his ex-wife is always around? Will she cause problems? Will we get along someday? These are just a few of the questions that flooded my mind as I got ready for our first official date. Some pretty heavy shit compared to the normal what dress should I wear.
Well, obviously, I didn’t chicken out on our first date but, I did think long as hard about all my questions. The question that kept coming back to me was “what does it mean to be a Stepmom? ” The answer is different for all of us.
For me, I knew the kind of Stepmom I would be because I already knew the kind of Mom I would be. I grew up watching my Mom “be a Mom” she taught me how to treat people no matter how they came to be in my life. I knew I could love a child even if I didn’t carry her around for 9 months. That part felt easy.
But knowing what kind of Stepmom I wanted to be didn’t answer my question. What does it mean to be a Stepmom? Does it mean …
To care for someone else’s child?
To sacrifice your time, money, energy to a child that you didn’t bring into this world?
To spend time playing games, making messes, and learning about each other?
To share your husband with another women?
To combine households?
To have to communicate with a woman you might not like?
Introducing his, hers, and mine? How will your children and his children get along?
Having less? Will you be able to afford a child?
Having more? More fun, more people in your life, more adventures, more love, and more laundry!
Giving up your privacy?
Dealing with jealousy, hate, lies, and drama?
Sharing your life with your new family, growing together, and making each other better people?
Now I know, It means all of this and so much more. Honestly, it is what you make of it. You can truly make a complicated unappealing arrangement into a wonderful situation. Will you be helping to care for someone else’s child? Yes, but it’s a child that you can love. Is there a big chance that child will push back or tell you a 100 times they don’t love you, maybe but don’t let that stop you from loving them.
When you make the choice to become a Stepmom make the choice to be the kind of Stepmom that makes a positive impact on your newly blended family. Don’t let the bad days ruin everything. All families have bad days: nuclear, step, foster, blended, adopted, or some combination they all have bad days. You are going to have great days, good days, and bad days but choose to focus on the good, stay positive, make a choice and stick with it. It won’t be easy but YOU can do it and I’m here to help you.