Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and don’t judge a situation unless you have walked in those same shoes. Those are two phrases we hear often. Being a stepparent is hard. We are not the biological parent, but are still very much so, still a parent. Many who have never been in our shoes often have confused ideas of who we are, what we are here for, and why we are here.
I think the number one person in most blended family situations that is the most confused about us is the bio-parent. They are often defensive and unwelcoming of another parent entering not only their children’s lives, but also theirs. I have come to realize over the years, that while I know my stepson will be in my life forever, so will his mother. So, for you, bio-mom. Here are 5 ideas of me that you have in your mind that are far from true.
- “You are trying to take my role as Mom!”
I most definitely am not trying to take over your role. You will always be Mom. You grew him inside of your tummy, birthed him, and have spent the 50% of his life with him that he is not with his Father and I. But I am “Stepmom.” When I married your ex and became a wife, I also became a stepmom. I take that role very serious. I think about him and care about him whether he is in our home or not. But when he is in our home, I do provide a motherly role to him. I make sure he is fed healthy and nutritious meals. I make sure he has a clean bed to sleep in and clean clothes to wear. I schedule appointments for his health. I help him with his homework. I teach him manners and responsibility. I am not saying that his Father does none of this. We are a team in our home. We share responsibilities. But, I guess what I am trying to say is. When your son is in my home, he is loved, nurtured, and well taken care of. Focus more on that and less on the competition. I am trying to compete with no one. I am happy in my role. You should be too!
2. “Why does he like you better?”
Wrong. He does not like me better. He also does not like you better. Why do you always have this idea in your mind that a child needs to choose who he likes better? I am sure there are times he doesn’t like either of us. That is part of parenting. I am sure he isn’t happy with me when I have to take away video game time because he doesn’t do his homework. And you know as well that he isn’t happy with you when he has to go to bed early because he talked back. Parenting and discipline goes on in both homes. As it should. Once again, it comes down to the issue of competition. I am in competition with no one. We both love a child that in return also loves us both.
3. “Stop overstepping your boundaries!”
One of your all time favorite phrases is to let me know that I am overstepping my boundaries. Then, I guess I should respectfully say, I can only be seen as “overstepping” is there is room to do so. While I do not mean this to say that you are a bad mother, I do think that parenting is a huge job and that there is always room for help. Also, let me remind you that he is only with you 50% of the time. So, the other 50% of the time that he is with his Father and I, do you really expect me not to jump in and be a parent with my husband? If I help with his homework, it is to benefit him. If I check his planner, it is because I am supposed to (you would know this if you ever read his teacher’s notes.) If I make a doctors appointment, it is because he is sick. Everything I do is in his best interest. While I do realize that it must be hard to not have your child 100% of the time and to have someone else helping your child with these things, it does go both ways. You seem to forget that my husband also only has his child 50% of the time. And we both are supportive and happy that you have a stable man in your life who cares for him as a team with you while he is in your care. Stop looking at it as overstepping boundaries. It is just parenting and getting things done. One day, I hope you can see that we are ALL a team.
4.“You took my life!”
Wrong again. While I respect you as my stepson’s mother, I definitely do not aspire to be you. Do we have some things in common? Clearly, or I would not be the stepmother of your son. We both have been in love with the same man. We both love the same child. But, I have not “taken over” the life you once lived. I didn’t even know my husband when you two decided to end your relationship. How can I in any way, shape, or form be the reason you do not have the life you always wanted? Stop blaming me just because I am an easy target. Do my husband and I work hard and enjoy traveling and dining out often? Yes. But we also work hard. You could enjoy the same things with your new love as well. It just takes hard work. So when you think “this could of been me” when you are sending text messages upset that we travel too much or spend money that could be yours, remember it is not yours. You receive child support to support your son the 50% of the time he is with you. If you desire to have extras or the nicer things in life, you too can work hard for them. I realize you have some envy over the life my husband and I have spent years building. But for the love of God, please stop painting a false picture in your mind that I “took over your life” when you know well that is not true.
5. “He Isn’t Yours!”
I know. For the billionth time. I know. If you are still having a hard time with this over a decade after me joining your stepsons life, I believe you should probably talk to someone. It is not healthy to be so stuck on something. Life is too short not to be happy. I try my hardest to be happy and not to let any of this get to me (although for many years I did.) I know I did not give birth to the child that you did give birth to. I know. But can we all do your son a favor and stop treating him as a possession? He is not anybodies. He belongs to no one. Is he the son of you and my husband? Absolutely. Is he the stepson to myself and your new love. Yes. But claiming that he belongs to one of us is actually a pretty vile way to speak of a child. He grew in your belly, you gave birth, and have loved him since day one. Although he did not grow in my belly, he did grow in my heart when i met him over a decade ago after falling in love with his Daddy and made the choice to love and care for a child I did not give birth to. I think the common ground is that love is involved. We all love him. But if we can please stop treating him as though he is a “thing” that would be most beneficial to the child you birthed.
As stepparents, we tend to really get ripped apart by every little thing we do. It often seems as though nothing we do is ever enough. And if it is, it was never our place to do it anyways. Often with the Bio-Mom we are in a lose-lose situation. Our stepchildren benefit from the love and care we provide them. Regardless of the things she will say to you, always keep that in mind. They need us, just as much as we need them.
What things do you wish you could correct the Bio-Mom in your life on? Have you ever actually had a conversation regarding any of it? I would love to hear what was said and how it was handled. Please leave a comment! Also, if you have anything you would like me to blog about, please leave it in the comments as well.
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