Ever feel like being the "stepmom" to your children will just never be good enough to some people? Like no matter what you do, to some people you will just never be good enough? It is a constant battle between you and your mind, you and your stepchildren, as well as you and the biological mother, who constantly seems to be the biggest conflict of all stepmother situations that have ever been started.
The phrases of;
"You are not their mother."
"You will never replace the bio mom."
"You are replaceable in a moment."
"You will never be able to be what they want you to be."
...All come to mind when I think about the start up of my life as a "step"mother. I have been the "step" mom to my bonus children for going on five years, the only constant mother figure they have had since they were two years and six months old. My husband and I have primary custody, Bio-mom receives every other weekend visitations, and I also hold full guardianship of the children.
Now, before the bio-moms of the world start to hate me for having the kids over her.. I did not plan to "replace" their biological mother. Nor do I think that is the intention of any woman beginning a relationship with a single father. At the time of starting my relationship with my now husband, he had the kids full time and bio-mom had not been around them for months. The only time I ever saw her in person was the day he had served her with court papers. One memory of that day that still cuts me deep to this day, was our then two and half-year-old looking at me and asking me, "Is that my real mom? Or are you my real mom?" This poor child could not remember what his mother looked like because she had not come around for so long. I had been the constant mother for him for months at this point, to him I had become mom. For him and his brother, I was mom. I had done all I could to try and have them call me either by my first name, or by a nickname, but seeing the heartbreak and sadness come across the face of a toddler and a baby who just did not understand that I was not their "real mom" was by far worse than just accepting the title of mom for them both.
I feel like stepmothers are very discredited for all that they put into their bonus children. We have to deal with the possibility of a high conflict bio-mom; which if it's anything like my situation, the conflict could be almost bad enough to have you just throw in the towel. But through all that conflict with the bio-mom we have to continue to remember that she does not control our relationship with the children, and we cannot allow her to control how your relationship with your partner, and the kid's father, plays out. I see posts online all the time about stepmothers feeling like they made a mistake getting involved with someone with children. Either the bio-mom is almost impossible to deal with, or the partner's family is ignorant to her and cannot show her any respect.
What the world, specifically bio-moms who can tend to be high conflict, needs to remember is this, we are not here to discredit you as the children's biological mother. We are not here to make you feel as if you are replaceable, so we ask that you show us the same courtesy. We are here, living our lives with someone who makes us happy and with children who fill our lives with extra love and joy. What parent wouldn't want extra people to love, care for, and support their babies? What parent wouldn't want their child to maintain a healthy relationship with their bonus mom? We have a thankless job, caring for a child that we did not bring into this world. These children may not have come from us stepmothers, but they came to us through some sort of fate and we would not change that for the world. We love the children just as much as any biological parent could. We are there to work as a team, and co-parent together. To show the kids that although the relationship with their parents did not work out, there is no reason that each parent cannot be happy again with someone new, and all parents can then civilly parent together.
Granted, there are hard times when it comes to co-parenting and one parent may not agree with the other. But the only way things will ever go smoothly, is if all parents learn how to work together and be there for the children. Do not think of yourself, and how you feel towards the other parents partner. Always think about the children, and what is in the best interest for them.
Stepmoms, and stepdads for that matter, you are all amazing human beings. You stepped up, when someone else may have stepped down. You are giving these children a life of happiness, love, and laughter. Please always keep it in your mind, that although sometimes you may feel unappreciated, that you are so very loved, respected, and appreciated by the children you take care of day in and day out. Don't ever doubt your ability to be a bonus parent. Don't ever doubt your relationship with your bonus children, or let anyone ever put doubts into your head about it. Just continue to be you, and continue to show your bonus kids love and affection. Ignore the negative, soak in the positive. We are all truly incredible human beings, and you should be so proud of yourself each and every day for all that you do, and all that you have to endure to live this life with your families.