They say being a parent is the hardest job in the world, I have to disagree, being a step-parent has to be the hardest job in the world! Many people have a misconception of what it’s like to be a stepmom. They think you just have the kids a couple of days a month, do some fun things together, and then they go back to their mother. It really isn’t that simple… My ‘family’ consists of our own 2 daughters (4 and 2.5) and my two step-sons (10 and 7). As a mother, I love ALL my children, both daughters and stepsons. I want to raise and protect them to the best of my ability. As a mother I have the luxury to do that, in any way I see fit. As a stepmom, my abilities are limited, sometimes to the point of total frustration.
The day I gave birth to Gaja, the doctor placed her cheek next to mine, I was overwhelmed with love. I felt a natural connection with her. My heart felt full and warm. I had the same feeling when I had Soraya 1.5 years after. Step-moms don’t get that instant bond with their step-children. We have to learn to love our step-children and earn their love in return.
We all know that the kids are the ones that suffer. But I believe kids are strong and adapt to situations better then adults sometimes. Yes, I think children from divorced parents suffer, but maybe not as much as the parent does, and yet, it is our job and responsibility to protect the children. The adults must just get on with it and be strong for the sake of the family. My husband is a wonderful father to all 4 of his children, and yet I will always sense pain in his eyes. This makes things difficult once again on a step-mother, as she doesn’t have the ability to take away this pain.
But I believe my responsibility is to try and make our family unit as normal as possible. We are lucky in that all 4 children love each other dearly. Maybe it was lucky that I had girls instead of boys, so there’s no competition between them. The boys are so good with their little sisters, and Gaja and Soraya adore their brothers and miss them when they are not around.
The most challenging and frustrating part step-moms have, is our right to have a voice. I love my stepsons, I care about their future, whether it be education, medical, extra activities, friends, and most importantly, I care about their happiness, BUT as their stepmom, I have no viable say in the decisions made on their behalf. As a stepmom, I accept my stepsons have a mother, and it is not my place to tell her how to raise her sons. Of course my husband has a voice but it’s hard when the boys are with their mother more often then with us. In the end she is the one making the big decisions for them on a daily basis.
Even though it’s been 6 years, I still feel I am in the learning stages of being a stepmom, as there are challenges at ever step of the way. I always thought that my most important job was to keep the boys happy and to make sure there was a family unity between all 4 kids. I still believe this is an important part of being a stepmother, but I have recently realized that my most important job is to support and listen to my husband, and make this relationship with my husband the biggest priority, all of the kids need to feel a sense of unity between us and feel that there is stability, with me as their step-mother as well.
Step-mothers have always been given a bad name, even in fairytales, being referred to as the evil-stepmother. Well, life is not a fairytale, and if we were evil, we never would have taken on this role. So lets give us step-mom’s a break! ;)