Something that is really important for me to do in this blog is attempt to paint an honest picture of what it feels like to be a stepmom. For me. But first I need to lay down some background stuff because this is a difficult conversation.
When I was about to become a stepmom I looked for blogs (perhaps not hard enough) from people in a similar situation and found only two scenarios: stepmoms who love their stepkids like “their own” and stepmoms who can’t stand their stepkids. I don’t feel like I fall into either category. It’s murkier. The writing out there by other stepmoms also tended to be from older women who were in blended “his, hers, and ours” types of families. This also doesn’t fit. We have “his and ours” but I have not previously been married nor do I have any children from another partnership. That difference is relevant to me.
Being a stepparent is one of those things that you can think that you know or you can know. Like I said in an earlier post, I grew up as a stepkid in a situation almost identical to this one so I thought I’d be pretty equipped. But when I became the stepmom, I realized I didn’t know anything. I’m making it up as I go along. Two years in, I still feel really green.
One of the most important distinctions I need to make while I discuss these issues – probably the most important – is that the difficulties of being a stepmom do not come from my stepson personally. He’s a good kid. I want everyone to keep that in mind as I tell you about what this is like because stepmoms are still vilified and scapegoated and bullied, and this is the internet after all. And people, especially moms (for I read a lot of ‘mommy blogs’ despite the fact that I hate them), tend to jump on stepmoms for committing the smallest infraction, even those that mothers commit daily and chuckle about. So If I say something (exaggerated for emphasis) like, being a stepmom fucking suuuuuuuuuucks, you’re not allowed to jump to conclusions about how I feel about or treat my stepson. I am able to compartmentalize and I don’t take any of this out on him. I was that kid.
I think being a stepparent is something that is probably punishing on the short term and rewarding on the long term. At least that’s what I’m holding onto.
And maybe that’s a good place to start this conversation.
Art credit: Brian Cronin