Thursday, September 27, 2012

JUST a Stepmom...

At first it was a choice. I had plans, you know.

Funny thing about plans, they don't always go as planned. By the time I was ready, by the time I had found the right man, by then, it was too late. And so now, I live with the fact that I will never have children of my own...ever.

When I was younger I never gave it much thought.  I never had an overwhelming maternal instinct.  Never sat around doodling the names of the children I would have one day. No, I guess I figured it would happen when it was right.  When I was ready. I never considered that when I was ready, it would already be too late.

Don't get me wrong, physically I could have had children, but it was like that window of opportunity was closed. The man I fell in love with, he already had two half-grown children. He wasn't at a place to start over again, I knew that.  We talked about that. So, I made a choice. I chose to love him anyway, and to also, love his children.

No, I would never be a mom.  I would choose instead, to be a stepmom. And it's been both the hardest and the best decision of my life.

Being a 'stepmom' is hard.  First,  you must have thick skin..VERY thick skin. You will hear, more times than you can count, "Oh, you're just the stepmom? Don't you have any real kids?"  You will be expected to sacrifice and care for these children as they are your own, but you will be reminded in many different ways, they are NOT your own. You will love them, but you will always worry that their love for you is conditional. You will worry that if you allow yourself to love these children too much, you will only end up hurt.  And you will worry, that you are stepping over the line in every situation.

I am NOT their mom.  I have no delusions about that. My stepkids have a mom and she is 100% present in their lives.  I WANT them to have a great relationship with their mom.  I will always want that for them.  Why?  Because I LOVE them, that's why.  Because the relationship between mother and child is so very, very important.

I am always trying to balance doing enough, but not doing too much. To giving enough, but not expecting much in return. No, it's not easy, but I can't imagine my life without them in it. I am fortunate that their real mom includes me in their lives.  I am sure it is not easy for her either.  I can't imagine feeling like you are sharing your children with another woman.  Early on, it was difficult.  We knocked heads a few times (maybe more than a few).  There were unpleasantries said from both sides, but there was a learning curve to figure out...for both of us. She needed to draw that line in the sand... making sure I knew she was the MOM.  I needed to make her understand that I was here to stay and that I needed to be respected for the role I would play in her children's lives. It's been a roller coaster at times, but I think we have navigated our family dynamics the best we know how. I hope, always putting the interests of the kids before our own.

So yes, I may be just a stepmom, but I hope I am being the best stepmom I can be.


  1. Dear StepMom,
    Knocking heads a few times may be a bit of an understatement! But then again, when you bring 2 strong women together in a situation not necessarily of choice, but rather of reality, then I guess it's to be expected! After all of these years, this is what I know...You are an amazing woman and a wonderful addition to my children's lives. I couldn't and wouldn't ask for anybody different to fill that role. You have been a stepmother, friend and confidant to the kids and I am so grateful. So, let the roller coaster continue, bring on the grandchildren, and we'll continue to find our way!
    Love you...the real mom

  2. Dear Real Mom -

    Okay, NOW the tears are flowing..but HAPPY tears. Thank you for the kind words and I want you to know that I am TRULY thankful we are on this crazy roller coaster together. Thru all the ups and downs, I think the nicest surprise has been the unique "friendship" we have found.

    Love you back - The Stepmom

  3. So great to have found your blog, Tonya. Just read your most recent entry. Inspiring and shows your vulnerability. It's great to see where someone who was once the student can be the teacher, or at least do things that make the teacher from long ago very proud. I look forward to reading your other works and maybe starting my own blog. Have gotten into some writing in the last year and even won a couple awards for a poem I wrote.


    1. Oh Ms. Mollencopf ..I'm so happy you found my little Blog. What a wonderful surprise that my teacher that gave me the love of the written word would see this. I admit though, my skills of proper punctuation are still a bit to be desired and I tend to write as I speak (which at times is like a However, I LOVE to write and will continue to do so, even if you may want to take a red pen to my prose...Lol. I would LOVE to read your poem..are you published somewhere?

  4. OMG- now I am crying!!!

    This generosity of spirit and the willingness to put the kids first is such a sign of strength and caring. At the end of all the hard work, both women have given these kids the best gifts of all- peace in their hearts, and the knowledge that they are loved.

    I would consider this a JOB WELL DONE!! <3