In my Stepmother journey I have met quite a few people who have inspired me and taught me things to help make this life a little easier, but I have to admit I am so lucky to have my mom who knows exactly what it is like to be a stepmother. She didn’t have a “How To” guide for me (unfortunately) but when I sit back and think about events that happened when I was younger and even think back to conversations I have had with her when I was at a breaking point I realize how much she has helped me become the stepmother I am to my amazing 3 year old stepdaughter.
Our journeys and situations are very much different but there is still a lot to learn from each other.
Thank You Mom: 5 Things I Learned as a Second Generation Stepmom
1. Family is Family.
Growing up you never made it feel like we were two families. I sometimes forgot there was “half” or “step” involved. Our home was welcome to whomever wanted or needed to be there. We were a family of four and sometimes a family of three and neither felt wrong or weird. You taught me from a young age that my brother’s life didn’t stop when he wasn’t with us and that our life couldn’t stop just because he went to his mom’s.
Looking forward to my future and my future children, I will cherish the fact that I know my stepdaughters life will continue when she’s at her moms and my future children’s life will continue at my house. It doesn’t mean anyone is forgotten or loved less. It’s just life of a blended family.
2. Boundaries are Critical.
Whether it’s my body, my mind or my home, you always taught me that I was in charge. As stepmoms there are many days and situations that we don’t feel like we are in charge of what happens, but with strong boundaries in place, it can be a little easier. Whether it’s someone not knowing the code to the front door or not letting someone invade my thoughts at night – boundaries are one of the most important tools of surviving this stepmom role.
3. It’s okay to hate being a Stepmom.
Thank you for reminding me that sometimes you have to mourn the loss of a “normal” life. (It’s weird to feel not normal when you’re a stepmom because about 50% of households in the US are blended). Thank you for always telling me about how your white couch was ruined by a 9-year-old building forts. Thank you for reminding me that it sucks when you fall in love with a guy who has a child especially when you weren’t ready to step into motherhood.
Thank you for reminding me how no matter how many people remind me that I am not my stepdaughters mother, that I am still a mother in my household. Thank you for telling me that it’s okay to go for a long drive, lock myself in my room and cry over all the things I have to face and all the things I can no longer control in my life.
4. Remember how you got here.
Thank you for always reminding me to look at my husband and ground myself. Thank you for reminding me how amazing he is and to appreciate all that he does for me. How lost I would be if I walked away from my best friend because he has a child. Even on the worst of the days, reminding myself how grossly in love I am with him and how amazing he has made my life, suddenly it’s all better. Thank you for telling me when I was younger to marry my best friend and not to fear the baggage that he came with.
5. Be the Stepparent they Need.
Growing up, I watched you. I never truly understood until now. When my brother needed you to step up, you were there. When he needed you to step back, you did it with such grace. I don’t know if it was as hard for you as it is for me some days since I became a stepmother to a much younger girl and not a 9-year-old boy, but you never complained, you never showed anger, I never heard you speak ill of his mother. By setting this example I know now and until the day I stop breathing, to always be what she needs me to be and not what I want to be.
I have always told you that I hope to be half the woman you are one day. The way you face all obstacles with such strength, grace and that amazing smile on your face. You have not only been an amazing mother, my best friend but the best role model when it comes to being an incredible stepmother. Thank you for always being a FaceTime call away. Thank you for getting it. Thank you for never telling me “You knew what you were getting into when you married a man with a kid” and most importantly, thank you for always admitting you didn’t have a damn clue either.
PS: There are also somethings I’d like to tell my stepfather.