Disney portrays the stepmother as a monster, and most kids are pretty scared when they find out they will be getting a stepmother. No child wants to be forced to mop the floors and tend to the sewing.
There are no fairy tales with lovely stepmothers. Instead, our kids are fed the notion that lovesick men marry heartless women who will forever destroy their family and kingdom. Disney really got it wrong when it comes to stepmoms.
Can We Banish the Stepmomster?
When I met my husband Travis, we were both newly divorced and living with our parents. I was raising my son, and he was raising a daughter. Our children are only 6 weeks apart in age, and we all had a lot in common.
Travis and I worked together, and so we began to carpool. We spent the weekends taking our kids to the best theme parks, we played putt-putt golf during the week, and we went to just about every kid-friendly movie that year. The four of us spent quality time building our friendship.
Travis and I dated for 2 years before finally getting married. And for good reason! We both wanted to be sure our new family would be strong and our future home filled with love. That long engagement provided a chance for me and my husband to plan our future and discuss our expectations.
Naturally, I didn’t want to overstep my limited authority when I officially became a stepmom to my new daughter. I never hold back when sharing my feelings with my husband, but I will defer the decision making to Travis and my stepdaughter’s mom. I’ve been clear in stating they make the rules for raising my new daughter and I have their backs, enforcing the rules. It’s easy considering my stepdaughter hasn’t reached her teen years, yet.
My New Life
It’s all pretty much theory until the cohabitation stage. That’s when life really takes shape. Since our blended family was established 3 years ago, I’ve had time to hone my skills in the stepparenting scene. We have the basic family rules that everyone follows, and we do have assigned chores so things stay fairly consistent.
As our child/stepparent relationship evolved, I looked for the opportunities to bond with my new daughter. One of our favorites is when we have the house to ourselves on a Friday night.
We pick up a large pizza, eat dinner in my bed while watching our favorite movies and playing on our laptops. This is a big deal because my husband doesn’t allow the kids to eat in our bed and typically, screen time is limited, even on the weekend.
I’m the parent picking up the kids from middle school, and some days they are both so excited they won’t stop talking. Other days, it’s like a game of 20 questions and I struggle to get either kid to answer the simplest question.
I’m relentless; I’ll resort to easy questions like “did you eat your lunch.” I love both of my kids and I can’t imagine my life any differently. It’s vital to my happiness that my son and my stepdaughter know I love them beyond measure.
There are days I think I’m failing as a stepmom, and these are the days I remind myself that my stepdaughter is a pre-teen and her hormones are all over the charts. I remember being 12 years old and feeling caught between childhood and adolescence. It’s tough, so I try to be understanding and offer my love. If that fails, I offer ice cream. After all, I’m the bonus mom.
My son’s new stepmother (bonus mom) stated so eloquently of her own blended family, “I’m grateful my children have so many adults that love and cherish them.”
I don’t think truer words have ever been spoken.
So, what do you say? Can we banish the notion of a stepmomster?
PS: We talk more about the Disney narrative and how to overcome those stereotypes with our FREE month of love challenge.