There are some really stupid things people say to stepmoms. There are some really ignorant things people say to stepmoms. And then there are some really hurtful things people say to stepmoms.
Some of the stupid things they say include “Do you even like your stepkids?” or the reverse “Do your stepkids hate you?” or my personal favorite, “You’re like the fairytale evil stepmother!” (insert evil laugh here).
There are also plenty of ignorant things they say. “Do you hate their mom?” and “I could never be a stepmom” are two of the most common. I do believe it takes a special kind of person to be a stepmom: someone selfless and patient. But you are stronger than you know, and until you’re put in a situation where it’s tested, you have no idea whether or not you can be a stepmom.
And then there are the hurtful things people say to stepmoms. They like to clarify you’re not a “real” mom. They also don’t understand why you get overwhelmed and frustrated and say things like, “You knew what you were signing up for.”
But the one that really gets under my skin? You won’t understand until you have kids of your own. Here’s what I have to say to those people.
Another Thing You Should REALLY Stop Telling Stepmoms
You tell me there’s an other-worldly feeling when you give birth. There’s an out-of-body love you didn’t realize you were even capable of. Your entire world shifts, and this child becomes the center of your universe.
You say I couldn’t possibly understand because I’m not a “real mom.”
Here’s what I have to say to you.
It wasn’t instantaneous, but I feel an out-of-body love for my stepchild. I can’t compare it to the other-worldly feeling you have because I haven’t experienced childbirth yet. But I’ve never felt a love this strong.
I’ve never understood the need to protect at all costs, to shield from anything physically harmful or emotionally damaging, until now. The “mama bear” instinct is foreign to me but feels so natural when I’m with my stepchild.
I would give my life for my stepchild’s. If the house was burning down, I’d run in after her. If she needed a kidney, I’d give her mine. I’d carry any burden if it would save her from pain or discomfort.
My body doesn’t know the feeling of carrying and nurturing my baby for 9 months. My heart has never experienced the selfless love for a child of my flesh you describe. But I do know a truly selfless love.
You tell me I won’t understand until I’m a “real mom,” but I’m telling you that you’ll never understand because you’re not a real stepmom.
You Won’t Understand Until You have Stepkids of your Own.
I’m a stepmom who gives with no expectation in return. There’s a sacrifice I made when I became a stepmom that you’ll never understand.
Each day, I wake up and choose to love a child who’s not my own. My paycheck has helped put a roof over her head, my hands have prepared the dinner she eats, and my kisses are placed on her forehead at bedtime. But still she has only an allegiance to two parents.
You and I don’t understand each other’s perspectives; we can use all of the imagery and descriptive language we can conjure up, but at the end of the day, only we know our own feelings and emotions.
I don’t doubt your intense, other-worldly love for your child.
Please don’t doubt mine.
It’s not a competition.
PS: Stop telling stepmoms “You knew what you were signing up for.”
PPS: This is just one of the many reasons I don’t want my child to grow up to be a stepmom.