Stepbomb: Being a stepmom is one of the hardest -- and most rewarding -- things I've ever done. It's unfortunate that stepmoms get such a bad rap in our society.
I realize that there are stepmothers out there who have earned such a rap. Think Cinderella and her wicked stepmother. Think movies like "Stepmom." (Although everything worked out in the end, Susan Sarandon's character did have to die first ....) Think of the word "stepmom" and ask yourself what comes to mind.
From the moment my husband called his kids' mother to tell her we were engaged, she didn't accept me. I had already been in her daughters' lives for years, and she herself was already remarried. But the minute I went from "girlfriend" to "stepmother," everything changed. As the two of us have tried to coexist, it's been like a bomb going off over and over and over again. And I have a lot of regrets.
I'm not blaming this on the mom. I also shoulder the responsibility. But I do feel like I was never given the benefit of the doubt, as stepmothers often aren't. (My own mother and stepmother had issues!) It never occurred to the mom that I might actually be a good influence on and love her children. But would my husband have married me if that wasn't the case?! The answer is absolutely, 100 percent no. Which is why I didn't just date my husband; I also spent equal time getting to know his daughters. And if they had not accepted me, I wouldn't be their stepmother today.
I never came into this situation wanting to be anyone's mother. What my husband and I told the girls was that I was simply another person who would love them. But as I prepared to walk down the aisle with their mom's ex-husband, she decided that I was trying to replace and undermine her. It's been difficult to see her perspective when it seems she has full license to act however she wants, simply because she holds the title of "mother". Why is it that she can curse me out, threaten me and sue my husband for custody, but these things are seemingly overlooked because I let my stepdaughter borrow my old Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirt?!
I'm not saying -- nor have I ever claimed -- that I am not guilty of wrongdoing. Where I especially failed was in not understanding what it feels like to be a mother and to feel insecurity when a stepmother does things like volunteer in her daughters' classrooms or talk to her daughters about sensitive subjects. We have years and years ahead of us, and many issues that will continue to surface. At what point will things change?
Will there ever be a mutual respect for and understanding of each other's roles? Because as a stepmother, don't I also deserve that?
next: Not Hot for Teacher!