Hell. On. Wheels. Or in heels. Either one is pretty accurate on any given day. In a good way, I think. Having a little bit of attitude helps me wade through the weeds every day.
Here’s the deal. As stepmoms, we come on to the scene with several immediate disadvantages. The first being painfully obvious: we are not part of the biological thread that makes up the original (albeit broken) family. We’re outsiders from the get go. We weren’t part of the original family dream. We weren’t there in the delivery room. We weren’t there to kiss bumps and bruises. We weren’t part of molding family traditions and holidays.
Instead, no matter how much they love us, our stepkids associate us with a painful part of their lives: their parents’ separation. I honestly believe it doesn’t matter if we came on the scene 20 years after mom and dad’s divorce. We are still huge medians in the middle of their family unit. That doesn’t mean they don’t want us around…it just means there’s a force bigger than us at play with their basic feelings and loyalties.
I wholeheartedly admit that I’ve made some serious mistakes as a wife and stepmom this year (I’m to blame for a lot of the emotional separation I feel with all three of my boys). I let the negative parts of being a stepmom, coupled with my own insecurity and sadness with unsuccessful fertility treatments, ruin my self worth.
That’s why I’m so thankful for my recent revelation. Moment of clarity. Whatever you want to call it. And I bet you can’t guess who started the whole damn thing.
So me and skid #2 used to be thick as thieves. And bio-mom was pissed about it. I’ve watched her do everything in her power to try and sabotage our relationship since day one. But I gave her more credit than she deserves – I assumed it was just something happening among adults. So imagine my surprise when his friends mention to me that she’s inferred they should stay away from me. So no freaking wonder he changed toward me.
And then it hit me. I’ve been sitting around moping about how my stepson doesn’t worship the ground I walk on anymore. So what?! He’s 16, not 10. Of course our relationship changed. I’ve just been looking at it the wrong way. And handling it the wrong way. At what point did my self worth rise and fall by what a 16-year-old boy thinks about me? I didn’t even care about that when I was 16. And the thing is, my reasons for feeling like he doesn’t like me are just downright stupid and probably inaccurate.
Stepmoms, unite. Because the truth is, we are badasses. With a capital f-ing B. WE ARE ENOUGH. Exactly as we are.
And in my opinion, part of being a badass is believing that nobody else has the ability to determine what our story is going to look like. Who says our lives are supposed to play out like a prewritten script? Where’s the adventure in that? We should be focusing on what we DO bring to the table instead of where we might be missing a play or two. So I’m not a parent. I’m still a bonus family member. And they’re damn lucky to have me. (And I’m damn lucky to have them.)
So let’s start a movement. A movement where we feel as good about ourselves as we should. We rise to the challenge of loving our stepkids for no other reason than WE WANT TO. No obligations, no physiological pulls. ALL. CHOICE.
And that is awesome in itself. So take a virtual bow with me.