Wednesday Martin in her book Stepmonster sets up a great scenario debunking the fairy tale of stepparents loving their stepchildren “just like they were your own”. Hmmmm….. any stepparent tried that? Was your experience like mine- a rather dramatic fireball of failure?
Of course, given that much of stepparenting requires living in a fairy tale seldom of our own creating, we are actually ENCOURAGED (at first) to do this. “Oh, the children love you”, we are told. “Treat them like your own”.
One time I remember speaking to my stepson’s Mom about his need to clarify to anyone (whether they were interested or not) that I was not his Mom. He would hold up check-out lines in any store just to make sure when the cashier had incidentally referred to me as his “Mom” that the cashier was set straight. This behavior never bothered me, and I simply passed it on to his Mom in conversation.
In her own way, I believe she thought she was reassuring me when she said, “Well, have him call you whatever you would like. ‘Mom’ is fine. ” Oh, no it wasn’t. I did not want to be the “Mom” to my stepson and he certainly was making it clear to any and all involved that I was not his Mom.
The biological connection between parent and child IS important. As Wednesday Martin writes- if it weren’t, when parents left the hospital after a birth, they could just choose any ol’ baby from the nursery when they left. The bond between parent and child is often paramount to any other. To take this lightly, to put a child and adult in a situation to artificially create this bond is not helpful.
I am not my stepson’s Mom and he is not my child. We have a good relationship, a caring one. But, he already has two parents- and that biological destiny seems to be enough for him (and me).