As a stepmom…

Life force

Life force

As a stepmom, I am tired of being labeled as the “crazy one”.
Not that labels are necessary at any time or in any situation, but label or no label, I would like to move past the ingrained fantasy that all biological moms are emblematic of the highest ideals of “motherhood” while stepmoms are somehow off on the wanky-edges of this fairy tale.

When this school year began, I was the one to speak to the teachers and counselors about my stepson’s learning plan. It was I, not the parents, who signed off on the form, discussed my stepson’s strengths, weakness,etc.

When my stepson repeatedly went to the nurse in the first weeks of classes, because he did not “feel well”. It was I who wrote the teachers (with the counselor’s directive) about how my stepson gets so stressed at school that he develops psychosomatic issues.

It is I who signs his agenda comments every day, keeping the conversation between home and school flowing. And it is I who sits night after night doing homework.

In the course of the school year, the mother has written 1, maybe 2, comments in the agenda.

In the course of the school year, my stepson has not turned in one math assignment (and there is one every week) while at his Mom’s home. (Those that do get turned in are sent back as incomplete.)

I am surprised at none of this. How do you think it would have gone, though, at the beginning of the school year if anyone had noticed it was the stepmom and not the mom (nor Dad) handling any issues with my stepson?

How do you think it would have gone at the beginning of the school year had I announced (because it was going to be true) that my stepson would not complete any homework at his Mom’s home? Everyone would have looked at me as if I were the crazy and vindictive stepmom. I am neither. I simply live the repeated examples of this.

Recently, my husband and I bought cello lessons for my stepdaughter. I told the teacher we would only be bringing my stepdaughter during our weeks. He asked if the Mom would ever be bringing her. I simply said, “She may in time, but for now, it may not be best to get her involved.”

He told me, “Your secret is safe with me.” What secret?

Several years ago, my stepdaughter was taking guitar lessons with her best friend. My stepdaughter had always wanted piano lessons though, and this was the opportunity her Mom needed. She gave my stepdaughter the “choice”- if she wanted to do piano, she had to stop guitar.

Piano began. My stepdaughter loved it, but also missed doing guitar with her friend. Six months later, her Mom pulled her out of piano.

My stepdaughter still talks about piano lessons.

I picture her sitting in a card game with her Mom, waiting to play her hand. My stepdaughter never realizes, though, that her Mom works it so she holds all the cards.

In the piano situation, the Mom 1. got rid of the friend 2. got rid of guitar 3. got rid of all music lessons altogether. Quite the trifecta.

Despite my stepdaughter desperately wanting piano lessons, her Mom will ignore her and ask my stepson if he wants piano lessons (he doesn’t). I want to tell my stepdaughter- the piano lessons are not about giving your brother lessons, it is about making you suffer by not giving you any.

When I speak to others, when I am in the role of stepmom, I am not crazy, I am not vindictive, I am not some woman longing for control over children, I am not a person desperate to be seen as a parent, I am not someone set on making the biological mom “look” bad, I am not involved in some simplistic bio mom vs. stepmom battle.

I am a woman standing up for children and the dynamic they live with.

Have your stepparent/biological parent fantasies. I, for one, am too busy living in the reality of it.

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21 thoughts on “As a stepmom…

  1. I know some crazy step-parents, and right now you do not me strike as such, lolz, thus, I am in your corner! and rooting for your sanity and that of your extended-familia. I wish you all many blessings, because no child should have to suffer the pettiness of adults who are to be uplifting their spirit regularly. ♥ Peace and always love ♥

  2. How some parents treat their children as if they were pawns in a chess game. It riles me to see how these children are getting hurt. This in turn will only in time make those children act out in less then desirable ways. I am proud of you for doing your best in a situation that really reeks of rotten potatoes. Some adults need to grow up! Thank you, Kimberly, for making a difference in these children’s lives. ❤

  3. When I was pregnant, Mr. T’s dad said he didn’t think he’d be a good weekend father, he didn’t think he’d be a good father at all (he had 3 kids of his own already). And I honored that, and appreciated the fact that he was honest and upfront with me – he didn’t want to do it part way, he didn’t want to be detrimental to T’s growth by not being able to commit 100%, and so he walked away. And I am so thankful that of all the struggles, I’ve never had to worry about the other parent not stepping up. And I agree, it’s not “not stepping up and doing it like I do” and it’s not “not stepping up and being the parent I think they should be” It’s about the other parent just not stepping up, at all. 😦

    • Thank you for honoring my message, Kate. I do not care what type of parent she or anyone would ATTEMPT to be. I just want her stop manipulating her children and harming them.

      Interesting story about your ex-. I can look at that situation and his choices in so many ways. Thanks for helping me remember to always open my mind to see what is beneath the surface 🙂

  4. I’m sorry you’re going through this. I don’t have any amazing words of wisdom, but I truly admire you. I think this movie that was passed onto me might help you not feel so alone. It’s called, What Masie Knew. I think you’ll resonate with it. You’re loved and appreciate more than you’ll ever know.

    • Mark, this message touched me so deeply. I sometimes feel so worn down by this situation that I can lose sight of what is right and good. I appreciate that you did not offer trite words of wisdom as such words hardly ever suffice. I just checked out the trailer of the movie your recommended. How have I never heard of it??? I feel it is going to resonate very deeply with me. Thank you again for reaching out with such kind words.

  5. Kimberlyharding I can relate myself to your blog. I became a stepmom at the age of 15, which is very young. There went my childhood and high school days. I did everything and anything I could to make it ok for him and his kid. I felt the same way as you. I felt they didn’t appreciate me or the things I would do. I didn’t have to do all of it because in reality I wasn’t his parent, but I was trying to be important in his life. Being labeled as STEPMOM or FAKE MOM hurts. Especially if you have done more for those kid/kids than anyone. Once school starts it seems like we disappear for them because they get embarrassed and only want their REAL parents involved. But in all reality the REAL parents never actually took the time to care and be there for the child because they are so involved in the drama. I would tend to ignore comments so I wouldn’t get mad or regret being with someone with kids. Don’t take me wrong I love them dearly, but it is not easy at all dealing with so many obstacles. Don’t think that your alone and your thoughts and hard work isn’t being acknowledge because it is. I believe that they will realize all the help and things you have done for them once they are at that age where they understand. Especially when they have kids of their own and start noticing it is not easy. It’s very hard being a step mom and no one will ever know how it feels or tell you otherwise until they have lived it. You are very strong Kimberlyharding. And good job and everything you did and understood. You are not alone so don’t ever feel that way

    • Wow!!! What a blessing your message was today. Never underestimate the impact of your words for me. I feel uplifted and inspired during a time I so desperately needed it! You are so right – no one ever understands what it is like unless you live it. Bless you for all that you do and for taking the time to reach out. It made a difference

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