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.