As I sit here, in my home office, creating and scheduling social media posts promoting a book that I co-wrote with my ex-husband’s wife, I can’t shake this feeling that one teeny part of the world needs a little fixing… a little love… some good ol’ fashioned TLC.
Let me explain? I am, what I recently learned via social media, a BIO-mom. Meaning, I have two children, April and Lance, and I am their biological mom. April and Lance also have a stepmom. My ex-husband remarried in 2011 and Tina, his new wife, has been a stepmom to my children for the past 13 years. Tina is the stepmom, I am the bio-mom. A term I wasn’t even familiar with until we created our social media accounts for the book we are co-authoring together.
Here’s what I was NOT prepared for, and the purpose of my blog post this afternoon. There seems to be this stepmom movement going on out there that I was completely unaware of. The deeper I find myself within the topic of co-parenting, the more I find my heart aching for every stepmom out there on this planet.
Don’t get me wrong, I mean, I KNEW the whole stepmom/bio-mom conflict is, indeed, an issue. That’s the main reason that the stepmom of my children and I, decided to write our book documenting our co-parenting journey. Everyone within our circle of influence insisted that our amicable relationship was “abnormal” and something to be desired. I guess, in a small way, we have just taken on our influencing opinions and assumed that our relationship is, just as they described; unique, rare and something to be obtained. Honestly, I never really realized the magnitude of their words until I started digging around online.
As a bio-mom who has always tried to feel only love and appreciation for my children’s stepmom, it’s an understatement to describe what I’ve seen on social media as shocking to my soul. The seemingly endless brave but battered women whose accounts blare the, seemingly all too true, message from stepmoms across the globe; STEPMOMS ARE SEVERELY UNDERAPPRECIATED!
I have a bio-mom confession to make. So help me God, this is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to accept in my 38 years of life. I have been single for the most part of the 13 years since my divorce from my children’s father. Just a few years ago I finally met a very truly special man. I described him to my girlfriends as 99% perfect. You can imagine their disbelief when I answered their extremely valid question; “Why did you break up with him?”
I hate to say it but maybe, just maybe, someone out there has felt the same way. I broke up with him because I could not accept his children as my own. I just couldn’t do it. I wanted to fix them and change them. I found myself needing a glass (or 3) of wine every time we were in charge of them. I have felt extreme guilt over this on many occasions but I also knew that I had to be true to my heart and honest with this man. I have always known that when you choose to start a relationship with somebody, you are choosing to accept their entire situation; ex’s, dogs, family and of course, kids. I do not take that responsibility lightly and I knew, deep down, I just wasn’t able to accept them. It wasn’t fair to pretend that I could.
I have often thought of this as a weakness. Why can’t I accept these children? Why can’t I love these little teeny humans as if they were my own? Honestly, I still do not know to this day but I am almost positive that somewhere buried beneath all this selfishness is where my love and appreciation for my children’s stepmom comes from.
You know how you seem to be attracted to and admire people that can do things that seem beyond your limitations? Yeah, I’m pretty sure step-momming is, unfortunately, beyond my skill set for whatever reason God intended. Maybe my capacity of love will upgrade in the future, I can only hope, but until then, I just keep admiring and praising the amazing women that are able to accept their stepchildren as their own and continually sacrifice their own needs for a teeny human that they did not even create. It literally blows my mind because I KNOW how much work, sacrifice and emotional energy children require. I’m the first to admit… if they weren’t my own flesh and blood, the stakes would be even higher.
I guess what I am ultimately trying to say is, thank you. Thank you to all the step moms out there who have the ability to care for children whom you didn’t bare. Thank you for stepping up even though you didn’t have to. Thank you for caring, thank you for sacrificing, thank you for… EVERYTHING YOU DO.
I had no idea there was such a “stigma” between bio-moms and stepmoms but I am even more determined now, to give stepmoms around the globe, the recognition they deserve.
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