Saturday, May 9, 2015

From a Stepmother on Mother's Day

I am a stepmother. 

There. I said it. The S word. I don't particularly like the word. 

I much prefer Bonus Mom, Momma Jodi or pretty much anything other than Stepmother. Maybe it's just the "Step" part that bothers me but it just seems so negative. I have never asked them to call me mom because that is not my place.

Thanks to Cinderella, we have understood the term "Wicked Stepmother" in vivid detail. There are volumes and volumes of notes in therapist's offices about how horrible Stepmothers can be, but I assure you, those are few and far between. In fact, I often hear from children, grown children that is, of families who had awful stepmothers and who give my husband and I accolades for how we are raising our children. Thankfully, there is that. I just really never expected Mother's Day to be so lonely with six children. I dread it actually... Sure, I enjoy the rest and the breakfast in bed. I certainly don't take that for granted with having been a single mother for many years, and only now having a loving husband and a child old enough to cook. So, don't get me wrong, I appreciate that my two children and my husband always make Mother's Day special. However, when you're mother to six kids virtually every other day of the year, it gets a little lonely. 

When I married their father, I know I didn't just marry him, I married THEM. And, I knew his ex, their biological mom, would always be a part of that equation.  In spite of how she treats us, however, she is their mother, and I understand that to that end, the children deserve to have us speak kindly about her and not to tear her down, it's counterproductive. And, in the end it hurts them, and I refuse to hurt them. They didn't choose this, but we just have to make the best of it and I will always take the high road, even when it's hard. FOR them...

Since we have custody of the children now, I have a renewed sense of what it is to be a mother. The fact that they didn't come from my womb, well... that matters less and less daily. What matters is who tucks them in at night, who prepares their meals, holds them when they hurt and has the power to make the pain go away with just a kind word or a band aid. Sigh... I just love being with them all, but Mother's Day is tough. As a step parent this season means that you may or may not be recognized in any way. Overlooked intentionally? I doubt it. But oh how I love my kids. All six of them. You see, I have been wicked stepmonster to four of the kids for almost four years now. So, with that said, it's hard to be the one that is a second thought even though they all tell me that they love me on a regular basis, a fact which we have never forced on them. I have always said I love you, but you don't have to love me, just know that I will love you no matter what. 

And, that, I guess is what really matters, even if they are with their mom on Mother's Day, I count my blessings that I get to be a part of their other days. I am thankful, blessed, and overwhelmed with the gift God has bestowed on us to take care of these amazing children. It's hard, daily. But worth every tantrum, every muddy shoe, every stinky soccer uniform, every unmade bed, every everything... because I am their BONUS mom.

Have a great day everyone!