Being Mom – Eight Is *Just* Enough

Just entering this step parenting thing, I began revisiting my old copy of Cinderella and other classics to explore what a bad step parent is so that I may avoid the stigma. Here is what I came up with.

  • Don’t lock them in towers or they will consort with animals and overthrow you.
  • Don’t deny them access to the ball or stand in the way of the Prince.
  • If they want to scrub floors and sing, by all means don’t make their job harder.
  • Don’t make them bring you coffee or tea in bed. There is often a mouse under the cup.
  • Don’t let them wander in the woods alone.
  • Mr. Disney has a very depressing view on step parents.

I was fixing my hair yesterday when the 6 year old boy wandered in. I made a little small talk with him about his new room and rocking dinosaur sheets. I was trying to find out what other items I could put in his room that would make it feel more like his home when he blurted out, “You are now my stepmom. What is that?”

“Well, I married your dad”

“I *know* that (insert suffered sigh from 6 yo) but what is it?”

Unlike my daughters who do not have a father here on Earth anymore, these boys have a mother. Losing or having their mother replaced is not what anybody wants, but how do I explain a “step parent”

“Being your step mom means that I am choosing to make you as important to me as her (pointing to my 6yo daughter) Being your step mom means that I will choose to love you no differently than my daughters. Being your step mom means I will choose to do the same for you as I do my daughters. I don’t love any of you more or less than the other. Being your step mom means I choose you.”

He shrugged his shoulders and acknowledged he got it and wandered back off to play.

I hope he gets it, because its deep in its theory. I barely get it. I’m just doing what I can to follow the rules I learned from Disney. Don’t treat them as though they are not important regardless of birth.

As I stand at the stove and serve up 8 dishes of food, I look at the 8 faces around me.

3 of them I held at birth. 3 of them I know like the back of my hand.

They are part of me.

5 of them I haven’t known for long. 5 of them I am just learning.

They are part of me.

I’m not here to replace their mother. I am here to honor the type of mother they need me to be when they need me to be it.

It’s not going to be easy, but it will always be entertaining at the least. With 8 children and 3 puppies, there are going to be issues. I just pray that I always let an issue be my teacher and not my definition.

Just as in parenting/step-parenting…I enter 2012 with that resolution. To be open to be taught. To let the bumps and bruises that are bound to happen be my lessons, not my definition. To be just what I am needed to be when I am needed to be it. To be a mother to all eight and be enough to each one of them. To answer when I am called and to give more than required in all aspects of my life.



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18 replies

  1. I had an ugly stepparent situation growing up and would HOPE that if I was ever a stepmom, I’d not make the same mistakes. Just respect them and honor their feelings…its natural for them to be a little jealous and a little protective of their father and bio mom. Give them room to FEEL. They will love you for loving them… 🙂 And thank you’re lucky stars they are all boys!

    • How are you Sarah? Good to hear from you. I like what you said “Give them room to FEEL” That’s perfect with what we do. Often they are confused, sad, mad…I tell them “Feel that. It’s fine to be mad, sad, etc.” and we will get through it. Although sometimes my own frustration does get in the way and I don’t see that they are “FEELING” and I have to back off. Thanks for that reminder..

  2. I’m sitting here with tears in my eyes because what you’ve described as a “step-mom” is precisely what I hope for with my own children. You may not feel like you get it right now, but you do. You GET IT. As a Mother with children who will more than likely one day have a step-mom, I want to you to know you’re doing it right and it’s a beautiful thing.

    • Thank you Lauren. I have a lot of respect for the woman who brought them into the world and who they cry for when they are scared, sad, mad. She holds a place in their heart that is solely reserved for her that I would never try to strip, nor could I even if I did want. There is a special bond between mother/child that I hope she knows can’t be shattered. I only wish to be what she would be during the times she isn’t here. My goal is to never step on toes and to honor the heart of all.

  3. I have no doubt, my lovely friend, that you are more than enough. Your answer was beautifully brilliant and those boys are so incredibly lucky.

  4. Just pray for wisdom and you will do well.

  5. Before our wedding the marriage commissioner shared with us that every single day of marriage was a choice. It wasn’t just “I choose you, now let’s get married and live happily ever after.” It was every morning, choosing each other even when we didn’t feel like it.

    Your words to your 6yr old son reminded me. Every day a choice. That’s powerful.

    • Relationships are nothing but choices. Choices translate into intentional work. You are so right in ever day is a choice in a marriage or a parent or a step-parent…it’s intentional work if its going to work. Thank you for chiming in today Sandi!

  6. I was, AM, a step-mom. Complicated situation because birth mom didn’t want to be bothered with “her” kids until they were grown up and somehow I got blamed for her choices. The one thing I can tell you (aside from “don’t follow the Disney example … your only choices there are to be wicked or to die young) is to respect their relationship with their mom especially if she is consistently in their lives. Don’t let them hear you bad talk her even when you want to … and you will! Encourage them to love and respect her as you would hope them to love and respect you. Mostly I guess … remember mothering is not a competition and if you make it one, or allow her to draw you into one … everybody loses. And maintain that sense of humor! It will help you stay afloat!

  7. I think what you said to him was perfect. He may not get it now, but he will.

  8. I’ve never loved you more than I do right now. We’ve been dealing with step-parenting issues for years and years and years. I can’t blog about it because it is too close to home and the eyes who might read. I wish the step-parents in my daughter’s life thought the way you did from the very beginning.

  9. How could they not love you?
    They really are blessed to have you and your wisdom to share in their lives.
    Much love to you xxx

  10. You totally rock. Some kids don’t get that sort of intent from ANY person. The hiccups won’t matter in the end, the intent will rise above.

    On behalf of all your kids & this world we live in, thank you.

  11. I love and am blessed by having read your outlook here … it’s one I’ve lived as a child (this is my “step”dad – and strive to live out as an adult with the stepchildren of my own … with our family’s most recent new addition we’re up to six kids now here … 😉

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