As a stepmother myself I have found over the years that stepmums can be given a bit of a hard time. Everyone has their own opinion on how you should behave as a stepmum and what your responsibilities are and quite frankly half the time you can’t do right for doing wrong. If you show an interest and make an effort with the child then you are trying to take their mother’s place. If you don’t bother with the child then you are heartless and cruel. If you turn up to school functions such as the nativity play then you are definitely overstepping the line. If you don’t then you clearly don’t have time for the kid or give a monkeys about the things that are important to them.
Let me tell you something. I have been to my stepdaughter’s school plays and was the one in the front row recording it on the camcorder. I have attended her parents evenings and discussed with her teacher our concerns over her struggles with her schoolwork. I have been to her choir performances in the local church and stood with all the other parents applauding, my heart full of just as much pride as theirs. I have been to her sports days cheering her on, sat beside her Mum. In fact, her Mum did the mum’s race and I did the parent’s race. And we laughed about it. Together.
I have consoled her and cleaned her up at 3am when she is throwing up due to a horrible sickness bug. I have sat and rocked her, stroking her hair in the middle of the night when she’s woken from a bad dream. I have spent hours talking her through her homework and calming her down when she just can’t ‘get it’, until eventually it makes sense and a smile spreads across her face. I have yelled at her and sent her to her room when she smeared s*** over the bathroom walls. And then felt that horrible Mum guilt we all feel when we have to discipline our kids.
I have been strapped to an ambulance stretcher with her on my chest because she didn’t want to leave my arms. I have rushed in to a hospital A&E with her in my arms, eyes rolled back, thinking we were going to lose her. I have felt that sickening, powerless feeling when you hand your baby over and have to trust the medics to help her, because you can’t. And when her Mother arrived we hugged the biggest hug because we knew we both felt the same heartache and fear.
I have been there to see her first steps, first day at preschool, first tooth fall out, first holiday, first nativity and so on.
People have said to me what a great Mum I am to my Stepdaughter and how admirable it is that I treat her exactly the same as my own 2 children, that if they hadn’t known they would have thought she was mine too. Others have said I do to much. That it’s not my place and I should just keep out of it. I have been with her Dad since she was 10 months old, in fact I first met her and held her when she was only a week old. She does not know any different to me being in her life. And I have absolutely no intention of changing how I treat her.
To my stepdaughter’s Mum: I will continue to be a Mum to ‘our’ girl when she is here in my house for as long as I live. I will support you and back you up when you discipline her and show a united front as parents. I will always respect your position as her Mum and will never try to take your place, but will be a Mum figure to her when you are not there. I hope to remain friends with you and continue to have a good relationship with both you and your family for the sake of ‘our’ girl and everyone else involved, always.
To my stepdaughter Lilian: You made me a Mother, although I’m not your Mum. You were my first baby, although I didn’t give birth to you. I will always love you just as much as your brother and sister and I will always be here for you no matter what. I will teach you right from wrong and discipline you when I have to. I will care for you and nurture you throughout your life. I will be your biggest fan and greatest friend, but also at times your worst enemy. There will be times when you hate me, but please remember this – I will always love you, to the moon and back again.
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