As a young child, I loved to pretend that I was a mom. I loved dressing up my dolls in cute, little outfits and combing the long, precious hair. I loved taking care of my dolls and I loved being their mom. However, I never carried them around saying I was that babies’ “stepmom.” No, I told everyone that I was their “mommy.”
Many young children don’t understand the concept of parenting roles when playing house. You don’t buy a doll for a child and tell them that they are now the stepmom to that doll. That child just considers themselves to be an imaginary parent, to that doll.
However, that was not the case for me when I became married to my husband. I became a stepmom first, before I became a mom. I never got to even pretend to be a stepmom in my younger years with my dolls. No one told me that becoming a stepmom would be first on my list.
Fast forward many years later, I am a stepmom to a wonderful stepdaughter and a mom to two handsome, young sons. I wouldn’t have become who I am today to these three children of mine, if I wasn’t a stepmom first.
I am grateful for who I am today, because of this.
And here are the reasons why I am grateful that I became a stepmom first, before I became a mom.
Communication is key. When I helped raise my stepdaughter when she was younger, I had to make sure I communicated everything to my husband. This child was not biologically mine and I wanted to make sure that he was aware of her every little boo-boo that she had, everything she ate, homework, friend issues, etc. He is her dad and he deserves to be aware of things that happen in her life, even when he is not around at the time.
With our children, I still do the same. I want him to be aware of what is happening in our boys’ lives because yes, he deserves to know. We are a team. These are our children, not just my children. We are both of their parents.
2) It made me less selfish
As much as I don’t want to admit that I was selfish, I was. I didn’t like that I couldn’t make parenting decisions about my stepdaughter. I hated that I couldn’t sign her up for dance or any other type of sport, take her to get her hair cut or even take her to a medical appointment for her yearly checkups. I hated that. I wanted to be able to experience those type of parenting decisions.
Now with having two boys of our own, I get to experience this decision. I don’t just look at those parenting decisions as annoying or things that I have to do so I can get it over with. I get really excited to be able to experience this mom role by signing them up for music or sports lessons, getting their hair cut, or taking them to their doctor and dentist appointments. Many parents can take this for granted.
When my stepdaughter comes home, I respect not asking what she did at her other house. That is her time with her other family. If she wishes to share the experiences she had, I listen to her. If she doesn’t want to share, that is her experience and memories to keep with her other family.
Do I want to know if she had a great weekend? Yes, I do. Do I ask her if she had a good weekend? Yes, I do. Do I ask her what she did, that made it a good weekend? No, I don’t. If she wants to share it, I let her share it. She deserves to keep those memories alive with her other family. I respect her other family by not digging into whatever they may have done. That is her time with them and I respect that.
Now, when our children go visit our extended family and go on day trips with them, I get super excited to hear how their time was, when they come back home. And they are more than excited to share it right back with me. Knowing that I can actually ask questions on what they did, feels awesome!
4) I laugh more
Being a stepmom is very stressful. There are boundaries that you never knew existed. You stress every day of your life not knowing if you are doing something wrong or if you are looked at, as the evil stepmom. You are in constant pulling out your hair, stress mode. You just plain don’t understand what your role is.
After having children of our own, I have learned to sweat the small, parenting stuff and just laugh it off. All those step-parenting issues I used to stress over, seem so little now.
5) Best paying job in the world
Paying job you say? Yes. Being a stepmom and a mom is the best paying job in the world.
I get paid from all of my children the same, by kisses and hugs, thank you’s, watching them enjoy their extra curricular activities, pictures they color and paint for me, rocks they find in the woods and give to me, and the many times I hear “Mom!” being called out. That’s how I get paid.
Being both a stepmom and a mom is quite the journey. There are parenting experiences you will be able to make with some of your children and not the others. And that is okay.
It is okay to be a stepmom first and a mom second. You will learn things about step-parenting and parenting that some parent’s will never understand; unless they are a stepparent too. I am forever grateful that I am able to recognize the importance of being a stepmom and a mom in my children’s life.
I wouldn’t be the mom I am today, if I wasn’t a stepmom first.