Friday, January 28, 2011

My life as a stepmom

A lot of people assume that being a stepmom would be so awful. When we were engaged and first married, people would frequently say things to me like "That must be so hard!" "I could never do that." "Isn't it awful having to deal with her mom?" "I would have walked away. I wouldn't have married him knowing he had a kid." All sorts of things like that. Always negative. The people who were somewhat positive would say things like "You're a good woman to put up with that." You know what? I feel bad for all of those people. I feel bad that for some reason they have been tainted by the "Evil Stepmom" or the horrible depictions of mixed families so much so that they can't even see how this situation could work out GOOD. 

I grew up in a mixed family. Then my parents got divorced and remarried again. I have a VERY mixed family. It wasn't always easy, and I know that my parents never really got along or had a decent relationship so the kids always seemed pitted against their mom or their dad at some time. I hated it! 

When I decided to marry Jarom, I took a lot of time to think about how becoming a stepmom would affect me, and my new marriage. Especially given that I was 18 when I got married. Addie was 4. I had spent quite a bit of time with her and she really liked me and I adored her. We had a good relationship (as much as you can have with a barely 4 year old) and I loved her. I knew that I could love her as my own child, and that being with the two of them was the best thing I could imagine. I knew that we were supposed to be a family. Even if our family was going to be different than I had ever imagined. I had no doubt that it was what was supposed to happen.

The day we got married, Addie would not talk to me at all. She gave me dirty looks and avoided me most of the day. I didn't understand, but it was a busy day and she had lots of girls to play with and my best friend Sue who she loved. It wasn't until the first weekend we had Addie after our honeymoon that I learned why she was so distant that day. Addie's birth mommy [I am mommy #2] Marie had tried to explain to Addie what was going to happen on our wedding day, and that I was going to be another mom to her, a stepmom. That did it. Addie didn't care how much she liked me, or how she knew that I really was nice and good to her. That word.. STEPMOM.. that immediately made me evil. So the entire day of our wedding, and even the evening before when she stayed the night at my house with me, Addie did NOT like me. She did NOT want a stepmom. She had told Marie that "all stepmoms are evil. Like on Cinderella." Even though Marie tried her hardest to explain that I would still be the same person after we were married, Addie didn't quite understand and was upset about me turning evil.

That first weekend we had her stay with us, she had completely changed. She sat me down as if we were two adults. She then told me "My mommy told me that you aren't going to be an evil stepmom. Do you promise not to be?" I told her that I would never be an evil stepmom. I would just be a second mommy for her. I would make sure she followed the rules, and I would do all I could to protect her and keep her safe, just like her mommy did. But I would NOT be evil. "So you won't be like Cinderella's stepmom?" We had a good 7 minute conversation and I told her how her new grandma Sue was my stepmom and she was not evil and I loved her. Addie loved her too and knew from that moment on that there were nice stepmoms and that I would be good to her.

Addie and I have grown very close together over the last 4 years. Even when I have to be the one to make her do all of her homework, or the one to make her do scary things like walk on her leg without the cast for the first time, and even when she gets in trouble and has to go to timeout and then apologize, she knows that I love her and that I only do those things because I care so much for her. She will come and sit and snuggle with me on the couch, and she will tell me how much she loves me. She will tell me how glad she is that I get to be another mom to her, and that she is glad I married Daddy. Oh, and she thinks I'm awesome for giving her a little brother. :)

I love Addie so much! One of the greatest blessing I received when I married Jarom, was the new daughter that I get so share with Marie. Addilynn is such a WONDERFUL little girl.. and I am consistently amazed at how much she has grown since I met that 2 year old. She is smart, and she is stubborn. She is beautiful and funny, and is growing up to be such a precious little girl. I can't believe she is nearly 8! She has grown up so much, and I am so glad that I get to be a part of it every day.

Don't get me wrong, it was an adjustment for all of us when we first got married. Addie had never spent the weekend with Jarom before then, and Marie had never had to let her baby go for so long. But we have worked together [me and Marie mostly] and it has been rather smooth compared to what I have seen in my life. Addie knows that she has 3 parents who love her so much and are always there for her. She knows that if we disagree, we talk things out and we don't fight. We work together to do what is best for Addie at all times, and we never make her feel like she has to choose between parents, or that her parents don't like each other. We all get along and if we hit a bump, we all work together to smooth it out and move on. I think we do a pretty good job. Sharing the "mom" job has actually been a great blessing. I'm so thankful for Marie for letting me be there for Addie. 

I love being a mom, it is the best thing I've ever done, and ever will do. I have 2 beautiful kids, and a 3rd on the way. [2nd baby, 3rd kid. That's right, we're that cool.] Addie is such a great big sister to Ezra, and she is going to be great to this little one too. She loves Ezra and while she knows that technically he is her half brother, she also knows that titles like half and step don't really matter. We are all family no matter what. We all love each other and nothing could ever change that. 

Our family is perfect and I wouldn't change a thing.

♥♥ Addie really wants a sister. She begged me to take her to my next appointment so she can be there to find out if she is getting a brother or a sister. It will take a little rescheduling, but we are going to do it and let her be the first to find out. I'm so excited! So is she.. she can't stop talking about it. I love her! ♥♥

1 comment:

  1. You know what's funny? My little sisters (the twins) used to call Jossi and I the evil stepsisters. I can understand how putting the word "step" before brother/sister/mother/father can make that individual look bad in a child's eyes! Curse that Disney Cinderella movie!

    I think it's great that you were able to share this. You know--to help break the stigma to little children that stepmoms are evil :) I love you and think you're a great mom and stepmom!