How do you do it? I don’t think I could ever be with someone who has a kid. You don’t know what its like to really be a mom. Oh, wait I forgot you have two kids, well you know what I mean. Oh, you didn’t actually birth that child, but you will know what I mean when you get your own. Your not my mother. My mom doesn’t like you. Your overreacting, my kid loves you.
It is unfortunate that I have heard one if not all of these statements at some point in my care for my bonus child. The good, bad, and ugly have come out in parenting and giving the love needed to the child that I agreed to help raise. From extreme dealings with the birth mom and her family to arguments on the way he should be raised within my own family a lot of prayers and yes therapy was needed. Having your own child then turns things upside down mentally for everyone and add our industry into the mix and you can create the perfect storm to a volcanic blowup.
I’m in a more peaceful state now, and I can say I truly love my added blessing more than he will ever know, but man I wish I took the time to find more platforms like this to help me along the way. I wish I would have sought therapy and counsel sooner, instead of trying to handle everything on my own. I would have saved a lot of heartache, arguments, and tears. Step Moms/ Bonus Moms you are courageous admirable and not alone in the things your household may go through. Check out a few articles below.
From StepMomhelp.com certified stepmom coach Jenna Korf gives us seven relatable reasons on what challenges one may face as a parent by law.
- Children are more forgiving of a parent than a stepparent. Parents might learn as they go as too, especially first-time parents, but the cost is less. There may already be so many negative emotions around having a stepparent, that one wrong move might cause the child to hold a grudge, making it impossible to ever get close to him. Stepparents often live in fear of misstepping, especially when they don’t know what that might be until it’s too late.
- A parent has a higher level of tolerance for their own child than the stepparent has. The stepparent didn’t go through nine months of carrying the baby in their womb. They (usually) didn’t have those very precious first few years with the child where they bonded. The child is not an extension of the stepparent. It’s just natural to have more patience for something that’s yours, than something that isn’t. The mess, the noise, the tantrums, the stress – I don’t believe any parent loves these things, but they tolerate it because, well, that child is theirs. Something happened when that baby was born that gave them unlimited ability to put up with anything and everything the child throws at them. Even when they do need a break or get angry, their love for that child never waivers and they’re ready to get back in the saddle in record time. Most stepparents don’t have this superpower and it can often take a long time to trust the child again or have positive feelings towards them.
- A stepparent never knows when they should speak up. A stepparent is often worried about stepping on toes, getting backlash for something she said, or even something she didn’t say – something that was misinterpreted by the other parent or incorrectly passed on to the other parent by the kids. And because of #1 above, there’s always a fear of her stepchild not liking her anymore. What an awful existence, living with someone who doesn’t like you – but often holds so much power in the house. It’s exhausting to be so unsure of oneself. And walking on eggshells for an extended period of time will wear out even the strongest of spirits.
- The child wants to be parented by their parent, not their stepparent. Children are craving time and attention from their parent. They don’t initially see their stepparents as authority figures, meaning the child doesn’t see them as someone they have to listen to. If they feel resentment that they even have this extra person in their life, listening to and respecting them as an important person in their life isn’t at the top of their to-do list. And even if the relationship is decent between them, it can still feel an intrusion when a stepparent tries to intervene.
- Children naturally want to please their parents, not so with stepparents. Children don’t look for the approval of their stepparent the way they do their parent. There’s not a natural sense of wanting to be accepted by them. Don’t get me wrong, we all want to be liked, but what I’m referring to is happening on a much deeper level. In fact, sometimes they want to make things as difficult as possible for them, hoping on some level that maybe they’ll just leave and the child can have their parent all to themselves again.
- A parent has an unconditional love for their child, whereas a stepchild can feel like a foreign entity to a stepparent. People love to judge a stepmom who doesn’t automatically fall in love with her stepchild. But the reality is these are basically two strangers who didn’t choose each other, now finding themselves part of the same family. Research shows it takes 4-7 years for a stepfamily to feel and function like a family, so those first years are an adjustment, to say the least, for everyone. A child doesn’t automatically think of their stepparent as a parent – or of any importance to them at all. That bond will take years to develop. And sometimes it just doesn’t happen.
- There might be an unhappy ex in the mix, discouraging the kids from having a relationship with the stepparent. When a parent places a child in a loyalty bind, the child thinks “If I like my stepparent or have fun with her, it will hurt my mom.” Therefore the child may resist a relationship with their stepparent, or even worse, start acting out against her. Research shows that the more a child actually likes their stepparent, the worse he may act towards her. The guilt he feels may be too overwhelming, as he thinks he’s betraying his other parent.
Another really good site for stepmoms is http://theevilstepmotherspeaks.com/blog/
What I want you to take away from this post is this. Your hours are long your days are hard. You care and you love hard. Usually, when you work for yourself or in this entertainment career you have passion and grind like no other. It is a selfless act to take in someone else’s kid and give them the time and attention that any child deserves. Keep going, keep finding your peace, and continue to be selfless. The blessing and positive impact that you are putting on that child will mold them to be a positive force in this world. You can look back at that and say I helped mold this human being. What a blessing it is to give yourself to someone when you know there will be times you will be rejected.
Please share your thoughts and comments on being a stepmom to others. We would love to hear how you handle certain situations.
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