When I was a little girl I dreamt of all the things girls dream of. What your husband would look like, what kind of white picket fence around your home, how many kids the two of you would have. Cue in screeching sound, and I think we will stop right there. Let’s just rip the band-aid off on this dream I (we) once had.
It wasn’t fathomable to me, as a child, that one day I would end up marrying a man who had several children before me (with two different moms). Seven blissful years together and some days I wonder what on earth was I thinking. Obviously not, I was just in love. Isn’t that how we all ended up here, by falling in love with someone great but clearly had baggage that was disguised as fashionable handbags. For me, I would say luggage – a small plane’s worth.
In the beginning, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about being a stepmom. I used to see all of these Facebook perfect blended families and scratched my head and asked, “How do they make it look so easy”? I too, posted all of the perfect moments while pretended to keep up with the Joneses. For a very long time, that we had the most perfect life too. We do have an amazing family and I adore each and every one of my stepchildren, but the job comes with some punches. With every jab thrown at me, I thought I could bob and weave out of the way, and did a good job for a long time. I even patted myself on the back because I handled this alone. Over time, stepmoms would pull me aside and would ask me how I was doing it all, expecting that I would share this coveted secret only known by one of the Young family members from Crazy Rich Asians (read the book if you have not, trust me you won’t regret it). I want to say that I whispered this magic formula to pure bliss, but instead, I was upfront with them and said it wasn’t easy. That opened the floodgates of emotions and banter that left everyone feeling better about the position we were ALL in. That happened over and over again, and again and again. Think you get the gist.
One day I had an epiphany. I woke up and decided that I was sick of pretending and I would own that I was, and I am not a perfect stepmom. And just because I am not perfect, doesn’t give YOU (insert a name, family, or even yourself) the right to continue to throw punches my way for the rest of time because I love, care for and cherish your children, your father, your mother, or yourself depending on the circumstances. Women are standing up all over the world in a “Me Too” movement defending their rights and asking to be respected.
I say “ME THREE” as a stepmom.
We count and deserve to be respected, and we must start with respecting ourselves! How do we do this? We do it TOGETHER, as a group. We lean on each other and pick each other up. Ladies…. this is why I started Social Stepmom – a community that will connect everyone through these tough times and allow us to enjoy the good times that we deserve. Why not be able to celebrate the good times and the bad, heck in our vows (pretend if you have to) we say, “in good times and in bad, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health”, etc. I don’t know how many stepmoms are bragging that their partner and stepfamily are nursing them back to health. Instead, we are running activities while snot is running down our faces.
In the Hunger Games they say “Let the games begin. And may the odds be ever in your favor”! Ahhh the life of a stepmom. Advice is easy to give, but hard to follow. The only thing I wanted to know was that I was not alone! After realizing my goal is to pay it forward with others out there who feel the same way - ALONE! The more we connect through our community the more we can come together as a whole and create our own movement, because we do matter! With some time on our side, and a sisterhood to help those long days, there is light at the end of the tunnel and we will come out the other side smiling!