Random Advice from a Veteran Stepmom

Becoming a stepmom when you don’t have your own children is particularly challenging. All you want to do is revel in your passionate, new love but, because you adore your husband, you enthusiastically agree to embrace the “every other weekend, Wednesday nights and all holidays that cost money” custody arrangement. If it sounds demanding, it is.

If you are a child of divorce yourself, you may have had a positive or negative experience. It’s important to leave your story in the past. You have an opportunity to accept these children into your heart and build a healthy, affectionate relationship but it’s not going to be easy.

It’s a fact that children of divorce never stop fantasizing that mommy and daddy are going to get back together. They don’t want a third parent; two were fine until you came along.

Here are some of the more common scenarios that I recall:

“You’re not my mom, you can’t tell me what to do.”
“It’s not my bedtime yet, mommy lets me stay up until 9:30.”
“I’m scared. Can I sleep with my dad?”
“ I don’t like this food. My mom gives me pancakes for dinner whenever I want.”
“I’m not wearing that lifejacket.”

I usually listened to these statements and responded with:

“Well, what would your mom say if she was here?”

This usually stopped them dead in their tracks. The child’s grievance was acknowledged but the challenge was diffused and the parenting voice comes from mom, not you.

Sleeping in the same bed as dad and step-mom is not a good idea for so many reasons. Our compromise was to set up a mattress on the floor at the end of the bed until the child’s sense of security was more developed. This arrangement usually worked well, at least until morning cuddle time and then all bets are off ☺

With any luck, trust grows and the seeds of love are planted. Then perhaps you become pregnant. Blended families are another story completely. Stay tuned.

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