Confessions of an Evil Stepmother

8 Jun

He came into my life when I was just 23, and he was 4. I showed him how to have pill bug races, and he taught me that it was important to pack extra socks and underwear when travelling.

I was a “step” mother before I was a “real” mother. I was told “Wait until you have kids, then you’ll really understand what it is like to love a child.”

Almost 20 years later, and I still could not disagree more. I fail to understand why anyone would think that you cannot love another’s child as your own….you might as well say that parents who choose adoption can’t really love their children either…

I have NEVER liked the term “step” in regards to parenting, or as a relationship to a child. Whomever chose the term “step” as a precursor to “parent” certainly didn’t mean it to indicate a step up….

I am his parent, and he is my son; but, I am NOT his mother. When he was in kindergarten he wanted to call me “Mommy” and I rebuffed every suggestion. I always redirected gently, “I am NOT your mommy, I’m your Beth.”  We settled into a routine where he would call me “Lady’ and I would call him “Boy”… it works for us.

I will explain my relationship with him to others as “He is my bonus child from my husband’s first marriage” and there are the rare occasions when I let it slip by if someone calls him my son in a social situation, because to correct them if it is a brief conversation seems a moot point…. And at the same time I have a healthy respect for my boy’s mother, and I’m always quick to bring her into an introduction if we are together socially. Conversely, I have brought up my daughters knowing that he is their brother, and NOT a half-brother…who came up with these terms?

It is a very fine line us step parents walk between love and discipline, redirection and rhetoric…

And history has not been kind to step-mothers. From Cinderella to Snow White…even Disney seems to cast a long shadow on the role of step-mother.

What are your thoughts on step-parenting? Are they card-carrying parents,  just stand ins, or something in-between?

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9 Responses to “Confessions of an Evil Stepmother”

  1. urwife June 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    i think you’re right, it’s not the best term. i think your term ‘bonus-child’ is awesome- maybe it should be bonus-parent? it’s whatever works for you and as long as you’re supplying the love it’s all good i reckon.

    • thyroidinfo June 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm #

      Thanks for reading! I’m also enjoying your 30 days experiment…Looking forward to the progression!!

  2. Glenda Fors June 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    Hi! I quite enjoyed your entry about being a bonusmom. Did you know that that’s the term used in Sweden? Bonusmamma? Anyway, I am in the same team as you; I became a bonusmom when I was 27 (sort of!), and even if I can’t deny it has its ups and downs, I am so loving the ride!

    • thyroidinfo June 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      I did NOT know that! But I’m glad to know that 🙂 Sweden does so many things right!!

  3. ejorpin June 22, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    Great post! I too am a bonus parent and like you I am always treading that fine line between being incredibly respectful to my step-sons ‘real’ mum and also playing the important role in their lives that I know I do. It is a difficult field to negotiate sometimes – we are more than glorified baby sitters and yet we are conscious of not stepping on toes, of not causing friction or dividing loyalties. But the rewards are immense and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    As a side note, considering the number of bonus parents out there it always drives me crazy that in all kinds of ways step-parents aren’t recognised. As a really trivial example I tried to add my step dad to my family on facebook the other day and the option isn’t there. The same thing happens all the time when I’m booking flights or filling out other forms and need to indicate family relationships – gets me quite hot under the collar!

    • thyroidinfo June 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

      Amen, sister! As a side note, my boy just added my and his mother as his “moms” on FB!! He did it right after I posted it, so I took it as a sign of acceptance from him…. Now I realize it could be that “step-mom” wasn’t an option ;p

  4. Lauren Bombardier July 20, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    I completely agree with you about the “half” sibling part. I have four “half” siblings and no full siblings, but I have never referred to them as my “half-brother” or my “half-sisters” unless I was clarifying to people who cared enough to ask that I am a child of my mother’s first marriage and my birth-dad (never refer to him as my “real” dad because my “step” dad was the one who raised me) had two daughters from HIS first marriage before they had me. Even then I always say that I never use the “half” part because to me they are fully my brother and my sisters.

    I have a story of when one of my younger sisters was born. I was seventeen and my brother was only seven years old at the time. One of my older sisters had gotten in touch with me (we weren’t raised together, so I rarely saw them), and my brother didn’t know that I had other siblings. He was confused as to why they were my sisters but not his, so my mother had to explain about half-siblings to him. Neither one of us realized the impact it made on him until the next time I was babysitting him. I told him he needed to do something and he turned around and said, “I don’t have to do what you tell me to! You’re only my HALF sister!” That hurt right to the core of my heart, and I realized that he was hurt, too. I spoke to my mom about it and I think she had a heart-to-heart with him, though none of us have spoken of it since. That just reaffirmed my conviction that a “half” sibling still loves with their whole heart. I know I certainly do.

    Thanks for this post. 🙂

    Lauren

    • thyroidinfo July 21, 2011 at 12:03 am #

      Great point, Lauren. Kids don’t like half of anything….especially siblings!! With more marriages ending in divorce than lasting these days, the waters get murkier, but I say love is love, and I feel sorry for anyone who puts limits on love with titles like step and half…..:) Blessings!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Confessions of an Evil Stepmother (via Mommy-Come-Lately) « My Dear Agony Aunt - June 10, 2011

    […] He came into my life when I was just 23, and he was 4. I showed him how to have pill bug races, and he taught me that it was important to pack extra socks and underwear when travelling. I was a "step" mother before I was a "real" mother. I was told "Wait until you have kids, then you'll really understand what it is like to love a child." Almost 20 years later, and I still could not disagree more. I fail to understand why anyone would think that y … Read More […]

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