Day two of 31 Things I’ve Learned About Being a Stepmom….
Love is a funny thing. And over this past year, I’ve continued to fall in love with my children. All of them. Celebrating their wins and standing beside them with their losses. With three teenagers and a tween in the house, it’s difficult some days to distinguish emotions. I always love them… but some days? I just don’t like them. At. All. Whether I birthed them or not.
Last year, about this time, I had the privilege of spending the weekend with a group of stepmoms. Before turning in for the night, I called home to check in on the troops. Thing 4 (then age 9) had spent the night with a new friend. Thing 3 (then age 12) was away at a Bible quiz, his first of the season. Thing 1 (then age 17) had a big paper to write and Thing 2 (then age 15) has just gone golfing with her Papaw who drove in from Tennessee.
And, of course, I needed to know if the hubs was hiding in the bathroom or if the house was still standing. 😉 (You’ve seen Mom’s Night Out, right?)
When Thing 3 told me how well he had done on his quiz, I could tell he was beaming from ear to ear. He’s worked so hard memorizing verses and studying and it was evident in his performance that day. I could feel tears well up in my eyes as I paced back and forth in front of the retreat center in Asheville because I was so stinkin’ proud of him.
It was the same reaction I had while watching Thing 2 serve during a volleyball game and it finally go over the net. Her first year playing and the one facet of the game she just hadn’t quite figured out finally all came together.
I compare the two because Thing 3 is my stepson and Thing 2 is my biological child yet my emotions showed no discrimination.
I wish I could say that was always the case or that it’s the norm for all stepmoms.
Unfortunately, it’s not.
I love children, and the hubs’ children were great kids. They were six and three when I met them – young enough to still have love for any adult who loved them back, but old enough to realize that my presence meant mom and dad were no longer together.
I can’t remember ever not loving my step kids. But I remember a time that I loved them differently than I did my own kids. And I remember a time when, to them, I was just “Dad’s new wife.”
Over time, and through the grace of God, I came to love Thing 3 and Thing 4 in the same way I love Thing 1 and Thing 2 and I believe that love is reciprocated. (Either that or I have future Oscar winners living in our home!)
I learned it was normal to love my biological kids differently than my step kids and more importantly, that’s it normal. This didn’t make me the “evil” stepmom; it didn’t make me a horrible person; it just meant I was normal. This opened my eyes to the relationships others have with my step children. Just because I now love my step kids in the same way I love my own, doesn’t mean that my parents, my brother, my friends, etc. have to. (I’m so grateful that most people in my life don’t treat them differently because I didn’t birth them!)
But, I also learned it takes time.
The Supremes said it best with:
You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
If you aren’t there yet, it’s okay.
If you never get there, it’s okay.
But don’t give up.
“The Smart Stepmom recognizes that she will love her biological children differently that step kids. She knows that God can and will give her a supernatural love for her husband’s children if she sincerely asks.” – Laura Petherbridge, co-author of The Smart Stepmom
Love them the best way you know how. They will love you for it.
(Maybe not today, but one day…cling tight to that.)