Stepmom Secrets They Don't Tell You

Scaring someone prior to becoming a stepmom isn't ideal nor polite - shit, if someone would have told me when I first met my husband that this stepmom gig is rough I most likely would have thought they were a rude human being and flipped them the bird but now I look back and I'm like whhhhyyyyyy didn't you give me a freaking heads up (and still flipping them the bird)! 

I've been a stepmom for seven years, yes SEVEN and I still face struggles every damn day but that's life and as a stepmom, you just have additional hurdles unlike those "normal people".

SECRET #1: LOVE DOESN'T COME INSTANTLY

Did you fall in love with your significant other on the first date? That's a dumb question because I truly did but there have been people that I don't thoroughly enjoy being around but with time realized that they are pretty cool. That's how your stepchildren will think of you. It takes time.

The children didn’t choose you. They didn’t ask for you to join the family . They will view you as an interloper, a mid-season replacement to a beloved discontinued series. Even if you are not. Even if you do everything in your power to show to them that you are not, in fact, a replacement, you will sometimes be viewed as such. It can take years for the children to comfortably and consistently show you love. Like I said, it takes time. 

SECRET #2: YOU WILL BE EXPECTED TO DO THE WORK OF A PARENT WITHOUT THE RECOGNITION

Doctor’s offices will expect you to know vaccination dates. Schools will expect you to sign folders and find library books and donate baked goods. Store clerks will make eyes at you when the six year-old touches each and every candy bar in the check out line. 

That doesn’t mean you’ll make the first draft of the “My Family” poster. You may not receive a Mother's Day project from school. You may not vote on when a child can stay home alone, or take on more responsibility with household chores, or testing out their independence.

There is a delicate balance to your contribution and your influence as a stepparent. It will surprise you and hurt your feelings and burn your biscuits. It takes some time to get it right.

SECRET #3: EVERY FAMILY DYNAMIC EBBS AND FLOWS

Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug. Things can be great for one day, one summer, one year, and miserable the next. That’s not about you. That’s about growing kids and changing circumstances and shifting perspectives. That’s life.

Don’t over think a bad day or week and don’t grow too comfortable in the good ones. Things change.

SECRET #4: YOU WILL MISS THE LIFE YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD, BUT YOU WON’T TRADE THIS ONE

It’s normal and okay to daydream about a life without color-coded calendars and kids pulled between adults. It’s normal to think about what might have been, if you hadn’t fallen in love with someone who came with a mini-entourage. Maybe it would be simpler and less expensive and less heart-breaking to begin together at the start of everyone’s story.

But you’d miss this one. Every memory you make includes this broad cast of characters and that partner you love madly. This life in progress is the one that was meant for you, despite its non-traditional path and sometimes-frustrating obstacles. This story, with everyone in it, is yours.

bethann gondeck