Something happened a few weeks back.
Something that I totally intended on brushing off.
But, the truth is, I just can’t.
One of the reasons I’ve become so passionate about this blog is because week after week I get messages from fellow stepmoms thanking me for keeping it real and candidly posting about my life.
My favourite part about blogging is that I know by opening up about what I have gone through, other stepmoms know that they aren’t alone.
However, every now and again I get a message from someone who doesn’t quite agree with what I’ve put out there. And that’s totally okay. We all have different opinions and different points of view! It’s what makes things interesting.
More importantly, every stepfamily is different. There are no cookie cutter answers. The way one stepmom feels isn’t necessarily the way another one feels.
The other day I received a not so nice message from a woman in response to a comment I made about my stepchildren in one of my very early blog posts. Throughout the post I referred to the kids as “my people” and “my family“… and this did not sit right with her.
Even though, I also mention their mother, stating they are her people too, this woman felt that this reference was selfish of me.
Now, when I refer to the kids as “my people”, I am speaking about them as my family, the people I care most about in this world, the people I want the best for, the people I love.
I guess this fellow stepmom didn’t really get my vibe, because this is what she said,
“I find your comments very selfish. It isn’t about you…. These aren’t “your people”. They are hers. She went through 9 months of pregnancy and gave birth to them. You should be honoured that they are in your life”
(I took out a few of the more colourful comments where she criticized my parenting skills and what I apparently what I value most in life… but I think you get the jist)
I read the comment and said to myself “That’s fine. I get that. Each to their own”
But, I wasn’t saying the children were my own. I wasn’t disregarding the role or their mother, or their relationship with her. I was simply saying I consider them my family, and I love them and want what’s best for them.
In fact, I was saying just what she thought I should be saying, I AM honoured to have them in my life. I think I make that quite clear in all of my blog posts.
Anyway, I hit delete and was fully prepared to move on.
But then, the wheels started turning in my head.
What if, by chance, I didn’t feel like my stepkids were “my people”? What if I didn’t consider them apart of my family?
What if by chance, I wrote a post about how my husband and my daughter are my “people” and the other three just come for visits every other week?
What if I wrote that when they come to visit with their dad, I don’t treat them the same as I treat my daughter, because they aren’t “my people”, because I didn’t go through 9 months of pregnancy and give birth to them?
What if I said I am not protective of them and don’t stick up for them because they aren’t really “mine”?
Would I be less selfish then?
(Note I am saying this to make a point, it couldn’t be further from the truth)
What this comment was for me, besides the initial sensation of feeling like I was punched in the gut, was a reminder that in the world of a stepmom, you’re damed if you do, you’re damned if you don’t.
It can be exhausting to determine what this role is “supposed” to look like…
That’s why you just have to do what works for you and what feels right
Ohhh and guess what? You’re damn right my three stepkids are “my people”. They spend fifty percent of their time with us. They are my family.
When I decided to marry my husband, I made the decision that I would love and treat these kids like they are my “people” … not only because that’s what my heart believes, but because I was a child of divorce and I remember VERY clearly what it feels like to not be treated like this… and it too was equivalent to being punched in the gut
Treating your stepkids as if they are your own and thinking of them as your “people” doesn’t mean that you’re overstepping and trying to take over. It doesn’t mean that you’re pretending that you grew them in your womb.
Kids aren’t possessions, they are human beings with feelings and the desire to belong.
And one of the few benefits of having split parents is that kids have the potential to have two families. Two groups of people who think of them as “their people”, two families who can show them what it means to love unconditionally.
Embracing yours stepchildren is a lot of things, but selfish is definitely not one of them!