I recently went on an instastory rant about the stigma associated with being a stepmom.
Here's what sparked the rant.
I told a friend that, due to our access schedule and some recent travel, I hadn't seen my stepchildren for about a week and a half.
She replied "isn't that nice to have such a long break?"
I looked at her as if she were nuts....
"Actually no" I replied "I miss them a lot. This is way to long for me"
On this Instastory rant, I vented about the frustration I have with the widespread assumption that Stepmoms don't like their stepchildren. People often assume we dread having them around.
That's not the case (for me)... AT ALL.
In fact, even though the house is much cleaner and the "to do list" is much shorter, our home feels empty during our "week off".
With the number of blended families and stepmoms in our Society, the stigma and assumptions often surprise me. Especially because I am connected with so many stepmoms who treat their stepchildren like they are their own.
HOWEVER, after I posted the rant I received a message from an Instagram Follower that brought me back to reality.
The comment stopped me in my tracks, but I couldn't argue the point. She was right.
There ARE stepmoms who talk smack about their husband's ex in front of the kids. There are stepmoms who purposely step on toes and cause conflict. There are stepmoms who appear to thrive off drama and turf wars. There are stepmoms who flat our don't like their stepchildren and don't want them around.
So even though I am working tirelessly to change the way that Society views stepmoms, I know that there ARE women who fit the "evil stepmom stereotype" to a T!
This message reminded me of a conversation I had with my husband about being an advocate for Stepmoms.
We talked about how it's important that I don't portray myself as someone who is a support for Stepmoms in general, but as a support for the ones who are striving for a healthy stepfamily dynamic.
There is a difference.
I don't support women who publicly shame their stepchildren's mother. I don't support parents who attempt to alienate the children from their ex.
I find the ex-wife/real mom turf wars tacky and immature.
Most importantly, I believe that when you commit yourself to a man with kids, you commit yourself to those little people as well.
As Kate Chapman of This Life In Progress said, "You have to love your children more than you hate the ex"
It's also imperative that I don't present as naive to the reality for many stepfamilies.
When I think about it, lately maybe I have presented that way.
I am aware that even though there are Stepmoms who truly adore their stepchildren and provide healthy and productive homes, there are also high conflict Stepmoms who look at their stepchildren as a burden...
In fact, if we're being honest, I am painfully aware because my siblings and I lived it once-upon-a-time.
Thankfully our Dad recognized what was going on and sent her packing,
Unfortunately that's not always the case. Many times Father's are oblivious or choose to ignore the dynamic between their wife and children.
Perhaps what I am about to say is a bit harsh. Perhaps you won't agree... but I am going to say it anyways.
Shame on those dads.
The way I see its our job as parents to protect our kids, and ensure they are raised in an environment with love and respect.
Anything short of that, is just not good enough,