Nothing could have ever prepared me for the role of Stepmother. Initially it was ALL very cute, my new daughter and I shared everything. When she came over she spent more time tied to my hip than her Dad’s. She adored me and me her!
I was once a step child, a half-sister, a visitor in my father’s home. I know the kind of confusion it brings. I’ve experienced both love and disregard from step mothers. And so I told myself that this experience had prepared me to be the best stepmom the world has ever seen if I were to be in that situation.
And indeed the opportunity presented itself, I fell in love and married a man that had a daughter. I met her, it was love at first sight. When I vowed to my husband I also made a vow to the daughter, that her dad will always be her dad and will always love and cherish her the way he always did even before I came into the picture. The kind of love that gives her the attention she needed as a girl child. The kind of love that would make her feel at home when she came over on weekends because that was her home after all. Luckily I didn’t have to influence my husband much about being this loving father to her because he already was. I just shared my experiences of growing up without my father to add onto the conviction he already had about his role as her dad.
But then as with most co-parenting efforts, there were disagreements between the 3 of us parents, I say the 3 of us because I still maintain and believe that she is mine and I am hers. I believe that Parenthood takes more than just DNA, it takes love. It was now the teething stage of co-parenting with a 3rd parent in the picture.
You see, when parents fight, for whatever reason, the children suffer the most. The kind of suffering that stays with them to their adulthood. This suffering can even be personality altering, it’s deep and often time’s children can’t explain it because they cannot make sense of it.
Initially when the disagreements started, I opted to stay out of any business that had to do with the child and let the two parents handle it. But my husband and I share and discuss everything pertaining to our kids and we make the decisions about our home together so in that sense this was building a wedge between us, we had no unity in that department and unity is one of the key attributes of a happy marriage. And also with “staying out” came emotional withdrawal and this altered my relationship my step – daughter. She questioned me about whether I loved her because I was too silent, things were not the same way between us and this broke my heart because it meant I broke the vow! I vowed that I would always be there because I know what it feels like to be a girl child and have your dad live with his other family.
You see, she did not call for this, she is a child that is in the middle of older people who should put her first.
I came to a place where I had to hold every thought about her captive and ask myself am I doing what God called me to do in her life by bringing me into her life. What was my part and my responsibility in that situation? Was it to hold on to my pride and allow her to suffer even more or to be a voice of peace and an advocate for Love? The Love that I vowed to love her with, in the definition of 1 Corinthians 13:1?
It’s difficult to be rational in the heat of egos fighting. But it should remain in our hearts that the children come first, my kids love their sister and she loves them but for that to be clear it had to take an honest moment with one’s moral self and repentance. I am happy for an open and loving relationship with my step daughter and I have grown so much personally and as a mother since she came into my life. Life as a stepmom may not have always been easy but Love always wins. I am grateful for the journey and what it has taught me and I am grateful for learning about and having a special dimension of motherhood that is not brought about by DNA.
Till next time…
Mommying in the city!