Once upon a time there was a princess…
I’m sure that we are all familiar with the beginning and ending of most fairy-tales. One fairy-tale in particular explores the relationship of a step mother and step siblings, we know it as Cinderella. Yes, Cinderella does have her happy ending with her Prince Charming, but in between all of that the ‘evil step mother’ is introduced. If Disney depicts a step mother as nasty and evil, how are actual step mothers expected to change the perception of kids.
Becoming a mother in general is scary, so imagine becoming a step mother to someone who already has a maternal mother. When I married my husband I knew that choosing him, meant choosing every part of him including becoming an ‘instant mother figure’. My ultimate goal is to be seen more as a Fairy God Mother type, instead of Cinderella’s ‘evil step mother’. I try to achieve this by simply being myself and taking time to get to know and build a relationship with my step daughter. I’m fortunate, as love and attention is all that is expected from me and in return I am respected and given a lot of affection.
I was brought up with divorced parents, thus had step parents. This didn’t haunt me or change my childhood in anyway, in fact I felt more loved than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always unicorns and rainbows but I was lucky enough to have a mother and step mother who were willing to put their personal feelings aside for the sake of myself and my ‘step siblings’. We were and still are the definition of a blended family. I don’t refer to my siblings as step or half-sisters, because we are simply just sisters who love each other just as much as sisters from the same parents would. Having had this experience, anyone would think that being a step mother would come naturally to me, and yes to a certain degree it does, but there are always obstacles and battles that need to be fought. There were times when I would cry to my husband and ask God if I’m doing the right thing, and often doubt myself and my actions but I’ve learnt to be more patient with myself as I too am learning along this journey.
Being a step mother is tricky because there are unspoken boundaries that you just know isn’t yours to cross, as much as you love the kid you need to stay conscious of the fact that they still have a maternal mother and nothing or no one will ever replace that. At no point should you make the kid or mother feel that you are trying to interfere or change the bond that they have but at the same time you need to love her or him as your own. It is a very selfless act, as you sacrifice and give of yourself and should never expect too much in return. Regardless of your relationship with the mother of the child, there is always that unspoken understanding that despite the circumstance, all that matters is the wellbeing of the child. The most important thing that I’ve learnt from this process is that no matter what, love always conquers all. When you deeply love someone, whether you have given birth to them or not you will endure a lot to see them happy.
I’ve recently found out that I’m going to be a mother myself, and most people would think... she’s been practicing for years so she’ll be fine. Honestly deep down inside I’m freaking out a little because I’ve mastered the art of being a step mom, but now I have to start a whole new chapter on learning how to be a mother to my own little boy. My friends and family say that I’m naturally maternal and that having a new born baby will be easy for me but I pray every day that God will guide me and take away any fear that I may have. It is my honour to teach my kids, step or not, how to love each other and to always ensure that they feel included, protected and loved equally. I am excited to start this new adventure and can’t wait to meet my son and introduce him to the world. I am truly blessed and proud of my blended family, and wouldn’t have it any other way!