Stepmommy or Stepmonster? Part I

Posted by in Articles & Rants, Motherhood Project, Writing

If a woman came to me and said there is man whom she is seriously interested in, but he has young children of his own who live with him full-time, and this woman also has children of her own, who, should she and this man marry, would also be living with them full-time, if a woman came to me and wanted to know my advice in such a predicament, it would be very simple and quite succinct.

Run. Like. Hell.

Oh. Dear. That’s not the response you expected? *clutches pearls* Goodness, me! I am, after all, a mother in the very same situation, aren’t I? Tsk. Tsk. What does such a statement say about me? I must be a monster. How horrid! How awful! How very befitting of a… stepmother.


I’m going to begin this little confessional series as a part of the ‘Motherhood Project,’ I hope you’ll bear with me through the ups and downs of this journey… you’re going to encounter some brutal honesty and a range of emotions, I honestly believe, no woman was designed to endure. Stepmothering is the hellish bliss that fairy tales are made of. Wait. Yeah.Don’t worry. by the end of this, you’ll know just what I mean.

To begin, let’s set the stage:

I married my husband some four years ago (in 2010), and having two children of my own, plus his four, we dreamed of the ideal *blended family* life. We were very much in love, I was thoroughly enjoying being a ‘super mom’ of sorts and he was a loving, doting dad who adored his children and whose decision to marry me (much like my decision to marry him) weighed heavily upon my very involved style as a mother and my aspirations for our perfect little family-to-be. We had both been married to people who did not have the same vision for our families as we had. We both wanted our children to have better, to have more.

But before we get too selfless and self-righteous, let’s be clear. We were in-love with each other, we desired each other, and while the parenting element was a big draw for both of us (and would have been a deal breaker), the basis of our union (as is in most unions) was our sincere love for and attraction to one another. Our mutual vision for the future, our firm foundation in our faith (oh yes, we both prayed about it, before we decided to seal the deal), and our uncanny compatibility were bonuses that developed after the attraction had been aroused.

So, after a moderate courting period and a long deliberation (this is where all those prayers came in) we decided to get married and make our two little broken families one. My kids were aged 4 and 6, and his were 6, 8, 9, and 11… or something like that, we have a lot of kids. I would move from California to Kansas (don’t get me started) and we would get a house out there. So there would be some serious adjustment for all of us. Not surprisingly, we underestimated just how much.

Prior to my moving cross-country we’d both been out several times to our respective states and hung out with the kids, got to know them (as best we could when we were all on our best behavior) and tried to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone. My soon-to-be stepkids seemed genuinely delighted at the prospect of having me as a step-mom. They were unusually needy, which made me feel all the more special and welcomed. My own kids were a bit less excited (stepdads are never that exciting, lol), but they did love the idea of having more brothers and sisters (my daughter finally would have someone to do girl stuff with and my son would have big brothers! Dream come true, right?) and the idea of having seasons… snow in particular, seemed pretty cool, since in LA it was always sun sun sun.

So the date was set, the marriage was had, and the move was made. We began by moving into my husband’s two-bedroom apartment and being the naturally selfless dad that he was, he had his girls living in one room, boys in the other, and he slept in the living room… on a futon… with no door. Yeah. So… it wasn’t the best start, honestly. Lack of privacy is the number one no-no in a new marriage with kids in tow. But the stage was officially set and the tragic comedy of our new life was ready to begin. It would be a story of great love and passion, strong resilient faith, desperation and disappointment, and complete and utter madness. It would be a so-called blended family. It would be all ours to endure.