As a little girl in Poland, I believed that step mothers were always like the ones portrayed in my Grandmother’s fairy tales that I loved to listen to. Picture “Snow White” and you’ll get an idea of what girls in my country of origin associated step-mothers with.
Well, as life took its course sending me on the womanhood journey, the love of my life, Prince Charming, did not come on a white horse but with something much better … the gift for me to become a step-mom for two wonderful boys.
I can’t say I wasn’t scared in the beginning as to how my relationship with the boys would evolve. Even though they were quite young , they were old enough to understand that their mommy and daddy weren’t together anymore, and that I became daddy’s friend.
By now, the boys and I have a very strong and special relationship. I’d like to share with you the story on how it has been evolving.
The Beginnings – Daddy’s Friend
I think that even though establishing the base of my relationship with the boys was probably the scariest and most stressful part for me, it was relatively easy for the boys. Kids have this wonderful quality of being open to people their parents trust, especially when those people open their heart and want to play and spend time with them.
Since I was the friend of their beloved daddy, with no prejudice they were curious to get to know me, talk to and play with me.
And oh yes what didn’t we play? …. I remember one particularly harsh winter season, I became a resident Batman (or woman …) who was chasing the two little super heroes around the house to wrap them in ‘mud’ (blanket) and hide into a self-made ‘cave’.
Maggie or Mommy – What Do We Call You?
As we became more and more attached to each other and our love grew stronger and stronger, the boys started to feel that in a way I was becoming their second mom. Calling me mommy occasionally came naturally to them. Sometimes they would catch themselves half way as if for half a second they were deciding if they would call me Maggie or mommy at that instance.
Whenever they asked (usually during dinner conversations) how they should call me, I’d leave them free choice. I always want them not only to speak from their heart and say what they feel is right but also to feel at ease with how they refer to me in different situations.
Today I am their second mommy 98% of the time and Maggie the rest of it.
Love Makes a Family
To pinpoint a specific moment in time at which the four of us became a family is hard. Even though the boys do not spend most of their time with us, it happened way before my husband and I tied our knots in marriage or even before they became wonderful big brothers as we added two more family members.
I agree 100% with the statement by Gigi Kaesser that it’s love that makes a family, not only biology. And love, not DNA, is the glue that makes our family a tight and happy unit.
If you asked me if being a step-mom is different from being a biological mom, I’d say yes and no.
Yes because you don’t get 9 months to prepare yourself for the baby to come, you actually skip the whole baby, toddler part or more; your relationship with the kids starts from a completely different base and it takes a different “parental approach” to develop and grow that relationship continuously. Sometimes you don’t get to participate in certain events when two biological parents are there.
And I could probably name a few more differences but is the above really important?
No, not really … because the same as with your biological kids, the love you have for your step-kids makes you feel responsible for them, responsible to ensure they are happy and in the same way you’ll always do the best you can to ensure they are.
Photo by: Jennie Park
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.