It’s embarrassing to admit just how much of this article, “Mom vs. Stepmom” in the November issue of Stepmom Magazine (http://www.stepmommagazine.com), was my life when I first became a stepmom. The competition with the ex, the anger directed toward her, the hateful feelings I experienced. I could feel my cheeks flushing as I read. Those first few years as a stepmom were challenging, to say the least. It took years for me to learn to let go, to trust, to give it up to God.
I learned that it is not possible to change anyone but me. No matter how frustrating it was, I had to accept the ex as she was and learn to give up my need for control, my need to be the best. As the author, Brenda Snyder, says in this article, I needed to embrace the freedom of letting go. There were so many times when I wanted to “win.”
One story I wrote for my book that’s posted on my blog is “Stepmom as Hero for Once.” My stepson’s mom took him for a haircut, and he hated it. He said it looked like he had gotten a bowl cut. I had to admit he was right. So, I offered to take him to my hairstylist for a fix. He loved what she did with his hair, claiming her as his new hair person. He was so grateful to me, and I felt like the “winner” of that round. But, it’s not a competition. My focus should have been on his happiness, rather than being pleased that I was the one who made him happy, not his mom. I think as stepmoms we so rarely feel we matter, that when we have moments where we get to shine, we feel that momentary “mom” bliss.
Nevertheless, I had to learn to accept that I wasn’t their “mom,” I was never going to be their mom. Instead, I needed to work on developing my own unique relationship with my husband’s kids. That’s when my stepkids and I became closer. This is especially true with my stepdaughter. I cherish the closeness she and I now share. We shop together, go out for lunch, play with our two small dogs, stay up late on the computer. Am I her mom? No. She has a mom. I’m not her aunt either, or a teacher, or a coach. I guess I’m just her “Shawn.” That works for me. 🙂