The one title I did not expect to have in my perfectly planned out life.
Well, that plan had a detour and I am blessed to be a stepmom. I have two amazing young ladies who I call my girls. We don’t use the term stepdaughter or stepmom unless talking to strangers who don’t know our family. I consider the girls just as much a part of me as my own biological kiddos.
There are days I struggle with the relationship I have with the girls. Where I question what I signed myself up for by falling in love with their dad. But I see the way they love me and ignore the many flaws I have. When I forget to pack their lunch or don’t show up at their event because their siblings are sick. They are the most understanding and compassionate girls I could ask for when marrying their dad.
I wasn’t planning on having children of my own once I fell in love with Mike. I felt his daughters from a previous marriage would be our family and we would be complete.
Introducing New Kids to the Family
Plans change and three months after getting married we found out we were pregnant. I was terrified to tell the girls. Wondering how they would react or if they would hate me for taking away their dad. My main concern was how the younger daughter would respond. She had been the baby of the family for six years. Her world now being turned upside down.
Honestly, her first reaction was shock. She asked Santa for a baby sister for Christmas without knowing I was already pregnant. When we told her in January all she said was “I sure hope it is a girl.” Her sister said she knew because I was puking and always tired. No reaction positive or negative. She always had kept her emotions inside and I was nervous she was keeping negative feelings toward me inside.
I was devastated they were not ecstatic for a new sibling. I felt I didn’t have the right to be happy because I knew the upheaval I was causing in their life. They didn’t deserve to have so much change in their life at once. Their parents separated and divorced. Dad started dating. Mom started dating. Dad remarried. Mom remarried. Now their dad was having a child but not with their mom.
Doubts as a Stepmom
What would they call their new sibling? How would their mom feel about them having a new sibling at their dad’s house? Would their mom think they would love their dad more now? What if the baby took all of their dad’s time and he forgot about them? Would their stepmom love the new baby more and not love them anymore? Some many questions and no answers for another five months.
Fast forward to August and all the questions could now potentially be answered. Their brother arrived three weeks early and was immediately taken to the NICU. Dad’s attention was given to him but then their dad came home and took care of them. Just like he did every night. Will came home and they immediately fell in love with him. He cried a lot but he loved being held by them. He would look at them and they would talk to him. He calmed down when he heard their voice.
Maybe being a big sister wasn’t going to be so terrible after all. Changing diapers was not a plus but feeding him a bottle was fun. He grew quickly and started smiling. Friends at school thought their brother was cute. They understood Will was their brother. He wasn’t their half brother. He was their brother. So that is how they would talk about him to other people. “He is my brother. My dad and Elizabeth are his parents.” Just as I don’t refer to the girls as my stepdaughters; they don’t refer to Will or Evie Grace as their half siblings.
The bond grew with the girls and Will as the months passed. They take care of him and love him. As he grew he was interested in what they were doing. If they were playing soccer then he wanted to play too. He would run after them. Chasing the ball and laughing when he couldn’t catch up. They then would pass him the ball and play together. Such love and grace for their brother.
The girls come back from their mom’s house and Will has changed so much. One week he isn’t rolling over and they come back to see him rolling all over. I remember one time Sophia came back and started crying because she felt she was missing out on so much. I didn’t realize how much she had attached to Will and the effect of a split household was having on her.
Now that Will is two and half, things have changed. The older girls love to play with him. When he wants to play with his kitchen they now can make-believe with him. If he wants to read a book, they read with him. Talking to him about what the pictures are showing. Teaching him what shape a ball is or what color the sun is. Will loves his sisters unconditionally.
We welcomed Evie Grace into our family in May. The oldest only said “Please be done having kids. I really don’t want more siblings.” Lucky for her, that decision had already been made. This was her way of saying “I am okay with this change and I will process it well.” That was exactly what my heart needed at that time.
The youngest was again in shock but had a feeling that I was pregnant. She said I was acting the same way as I did when I was pregnant the first time. Her reaction was “oh here we go again! I hope it’s a girl this time because I can’t handle another Will!” The second pregnancy was harder on her because now she had to compete with Will for her dad’s attention. She wanted to feel special and noticed.
Challenges and Blessings of being a Stepmom
As a stepmom, I didn’t think about the internal struggles the girls would feel. The wanting to please each parent when with them; and not hurting the other parent’s feelings. Things children shouldn’t have to worry about but that happen with blended families. The pull the girls felt between the houses and trying to please everyone.
The girls are wonderful with Will and Evie Grace. Even when Will is saying their name twenty times in a row and not leaving them alone. They take time to read him a book or color a picture with him. I could never imagine they would all get along so well. I prayed they would accept Will and Evie Grace as their siblings and treat them with love and acceptance.
Being a stepmom is a whirlwind of emotions.
The highs can be wonderful and the lows very difficult. Finding the small joys in each moment is what I treasure with the kids. The smiles I see when Evie Grace lights up at seeing the girls come in the room. The way the girls run to Will when he gets so excited to see them on Friday afternoon. I am extremely blessed to have four kids who love and adore each other. They look beyond the different moms and see a beautiful blended family. One that will stick together through all the ups and downs of life.