Being a stepmom is hard. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. What’s even harder is being a stepmom before having children of your own.
Ekk! I hated typing that last sentence. Especially the end: before having children of your own.
I’ve had an amazing bond with my bonus kids since the beginning. When my husband and I first got together the kids were 7, 6, 4, and 2. I was head over heels in love with them from the beginning. I wanted to be the perfect stepmom and do everything I could for them. I quickly got into the mindset that I was a mother now even though I hadn’t given birth to any of my children.
When something would happen my husband wasn’t the only one hurting….I was too. When things were hectic and my husband was fighting/arguing with his ex wives I felt his pain and frustration. I was feeling all of the same emotions as a parent in this situation. I WAS and still AM a parental figure in their lives. My emotions were constantly being thrown into overdrive. I had never felt something like this before. I had never felt the feeling of motherhood.
I had an immediate connection with the kids. I didn’t see them as stepchildren or bonus kids….they were my children. They called me mom and treated me like one. I was emotionally invested from the beginning. Not all stepmoms can say that.
The first time I witnessed the kids crying on a Sunday because they didn’t want to leave their Daddy I was devastated. My heart was ripped right out of my chest. My husband had become numb to the feeling at this point (but trust me he still hurts every single time) and I was experiencing it for the first time. It was overwhelming and still to this day it never gets easier. Each time my heart aches for my husband.
Every Sunday when the kids go home it feels like they are being ripped away from us. I know it’s a little bit dramatic sounding but it’s the only way I know how to explain the feeling. You stand there helplessly while they are crying and there’s nothing you can do. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I LOVE my four bonus kids. I treat them the same way I do/will my biological daughter. When we are out strangers can’t tell that I am not their mother. They just see a family and assume I am their birth mother. That makes me happy. Why? Because people can tell I love my kids and don’t see me treating them any different than a mother treats her children.
Having experienced being a stepmom before I gave birth to my daughter, I now hug her a little tighter on Sundays. In a sense, as crazy as it sounds, being a stepmom before mom has made me love and appreciate my daughter even more.Why’s that, you ask? Prior to the baby, I was able to see what it was like to feel like a mother and have to let the kids “go” on Sunday’s. I don’t have to do that with Reylin. She is staying with me. She doesn’t have to be picked up on Fridays and leave on Sundays. She is with me all of the time (besides when I’m at work) and I know she isn’t going anywhere.
She don’t have allegiance to another woman. I am her only mom. She is not “taken” from me for two weeks at a time. She doesn’t call someone else mom or have another home. My home is her only home.
I honestly can’t be the only one to feel this way.
I don’t have to worry about stepping on someone else’s toes. I don’t have to check to see if we have her a certain weekend. I am able to be her mother the way I want. Being a stepmom before mom has shown me what it is like to love someone more than yourself and have little authority or power when it comes to their lives. Now while they are at our house my husband treats me just like I am their mother. He doesn’t treat me like their stepmom and the kids don’t treat me like that either. For those few short days I am their mother figure. It is nice but short lived.
Finally, being a stepmom before mom has taught me that I should never for a second take the fact that I am my daughter’s birth mother for granted. It has taught me that I should always cherish every little milestone in her life because we miss out on a lot of things with the older kids. We have to just wait until our weekend and let them tell us all about it.
In a perfect world we would be able to see the kids as much as their mothers do. But with work constraints and the fact that we don’t live in the same town, that is not feasible.
For two years my stepchildren were my ONLY children. They got ALL of my attention and love. When they left no other child was going to get that amount of love from me. Now that Reylin is here I now have step and biological children. I worry about the older kids. I never want them to think for a second because Reylin is always with me and their Daddy that we love her more. Most stepmoms wouldn’t care if the kids thought that or not. “I gave birth to this child. This child is my blood.”
Well when I married my husband I took his children as my children. Plain and simple. So being a stepmom before mom has made me more aware of the older kids feelings and I want to make sure that they get the same love from me as before. I don’t want them for a second to think that I have chosen their sister over them because she is my biological daughter. When you love your stepchildren as much I do mine, you almost feel guilty for having your biological child all the time. That in itself is a whole other topic. I plan to write a post about that in the near future.
My list for things that I have learned, things I now do, worry about, feel and fear as a result of being a stepmom before a mom could go on and on. It is a never ending cycle of emotions and reality checks.
None of this gets easier. I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news if you think it does. It becomes more tolerable, but not easier. Everyone’s situation is different. Some are a walk in the park compared to ours while others are 10x worse than ours ever thought about being. Just take it day by day. See what works best for your family. If you are introducing a new baby into the family, make sure you are letting your stepkids know you still love them as much as before. Try to put your guilt aside and continue to make precious memories.
Are you a stepmom who has experienced these same feelings? Have you experienced something similar? I’d like to hear from you. If you don’t feel comfortable commenting below feel free to email me at email@example.com. I’d love to connect with fellow stepmoms and help you in any way I can.
17 thoughts on “Being A (Step)Mom Before Mom”
I am a step mom to the most amazingly adorable boy. He is going to be 6 soon. I love him and I know he knows that. I dote on him, from his clothes to his reading books. He wants for nothing. We have a great relationship. As of right now he is our only son.
Our lifestyle is normal to us. We have grown accustom to being with him on weekends. He cries sometimes when he is going back, but his dad will normally talk him through it and he stops before he reaches his moms house.
What struck me about your writing was that you said it never gets easier, only tolerable. Honestly, i was looking forward to it getting easier. I mean, it hasnt been too hard, but its…. Its tough. And i really tell myself the small bickering or cutting our days short would one day be a thing of the past.
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Thank you Elle for your comment. Each family is different. So something that is difficult for me to handle emotionally may be easier for you. Take my husband and I as an example. I get tore up and stressed over every little thing. My husband on the other hand only gets stressed if he knows for a fact that he can’t fix whatever the problem is.
When I said for me it doesn’t get any easier I was talking about having to watch them cry and not want to leave. We seriously are hoping, more like praying, that all of this will become easier with time. But given our specific circumstances we don’t think it will.
I pray that your situation will get better and be easier on you. Blended family life is difficult! But I can give you this glimpse of hope:
One of my husbands ex wives used to be VERY high conflict. It was to the point that pick up and drop off was at a state police post. We NEVER thought things would get better. She hated me! Well just the other day her and I had a thirty minute phone conversation about my stepdaughter.
The limited visitation time and missing out on important milestones doesn’t get any easier but your relationship with his mother most certainly can get easier.
I honestly hope the best for you and your family! 🙂
Holy cow you nailed it. This is my life in some sense. I only have one (step) son at the moment, but my husband and I are planning to extend the family in the next 2 years. Wyatt is 10 and he has been mine since he was 5. He asks us all the time for more siblings so I know he will be excited when that happens. But what you wrote is everything I feel. I never ever realized the rollercoaster being a step would be until it happened. But I wouldn’t trade Wyatt for anything. He is mine. I just wish his bio mom would be more into coparenting for his sake.
Thank you Janet! I love hearing other step/bonus moms input on my posts. In a way we can all relate to each other to a point.
As for his bio mom. Give it time. I know 5 years seems like a lifetime already but hopefully she will come around. We done A LOT of praying to get to where we are now.
As for extending your family….that’s exciting! Even though we already had four kiddos, my stepkids were so excited when we told them I was pregnant. They adore their little sister! And I’m sure Wyatt will be on cloud nine with another sibling :).
So I found this post very interesting. I like all of the most truest and purest feelings you expressed here. I am NOT a step mom yet and by yet I mean… my fiance has a 13 year old son that I have never seen or spoke to because he lives out of the country but he knows of me. I always told myself I would never want to get with a man who has children because I never want a child ever think I am taking the place of their birth mother, but it seems like life had its own plans. I’ve been together with this man almost 4 years and he plans on bringing his son to America soon. I can’t help but be worried about what it would be like being a mother figure to a child that is not mine especially to 1 in the Teenage years. Your post gave me a little bit of confidence that all will alright and gave me an idea of what it will be like. I know for a fact the boy was well raised but it still doesn’t take away from the worry. And yes my fiance and I do plan on having more kids so it is even more so nerve wrecking when this child has been the only child for so long. Thank you for this post because it helped shine a little light in a dark place.
Sam this comment makes my heart happy! Thank you for your kind words. In all honestly none of us see ourselves as becoming stepmoms. As a little girl you don’t envision helping raise another woman’s children. But we have to look at it as this life is one that the Lord gave us. He has a bigger purpose for us. Our stepchildren need us for a reason. We may not know the reason but that is okay. Just think of it as they need you because God said so 😉
Oh my goodness! I was a bonus mom to three before I had my own. I love them immensely and it never gets easier. I was a mommy to them before I became a mommy to my own. 5 years as a step mom and it still hurts. We are lucky that we have primary custody and 50:50 visition but I would give anything to have them with us all of the time.
And I hate the guilt I feel that they aren’t getting enough now.
It’s definitely not a life for the faint of heart. It is one of the hardest yet most rewarding things I’ve ever done.
I am almost in tears reading this. I have a 4yr old bonus daughter & I’m pregnant with my first baby. & i fear that my bonus child will think her daddy & i love the new baby more. I don’t think that’s even possible. Being a step momma teaches you so much.
It really does! My bonus kiddos all know I love them dearly. They’ll even tell me they know I love them as much as I do their sister. It means a lot that they are able to see it for themselves 🙂
This NAILED all my emotions. I’m a step-mom of three girls that I love as if they were mine. In my eyes they are mine and I want to be the perfect step-mom for them. Audri is 8, Kate is 6, and Zoe is 4. When I started dating my husband ( Over 2 years ago) their mother wasn’t around but that quickly changed once she started to realize how much the girls loved me. They use to call me mom but now since they’ve been seeing their mom she talks badly about me to them which just tares me up inside. I don’t really like their biological mom I don’t agree with anything she does but I have respect and never speak badly of her because I know how much the girls love her. I often feel Jealous of her because she is their mother and I’m not. Their mother speaks poorly of me to the girls and tells them I am ugly and disgusting. I have never been anything but good to her kids and have loved them as if I gave birth to all three girls. It’s hard to have so much love for your step kids and be restricted of everything u do.
I needed this read. I’ve been in my step kids lives for 3 years. They were 1 and 2. We hit it off almost as soon as I met them. But I’ve felt so guilty since my baby was born this year. I love them as my own but I’ve been so scared they will grow up thinking I love their baby sister more since she’s here all the time. This was very encouraging! I do my best to spend as much time with them one on one so they know. But I also have to worry about what is the right balance so that my daughter doesn’t feel I love them more as she grows up?
It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done being a step momma. But its so worth it, but it doesn’t get easier.
Thank you Jacqueline. I love hearing other stepmoms say that I was able to help them in some way. In this life there are no cut and dry answers unfortunately. All you can do is keep loving them and show all your children (bio or step) that you are there for them no matter what.
Thank you for writing it so beautifully! I am a step mom and have been for 6 years, since the kids were 3&4 and now they are 9&10. They call me Momma…we are a very happy blended family. Having no biological children of my own, these kids that we have 5 days a week are my children. However, talking to other “real” moms about anything that has to do with parenting, they act like I don’t know what being a real mom is. I’ve even had people tell me that I don’t love my step kids the same way a biological mom does since pregnancy and giving birth bonds the mom and child.
Hearing ANYONE love and bond with their kids the way I do makes me feel like I’m not alone…even though I sometimes feel excluded from all the “mom clubs”.
So thank you!! This was a great post.
I just found out I was pregnant with my first child a few weeks ago. I, too, have a very close and loving relationship with my 2 stepchildren. My boyfriend and I live together, and although we are not married, we live almost exactly like we are. His kids are 4 and 6, and I’ve been around since the 4 year old was only 8 months old and omg how we have bonded. The youngest will even call me mom very often. I have always seen both of those kids as my own is so many ways, as we do keep them often for weeks at a time, or most of the week and they are only with their mom one or two days a week. I have loved them so intensely and have been such a mental wreck over all the fighting and crap that goes on between their mother and my boyfriend. And felt so powerless. And honestly the part I am looking forward to the most with my own kid is not having to deal with another person’s opinions and spiteful behavior. You are dead on that it is such a different experience and I am so looking forward to it. My two step kids are excited about the new baby coming, but I also would not be surprised if that excitement turns into jealously once it’s here. Oddly enough, I am wondering if I will even be able to love this kid as much as my two step kids. Right now they have my whole heart and then some. I’m so excited to add to our little family. The oldest wants to have a baby brother, and the youngest wants to have a baby sister so maybe there will be more after this one! So nice to hear someone else has experienced being a step mom before a bio mom and loved their step kids so much. I often joke and tell people that I have the parenting part down already, it’s just the pregnancy and birthing that is new to me.
I have two bonus daughters of my own. It’s so cool to hear someone else refer to their stepkids as bonus kids. I love it! I don’t have kids of my own yet, but definitely plan to.