I need to start a while back, before I can answer that. A couple Saturdays ago, it was 70 degrees in MN in November and with the reality of snow not too far off, the little boys and I decided it was the perfect time to venture to the “big” park one last time for the year. Skipping all outside chores that really could and still should be finished. Oops.
Unfortunately we were not alone in that thinking. The park was full of kids, parents, and a stray albino turkey. Yes. People were petting it and my children were mad that I was not letting them. Go figure. After playing for over an hour, I convinced Jack that Harv needed a break and I needed quiet, so we went for a walk through the trails. Along the way, we checked out the army tank, the Veteran’s memorial, and a bunch of teenagers jumping the fence to skateboard in the unfilled pools. Really world?! I was hoping for a quiet day at the park.
As we headed back to the car, they saw the park and asked to go back. Well, Jack asked nicely and Harvey just pointed and screamed. So we headed back. It didn’t take me long to realize that Carson and Ava’s Aunt, Uncle, and 2 cousins had now join the masses. Let me be a little clearer: from their Mom’s side. Meaning, Caleb’s ex-wife’s family. I’ve met them once. Years ago now at Carson & Ava’s Baptism. I didn’t think they’d recognize me, but I smiled anyway. I barely recognized them. More so I knew it was them because the kids. We hear lots about their cousins 🙂 As far as I know, they didn’t recognize me.
I text Caleb and he responds with “Do you still like being a Step-Mom?”. Whoa hold up stop the train.
Little did that Man know the conversation he was going to get after that question. I get this question a lot, “do I like being a Step-Mom?”. Like a real lot. I’m going to answer this as truthfully and honestly as possible. And then please stop asking, because it’s messy. K? Thanks 🙂
The simple answer is yes.
The other simple answer is no.
The complicated answer is I’m a fraud.
I was a Mom long before I was a Step-Mom. I love being a Mom, I really do. I know 100% for a fact it is one of my biggest purposes in life. The love that I have for my little people is immense. The natural nurturing carries over into my students. Any parent & teacher will easily admit that having children makes you a better teacher and being a teacher makes you a better parent.
The yes I love being a Step-Mom, is because I love the “Mom” part. I love that Caleb trusted me enough to risk his kids (for the record, I don’t consider myself a risk ha I’m pretty safe actually) with a new relationship. I love that I have 2 more people to help grow, mold, love and yes even worry about and get grumpy with. I love that my heart had the chance to grow. I love watching softball games, volleyball games, helping with homework projects, sharing a favorite color, listening to trombone practice, attending new badge cermeonies. I love being a wife to Caleb. That is all the easy-simple-yes I love being a step-MOM.
The no though? That’s a little different. That is a little hairer. That’s the “step” part. It isn’t fun having your husband’s ex-wife come to your house weekly, to call in the middle of dinner, to miss the kids when they’re away on the weekend, to have zero legal rights, to worry if something happened to Caleb, would I lose the kids too? Those early days, weeks, months were HARD. It was an adjustment for all of us. It was learning to play a new game, to trust Caleb, to learn from Caleb, and to do lots and lots of reading. None of that is over. Nor will some of it ever be. I’ve just learned to handle my emotions, to find a place that I’m safe with, and that Caleb is comfortable with. Would it be easier not to? Sure. Maybe. I guess I don’t know. I don’t live that life. But I wouldn’t trade Caleb, or Carson, or Ava for it either.
Ok so I mentioned before there are 3 answers, the yes – being a mom rocks. The no – court and decrees can suck. But the fraud. Yea. Let’s talk about that.
I’m a fraud.
I am a Step-Mom. Have been now officially for 2 years, 8 Months, and 7 days. (Not that I’m counting or anything). I have loved the kids and been a part of their life for longer though. Not much longer, but still longer. In that time I have only felt like a Step-Mom once. Yes. Once.
It was at Carson’s last birthday party. The boys were eating dessert at the table and I was cleaning up in the family room. I don’t remember what they were talking about, but Carson’s best friend said “Oh no, that’s Carson’s Step-Mom”. Bam. There it was. Never heard it before. Not like that. Not to define who I was. Let me be clear, the boy was NOT being mean. I was not offended at all. It was weird, it was like “oh yea, I am” moment. I think it even hit Caleb a little because he looked at me like huh.
I know they have a Mom. They see her every weekend. They talk to her most nights during the week. I know I’m not their Mom. Nor do I try to be. They have one. I’m their “Sam”. Someone they talk to, get help with homework from, hang out, are fed by, etc. but I’m not their Mom.
It makes me feel like a fraud sometimes. I’m not their Mom. But I don’t feel like a Step-Mom either, because I was a Mom first. So where do I fit? I know where I fit within the confines of our home and the 6 people we share it with. But to the rest of the world? I don’t fit into one of those nice and tidy categories. It’s just not who I am. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes I feel like it’s easier to hide that I’m a Step-Mom. And sometimes I feel like it’s easier to hide that I’m a Mom too.
The answers are messy. They aren’t perfect. They are definitely not black and white. And the answer changes depending on which part of the phrase “Step Mom” I’m experiencing (the Step part or the Mom part).
When it comes to it, I love them. That’s all that matters.
So to answer do I like being a Step-Mom? Yep. I would never trade the people I love. You wouldn’t trade being a Mom, even through the hard days. I know it. Don’t expect me to give up then either.