I guess I never really knew much about step parenting except for what I saw on Cinderella and The Step Mom. I never thought I’d be a step mom. But then I guess there’s not a soul who does. You see, I had plans. My ex husband and I were going to have our kids and then I always had it on my heart to adopt a little girl. There’s so many beautiful children in the foster care system that really need a loving home. But then life happened. Noah was only a year old when my divorce was finalized. My ex had abused him and cheated on me repeatedly. He even had another child …with someone else. So I struggled with everything eery Christian going through divorce does. Can God forgive me for this? Am I allowed to be with someone else? I know it’s acceptable because of infidelity but only because of “hardness of heart” so what if I could get over it. Then my situation was slightly different because with him having hurt Noah the courts were involved. CPS said that I must divorce him or lose my kids and I thought that my kids don’t have anyone else. My ex is a grown up and he will survive. And it wasn’t a decision that was hard because in this broken world we live in I had no choice. Despite how much I loved my ex and the fact that I’m still to this day uncertain if it was an accident or not, our lives together had to stop there. Our family was torn apart.
That is when I grew closer to God than I had ever been. I was alone. Again. Suddenly a single mom. Again. I just felt like my world was ripped apart. I didn’t even really get to say goodbye to my husband. There I was. Just me, two beautiful baby boys, God, and a lot of healing to do. I did heal. I forgave. My kids were totally fine. My faith got stronger than ever. I didn’t really have an interest in dating. I met my husband at church. Turned out, he went to my high school and grew up one street over from where I grew up. We dated 3 years. He has two beautiful children as well. We got married last year. We are now a blended family of six: Nick, myself, Hailey (10), Malachi (9), Brayden (8), and Noah (6).
I had visions of being a “real” family when we got married. He would be dad to my kids, I would love his kids and be the best extra mom I could be, our families would do holidays together… everything would be complete. Yeah, well, lets just say that a blended family is definitely not how God intended for things to be. Ours has a bit of extra drama than your “normal” blended family for a couple of reasons. One being that my boys are mixed and his family is racist. They won’t even step foot into our house because of my black boys. They never even gave me a chance. I made peace with that. Their loss right? But it hurts. Like hell. Another is what I will call the “ex factor”. I don’t want to judge anyone. I especially can empathize with how difficult it must be to have another woman in the picture spending time with your kids. But to put it politely, it’s a nightmare.
As much as I’d love to get into specifics so that all my readers can completely understand what I’m dealing with, that would defeat everything I’m striving for with peace in my daily life. What I do want to do is say what I wish she’d understand from my point of view.
I love my kids. All of them. I truly want what’s best for them. I believe I have given them a lot of opportunities they otherwise would not have been given. I will fight for what is their in their best interest because that’s what good parents do. I have spent hours dealing with issues I’d prefer to not touch. I read with them, bathe them, feed them, teach them many things. I am raising them. For about 3 years I was the primary parent in the picture even though I’m not the biological parent. I tuck them into bed every night I have them. I tell them I love them every morning that I get them on the bus. I have spent endless hours investing into their well being. I have spent money and time on them. I was the one home with them cleaning up their puke when they’re sick. Me. The evil step mother. I distinctly remember the first time Brayden called me mom. I actually cried tears of joy. That meant the world to me. I remember 2 years in a row that I got stuff to make with them for their mom and grandmas for Mother’s Day. Both of my step kids decided (with no persuasion from me whatsoever) that they did not want to make anything for their mom because, and I quote, “she doesn’t do anything with me anyway”. When that special day rolled around they both surprised me with amazing cards and homemade gifts that still hang in my room to this day.
This past year mom has come a long way in personal growth. She is involved. She actually has them 50% of the time like she’s supposed to. She volunteers at school. She is what a mom is supposed to be and I am so proud of her for that. We started to talking and I actually considered her a friend. I had sent so many prayers up for her and I am convinced that God is working in her life. I thought it was an answered prayer. And then it fell apart. I feel like we have taken 5 steps back. But I will keep praying and hoping that we will get past this too.
One thing about being a step parent is that my feelings never seem to matter. I know I don’t have any legal rights. I know I will never replace mom and I’m not trying to. But am I allowed to say what is hurting me? Why do my kids and I constantly have to be referred to as the “fake family”? Why is it that the color of my kid’s skin is even a factor? They’re kids. Why can’t anyone ever see that I am genuinely good? I just want what’s best for everyone involved. We don’t have to be friends, mom, but your beautiful kids love us both. How is it fair for them to feel like they have to hate someone to make you happy? Why do you despise the fact that they get a bonus mom that wants the world for them? Why do I have to work 20 times harder to prove that my intentions are good? I am not perfect. I am human. I am doing my best in a not-so-ideal situation. I have a lot on my plate. I don’t get to be a parent 50% of the time because I am mom and dad to my boys. I don’t get child support. And no, Please remember that when it’s our weekend I don’t just have 2 kids I have 4. My workload as a mommy doubles. I do it all without complaint. I wash the peed on bedding, clean up the toilets, make the meals, make the extra lunches. I do it all and I wouldn’t trade it for the world because, in my heart, those are my kids too. I just wish someone could see that.