Why I Choose to be a Great Stepmom
When I met my stepdaughter, or bonus daughter as I like to say, she was the sweetest little six-year-old that I had ever encountered. She immediately bonded with my biological daughter who was three, and assumed the role as big sister gracefully and naturally. My husband and I were married within six months, falling madly in love with our blended family and our similar passions. My daughter’s biological father passed away when she was two, and my husband seamlessly and lovingly stepped into the full-time daddy role, adopting my daughter and becoming her superhero.
The future seemed bright, but we had a very long and tumultuous custody battle ahead of us with his six-year-old.
My husband wasn’t married to the mother of his daughter, and they were operating under a custody agreement that was set in place when the child was just six months old. My husband had about 15% custody and was desperate to gain more, especially since he could offer his child a stable, consistent home and an environment to thrive, something that she wasn’t getting in her current situation. His daughter was failing school and was severely behind in communication, verbal, and written skills, and was primarily living in a home with a revolving door of abusive and emotionally charged relationships. After a grueling two-year custody battle, challenging every spiritual, emotional, and financial resource we had, my husband landed with close to 50% custody.
The road has been difficult to say the least.
Never-ending high-conflict situations spew constantly between parents (due to two polar-opposite lifestyles), and we live in desperate attempt to ensure that my bonus daughter feels as little impact as possible from the strife. Without divulging too many (probably) necessary details, my family’s life has been anything but easy these past few years. As many can probably relate, I’ve been painted as the evil stepmother who “mama bears” the wrong child, who must be some narcissistic person that controls her husband and children, because why else would I fight for my bonus daughter to have the best in life? I’ve been defamed, slandered, assaulted, and accused of more false allegations than words in this article. But worth it? ABSOLUTELY. I have supported my husband’s desire for more custody every step of the way. And now my bonus daughter is light-years from where she was before, in a school that specializes in what she needs, and is (at least half the time) in a loving home that encourages peace, faith, love, fun, and growth.
So why do I choose to do it? Why do I wake up everyday and commit to my children and my husband, and never allow my bonus daughter to feel anything other than completely loved and accepted? I’ll tell you why:
- She’s one of us. Actions speak louder than words. My husband loves his children, and regardless of obstacles, he puts them first. To see his unconditional love for his kids, and my biological daughter’s adoration for her sister, reassures me that my bonus daughter is just as much part of our family’s DNA as the rest of us. She may only be here half the time, but she never feels half the love. She is celebrated and included in all that we do. If she’s not here for an event or holiday, she knows that we missed her, and she has just as many presents and re-living of experiences to prove it. Yep, we shoot fireworks on New Years and July 4th. If she’s not with us, well, we do it twice so she can make amazing memories too.
- God put me here. I truly believe that God spoke to my husband’s heart and my heart at the same time, putting us in each other’s lives so that we can fulfill His calling on us and our family. When we feel depleted in strength, our faith reminds us that God did not make our family by chance. We have an opportunity to instill values, faith, hope, and love into our children’s lives, and fulfilling our calling is worth the constant contention, even if we have to remind ourselves daily.
Is it difficult? Yes, every day. Is it worth it? Yes, every day. As moms, we are given a little extra bit of strength from God to endure past our self-defined limits. God renews our strength so that we can be positive influences on our kids, in good and bad times. My biological daughter watches me and how I treat her sister, and my bonus daughter experiences unconditional love and support from me. While it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, choosing to be a great bonus mom is perhaps my most accomplished achievement.