I am writing this today because you are so close to becoming my kids’ stepmom. You are so close to leading a role we never intended to have in the first place. The position of stepmom was something we didn’t foresee in our future. We never planned for you. We never expected you. We never thought our kids would have a stepmom, but here you are. In my life. In their lives. On the days my sons were born, I didn’t hold them in my arms, look down at them wrapped up so tight in their newborn blankets with their little pink faces poking out and think, “I hope they like their future stepmom.”
When their dad and I got married, much like everyone else, we thought we would go the distance and be together through all of the life’s events. The good ones, the bad ones and everything in-between.
Life proved to be challenging, and we didn’t last. We gave it our best shot. We lasted longer than anyone thought we would. We got married young and for the most part had no clue about marriage or even life.
The day we told our sons were going to separate was the most stressful day we endured together. We sat them down on the couch and with lumps in our throats we explained to them that we no longer worked as husband and wife, but we assured them will we would always work as mom and dad.
They looked up at us with the same exact brown eyes and cried. Sad. Confused. Scared. Their lives were changing forever, and so were ours. We had no idea how to be divorced. We were going into this blindly, but we both knew we had to put our kids first, always.
We promised them we would always be there for them. And we have. Their dad and I have done a great job co-parenting so far. We work better together apart than we ever did together.
There was hurt, pain, and misery for both of us as we divorced and divided our kids’ lives in half. We gave up being full-time parents so we could become whole as individuals. That is not an easy task or decision. It took two mature adults to see what was best for our kids and us and to make it work. And so far we have.
But here you are. In front of us on the verge of taking on the now open position of my kids’ stepmom. It is hard for me to “share” my boys with anyone. Especially someone I don’t know.
I don’t need to know the ins and outs of you. I don’t need to know your story or why your marriage didn’t work. I don’t need to know about how you parent or discipline your kids. You don’t need to know anything about me. Why I am who I am, about mistakes I have made or what has led me to live the life I live.
But I want you to know about my kids. I want you to know them together and separately. Although my boys are older, that does not mean you won’t be in the role of “mom” with them from time to time. I want you to know my kids, not just be a bystander in their lives.
You will be around for everything from here on out. Graduations, weddings, grandkids. For the good and the bad parts. You will be a part of their story and their lives.
I want my boys to feel safe with you. Wanted. Secure. Part of the family. I want them to feel as if they are home when they are with you. To feel they can open up to you and be themselves around you. I want you to feel the same way around them. That you can talk to them and laugh with them and be open with them. Get to know them for all the amazing things they and for all the things they are not. To accept them and love them. Not love them by default, but love them, or at least try.
So let me share a few things with you about them. A manual or cheat sheet if you will.
My oldest- He is standoffish. He is full of emotions and feelings but hides them like Easter eggs. They are in there, and you will need to figure out how to get them out of him. He is sensitive but hard as a rock at the same time. Get on his level and talk about the things he likes. He will not be interested in anything you do. That is just how he is wired. You have two minutes with him, and then he zones out.
My middle- Sweet as can be. Funny as all get out. Take him out. Sit him down and get in there with him. Once you start him talking, he will open up. He likes jokes. Play some pranks. Cook with him. Teach him. He’s a sponge ready to learn. As a kid he was funny. He was trouble, and he didn’t care. I hope you find comfort in him when you talk to him the way I do. Where ever he is, that is home.
The baby- What more can I say? He’s going to be the toughest one. It’s not you. It’s the step parenting role. He is still dealing with the separation and life after divorce. He did not have us together as long as the older boys did. He still has hope. His innocence is present. It may take a while to get him to open up. Football. Learn about football as much as you can, and you will have a way in. Try with him. Then try again. He’s my baby and a total mama’s boy, which does not help your cause. But I can nudge him a bit. He will be around for a while longer before he takes off for college so take some time with him. But be patient with him. He is worth the wait, I promise.
It is hard for a mom to let go of the things she can’t control and trust that someone else is going to be able to care for her kids the way she would. Please be patient with them. Please care for them when I am not around. Please welcome them into your life and protect them. It may be difficult for you to settle into this new role as my kids’ stepmom, but I know it’s also difficult for them to settle into not only the idea of a stepmom but actually having one. Their dad and I were not kids from divorced parents, so he and I have no idea how they are feeling about their dad getting remarried. I can only imagine it may be difficult for them at first. But like you, they will get used to the new role you will be playing in their lives. I wish nothing but peace and happiness for our modern family.
Mom of three boys