In praise of stepmums

January 14, 2011 in Latest, Life, Mums tips

finding headlice?
Image by -l.i.l.l.i.a.n- via Flickr

When I left my previous relationship, I was determined that if I were to start a relationship with someone new, it would be someone with kids. I’d had a couple of relationships that went wrong purely because they couldn’t cope with me having a child who came first all the time, so I figured that someone with their own kids would understand more, right?

And if I’m honest, I kind of fancied being that fab stepmum who was cool and ‘a friend’ as well as an influence – I was going to be the best step mum ever!

Of course, little did I realise what a difficult job it is.

As the step mother of young children you very quickly realise that although you’re a pretty big influence on their lives for the time that they’re in your home, you actually don’t count for much out of it. Your opinions don’t really count, because they have a mum who over-rides anything you think.

Sometimes it’s hard to do right for doing wrong – I’ve got it wrong loads of times: it wasn’t received well when I treated the children for head lice, I shouldn’t have bought the eldest’s first bra, I’m not entitled to have opinions on how they’re dressed or what time they go to bed.

And do you know what? I accept that – I’m not their mum, I’m just some woman their Dad lives with, and 90% of the time I don

‘t count.

But what a lot of people don’t realise is that I have a step mum too. And unlike me, she had to live with her step child full time. Also unlike me, she didn’t have to put up with my ‘real’ mum being around (which is a whole other blog!), and so she was the only mother figure in my life.

She’d be the first to say that she didn’t always get it right. And I’d be the first to say that I have no idea how she put up with me! But, 33 years ago she got together with my Dad, in the days when single parent fathers were very unusual, and she put up with my fights, my tantrums, my bad (and often downright weird!) behaviour, and do you know what? I don’t think I turned out too badly ;)

It’s not easy being a step mum, and the game changes from day to day – when you add in the egos and issues of ex partners (from both sides!) and kids that are still not quite sure what’s going on half the time, it makes it even harder.

But we all struggle through – and if my stepkids think half as much of me as I think of my Mum (I’ve never called her stepmum- she’s my mum) then I’ll have done a great job :)

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