The word ‘Stepmom’ is probably one of the most dreaded words in the history of the English language, thanks to stories like the Cinderella and Snow White fairytales.
Yet, it has been said that 50% of all women are likely to, sometime in their life, live in a stepfamily relationship. In the USA & most European countrues, so called “nontraditional families” (single parents, cohabiting couples and stepfamilies) outnumber the traditional families.
We, therefore, would like to plea for a newer and better image for the overly celebrated, yet historically evil, bonus mom. Hence, the title of this post.
As usual, this article is derived from the weekly Saturday Night LiveChat from The Cleymans Facebook- click the link below!
So whithout any further adoo, here are 5 perks to being a stepmom.
#1: Being a stepmom prepares you for being a mom
Obviously, this reason only goes when you’re not a mom yet.
Coming into a family as the stepmom, you are presented with certain habits and normal that your new family’s been doing for some time. At the same time, you therefore get to first handedly experience how certain behavior over time works out.
An example of this could be the way their dad always puts them to bed. When this generally takes 30 minutes, the kids will demand their 30 minutes and probably go for 40, just because they’re kids. If you’re not okay with this, you yourself shouldn’t want to spent that amount of time putting your future kids to bed.
Another example could be when the kids are a bit older. What do they perceive as “normal” as to contributing to the household? Or maybe the lack there of? This could give you clues as to what responsibilities you would want to give to your future children and at what age you should start doing so.
#2: You get to know yourself deeper
Before actually becoming a parent, you really have no idea as to what kind of parent you’ll become. In the same way, you have no idea what kind of stepmom you’ll become, until you are one.
But please do not be naïve when becoming a stepmom, because becoming a stepmom just might be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But as with most hard things, they are the one’s worth doing most. And maybe even the most important ones of doing, because they offer the sweetest reward.
When becoming a stepmom, you will be put in a tough position where you have to face certain elements of yourself you didn’t know were there. You will oftentimes run into your own limitations and you will find out certain things about yourself that you did not know before.
But at the same time, this too is a good prep for becoming a mom yourself one day.
#3: You get to develop character
Although this might not be appealing to many in the 21st century, because nowadays everything around us is designed to reduce discomfort. We make our surroundings warm and dry, take our car to and from work, and have a ton of electrical devices that make things clean for us. We try our very best to eradicate any germs and living organisms out of our world, take hot baths or showers, and pick our prepped meal up on the way home.
Yet becoming a bonus mom is an excellent way to build your inner muscle.
Everybody knows that you can’t force anyone to love or like you, but as a stepmom -and stepchild for that matter- you do have to like or love each other. And as a mom, all you can do is love ON them: make good food, do fun & interesting activities, clean their room and clothes, and show them that you care. But that’s all you CAN control.
From that point on you have to let go and wait. You have to let them come to you, hopefully with love.
This reminds me of the Book of Solomon, written about 30 centuries ago. In 8:7 the book reads:
“She [Wisdom] teaches temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life.” 500 years later Plato described these four virtues as his and went on saying that: “Happiness in life is the highest aim, and the virtues are the path.”
As a bonus mom you have to embody all four of these traits in order to have a sense of accomplishment: wise, strong, fair and patient.
And since all you can control lies within yourself, it takes wisdom to see and constrain that.
At the same time you have to be strong and courageous to do what is expected, to love on the kid no matter what the outcome. When any reciprocated love takes longer than expected or wished for, as a bonus mom, you have to be fair enough to forgive your bonus child and love them harder.
But most of all, it takes patience. A lot of patience.
And at the same time, this too is a good prep for becoming a mom yourself one day.
#4: You don’t fail when your step child exerts bad behavior
Face it: there is nothing worse for a parent than when your child behaves in a very bad way.
We all know the kids who get a fit in the middle of the store and screams bloody murder.
I used to think that those parents were doing a terrible job of parenting, but I don’t think that way anymore. I now know that in fact they are doing a good job, because they’re not giving in to the kids demands. The easier option would be to just give them what they want.
But as a bonus mom you easily get to distance yourself from the unwanted behavior of your step child. You can simply say (or think): “I didn’t raise them that way”, or “They sure don’t get that from me” As a biological parent you can not but know that you do in fact are responsible for your kids behavior. To a certain extent they do have their own personality, but raising a kid brings shocking moments of self-reflection with it.
I am not sure how this is a good prep for becoming a mom yourself one day.
#5: You get to practice Unconditional Love
We are now coming to the core of it all: loving a kid -that isn’t yours- unconditionally.
When it is your own kid, ‘unconditionally loving’ isn’t that hard, because of the shared genes.
Your kid literally is a part of you.
But as a bonus mom, this is not the case. You do not share those genes.
At best you can see your husband reflected in your bonus child, but you could also see their former spouse come alive.
So together with your partner, along comes an extra soul for you to love on. They simply come with the package. You now are confronted with a kid (or more) that you have to co raise and co take care of.
Everyone who has children, knows that they come first. When there is a situation, a problem, a challenge, everything else will have to wait. It is as simple as that. And you too have to be willing to accept this for a fact. You have to be okay with putting yourself aside for some parts of the day.
There are many circumstances in life that we cannot prepare for, and you becoming a step mom, may be one of them. But, we want to encourage you and hope you see that you can re-write what all the fairytales say. As a step mom, you are the silent super hero. You are your own type of vigilante – you don’t always get seen by the family or credit for everything you do. This just makes you a true SUPERMOM.
You and your family can chose to see the blessing in being a BONUS mom. It won’t be easy, but it can be the most rewarding job in the world. The choice is all yours.