A Stepmom’s Lament #2: It Will Get Better!

Stepmom's Lament: Are We Loved?

It’s funny to me how all of us think alike.    “It will get better” is a common lament that I hear stepmoms say, especially in the earlier years.  Then, as the years go by  and there are still family issues, this deep sense of disappointment sets in.  Perhaps you have said it to yourself.  “After all that I have done for them, they still treat me badly.  Or, I love them like my own and they still treat me badly.”  Sound familiar?

I have been in “Stepworld” for 20 years.  When I got into the game, I thought it was reasonable that children would have issues with me.  After all, I am a living, breathing testament to their parents’ divorce.  Unbeknownst to my own brain, I believed that it would be fine someday.  I believed that one day, the kids would all grow up and be madly accepting and in love with me. Was that an unrealistic dream?

I learned a couple of things.  I learned to understand that certain  feelings just don’t go away.  Loyalty to bio parents don’t go away.  Feelings of abandonment don’t go away.  The desire to be loved does not go away.  Secondly, do not judge the feelings a child may have for you by their behavior.  They may feel torn, but know, deep in their souls, that you are there for them.  In the end, all a stepmom can do is to love the kids unconditionally. The “return” is in knowing that you loved and did your best.  That is enough.

Here’s the good news.  We get to practice that hard kind of love that people talk about, but rarely achieve.  I am convinced it is good for our souls.

Dedicated to my friend, Amanda.

 

3 Responses to A Stepmom’s Lament #2: It Will Get Better!

  1. QueensBella says:

    This couldn’t of come in a better time. Just yesterday, I stressed to my husband that I feel all I do is keep my bonus-daughter mother seat warm. I feel I am only good when her mom doesn’t give her the time of day… and when her mom is around, i get the cold shoulder. It’s not an ok feeling…but I’ve accepted that her mom after 10 years of wishy-washy is now playing a full time role to her 17 year old daughter… I did what I wanted to do for my bonus -daughter. I am still here but you can’t help to get hurt when you are no longer considered in the same way as before simply now because her mother has decided to take the role serious now….

    • Barb Goldberg says:

      This is par for the course. You are right. It is quite hurtful. This is what I have learned. Everyone wants the love and approval of their mother. It’s part of the human condition. Teenagers are particularly needy and they tend to be egocentric in their thinking. It’s part of the teenage developmental years. But, the good news is that these kids grow up. It may look to you as if your stepdaughter does not appreciate you or recognize your efforts and love, but it will click in later. Trust me and feel free to write me a note when that day comes. I would like the opportunity to say, “I told you so”.

      One more thing, even if I am wrong, it really doesn’t matter. You love your stepdaughter unconditionally (am I wrong?). The purest type of love is the kind where you don’t need or get anything in “return”. The truth is that your soul is getting tremendous “return”. Trust me on this one, too!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. Sometimes I feel like you know my life!!! I’m 9 months into step- world and the trials are WAY more than I expected! Please know that you are helping a childless SM of 3 make it through!

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