A step family can be like living in a haunted house. There are ghosts and goblins behind every corner. Every time you think that things are going well, “Boo!” another monster comes out of the woodwork and you are back to ‘square one’. We all have experienced these phenomena. A snide glance or a cruel comment can change the entire family dynamic and make any evil stepmother cry and want to fly off on her broom. Three scary apparitions may haunt the best of stepmothers.
Stepmothers have stepped into a horror movie.
Step family life reminds me of the movie, Invasion of the Body Snatchers. This movie was made in 1956 and it tells the story of an extraterrestrial invasion of a small town in California. The space invaders replace the citizens of the towns with duplicates of themselves. These new humans are devoid of any emotion or individuality.
Stepmothers experience the same type of invasion. Literally, your body and mind is consumed by thoughts of where you fit into this world. First, the step monster invader eats my brain. It feels as if all my thoughts are consumed with some aspect of my stepmother role. Then, my time gets captured. The tasks of a stepmother are no different than those of any parent. They include cooking, cleaning, taking the kids to their activities, attending all activities and making sure that homework is done. Next thing you know, your past life gets absorbed into your step family and everyone views you through the lenses of the infamous “step” word.
Memories haunt your life.
Your new family has a vibrant life that does not include you. Their loving memories are menacing and leave a yearning in your stepchildren that can never be filled. Like all family memories, these recollections are cherished. No monsters or goblins can affect the children’s desires for their original family to be intact. Stepparents stand as a haunting reminder of the family that can no longer be. No magic potion can ever make us fit into the original picture. It can be like living in one of those lonely, desolate mansions that you see in every fairy tale, surrounded by ghosts that you never see.
The scariest thing of all: vulnerability
The scariest part of stepmother life is that you are laid bare, like a dead body in the darkest cemetery. Your life and your love for your family are open. Your new family knows all of your secrets and you know theirs. It is a sacred and frightening place for everyone. Yet, most would not realize the scariest hidden fear that lurks inside a stepmother: a broken heart. Although we may not say anything, each thoughtless comment or expression pierces our hearts. That wicked exterior is a disguise that stepmothers use to protect themselves from the spine-chilling affect of cruel words. Our biggest secret is how much we love our family. We are vulnerable to any ghastly creature that may decide to make a comment or criticism. It is a frightful existence.
Just like Halloween, the life of a stepmother is fun and scary at the same time. Happily, we welcome the tricks or treats of our step families and hope that we don’t get transformed into a beast along the way.
Listen to my talk on how to make Halloween a fun and spiritual lesson for all of us: