Lessons Learned
Three Suggestions from Veteran Stepmoms​
MissCloClo's List
In relationship since 2007
1 stepdaughter aged 6, no bio-kids yet.

I know three important things I will try to do differently in the future are:

1. Do not take the things that a baby, child, teen says personally. I AM THE ADULT AFTERALL. I am still struggling with this very much, but I know that I have to get over it! It hurts so bad when all week in Disney all my SD wanted was to share the experience with her BM. Send her pictures, buy her souveniers, call her to tell her about the cool stuff, etc... I have to be able to put myself in her little innoccent shoes and realize that it is her mom. My own mom is my best friend in the world next to my husband so I first and foremost should try to be more understanding of this and not let it break my heart everytime she forgets about me on mothers day (which is coming up and I can't help but have my feeligns already swirlign with hurt). I am not and never will be her mom no matter how close of relationship she and I have together. I will always be second and her mom can never do wrong. I just need to figure out how to cope with this and let myself move on. Should I
disconnect from SD some?

2. Try to put myself in BM shoes. Despite her bad mistakes it must really hard to give over some of your child's love to another "woman" (me). This is either really big of her or she just likes having her weeks off to party... lol! Sorry I couldn't help mtself there : ) noting wrong with a little harmless BM teasing! Anyway, I do not have any children of my own flesh and blood yet, but I can tell you my mama bear insticts would definitely kick in if any other woman tried to insert themselves into the lives of my children. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this would be for me. It may be very hard and hurtful for her and from woman to woman ex or not, I can understand this feeling. (On our Disney trip she called to tell SD that her and the boyfriend, who 2 days earlier was abusive and she was moving out, had bought a puppy and was waiting for SD to get home. Of course this distracted from the fun we were having as a family. BM kept requesting pictures from
my husband, who by the way is amazing and always handles the situation with the utmost respect for me even if he doesn't always understand what it feels like to be a stepmom - he tries!, which brings me to my next point...

3. Your relationship must come first and I believe this is true for ALL families. One thing my husband and I have always had was TRUE, PASSIONATE LOVE and MUTUAL RESPECT for one another. Him being a father or having a small child was never a reason to be together or not to be together (although I did have strong reservations in the begginning being that he was the first man I had ever dated with a child, he was never mariied to BM). We didn't want to play family or house. We genuinely enjoy one another's companionship. We make each other laugh all the time and always take the time to figure out and work through problems (not that this is always easy). We love each other first and foremost. I remember there was a woman (on Oprah, maybe?) who had written an article saying that she loved her husband more than she loved her children. I can honestly say I get it! I know my husband loves me more than his daughter, in a different way of course, and though this may sound ab
surd to some of you, and maybe I will change my mind once I have children, though I doubt it, I think this strong loves reflects onto our daughter and she feels apart of a tightly bonded family team where her misscloclo or mamaclo or mama2 and daddy have her best interest.

***The only thing I regret at this point and am seeking help for is trying not to reveal too much information to the child. They are after all children and though kids in these situations often are not as shielded from grown up issues, we should try harder. She does NOT need to worry about some of the things that come up both from our side and BM's side. It is not fair to her and I truly feel awful for some of things that have been said in her presence. She deserves a lot of credit for taking all this STUFF at such a young age. I cannot even imagine what her little head and heart go through. Guilt for loving me?***

4. Also, I know I need to try to give up the control. I need to not try to give her what her mom can't or won't. I am afraid she is starting to resent me because I am a good person and she is starting to be old enough to see some of her mother's careless and irresponsible ways. She is starting to wonder why I can give her love and support and her mom cannot. She will always root for the underdog and I am not one, never have been, and never will. I have to not want to be the underdog just to gain her love.

5. And lastly, I need to let me husband discipline her more than I do. I was raised in a strict, but very loving household and I want to raise my kids this way. He fully agrees as he had a very unstable childhood and wants nothing but to offer the opposite for his little mini-him. But he also has a very fun and funny personality and sometimes allows me to do all the "work" because it comes more natural for me and I believe it is why she has blossomed into such a warm, respectful, polite little girl... I almost feel like it might be the calm before the storm - YIKES TEEN YEARS and PUBERTY!!! Is this too good to be true!!!

I am so glad I came across this site and hope to evolve and mature.
Stepmoms on a Mission®
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Cathryn@smoms.org