Wednesday, September 12, 2012

terminology tidbit

I'm taking a quick moment to pop on here with my morning coffee. My fiance's family and friends arrived from England last night, and today we're knee-deep in last-minute wedding errands and projects.

In the last week several people have asked me, "how do you feel about becoming a stepmother on Friday?" One person said, "gosh, on Thursday you'll be a single girl and then on Friday you'll be a stepmom."

These comments all came from people who know about my situation--that my fiance and I have lived together for the last several years and that we have my stepdaughter about every other day. I was a little irritated with the implication that it wasn't all the love and care that I have shown my stepdaughter, all the kisses, diaper changes, band aids on boo-boos, time outs, swimming lessons, and hugs that made me a stepmom to them. No, to these people I become a "real" stepmom on Friday when the judge signs our marriage certificate.

In each instance I let it slide; I think it must be a hard thing to understand if you're not a stepmom yourself. What do you think--did you receive any comments from the peanut gallery when you became a stepmother?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I remember the funny demarcation that people had between girlfriend/wife and the role with my 'family'. I never quite understood it, but fascinating when people expressed it. Marriage unfortunately may not change people's blinkers on the scope of your affection and contribution to your step-daughter - such is the dynamics of step-parenting - in my experience, the implicit expectation from my family and society at large is my contribution should/will be as unconditional as a biological parent but it will never have the same or significant value or meaning.
    It's encouraging people see you with a role in your stepdaughter's life. Stepmom was never used about me - any word with 'mother' was actively avoided. I made an inadvertent joke about being an "Instant Step-mom" just add three young adult kids, three grandkids and a ring (like an instant food product) and I was told by a soon-to-be brother in law "not to go there".
    Before/during/after my wedding, the people in my peanut gallery were expressing their sympathy for the pain my husband's ex would be feeling (on the day) and asked if she was coming to the 'family' event (our wedding reception). Three years later family members still don't know "what to call me" in the middle of introductions to people I have never met. My husband has been divorced from his first wife for 15 years now. I normally 'let it slide' and remain socially appropriate and smooth things over. Inside I'm hurt and in disbelief (in the moment and for a long time after). I'm sorry - I am aware how I sound so cynical in my response, but I wish you the all the very best in your new marriage (congratulations)! I'm sure your special day since this post was perfect and beautiful!

    Thanks to your blog I have decided to pick up my journal again and release my hurt and unhappiness in a way that is healthy for me and my marriage. I know we are all responsible for our experiences and our reactions to things, so I'm going to take control again and nourish myself back to 'me' - a person I can recognise again. Thank you for a great blog site and sharing your experiences and realisations. Being married to a man with children from another marriage can be a lonely, confusing and isolating experience so what you are doing is very special and I look forward to participating more in the future. Louisa