Confessions of a Full-Time Stepmom: 4 Truths About This 24/7 Gig by Heather Hetchler, MA
I glanced at the clock. The reflected time stopped me cold. My heart began to race. My stomach started turning. My breath grew shallow. They were all automatic responses to what was estimated to occur in less than three hours: my stepdaughters’ return from two weeks at their grandparents’ home.
Feeling terrible about my physical reaction, I texted two friends and asked them to pray for me.
As a full-time stepmom of two and a co-parenting mom of four, there are only two weeks each year in which my stepdaughters are not with us. I look forward to these two weeks. It’s not because I don’t love my stepdaughters. It’s because those two weeks give me time alone, at home, with my husband and our other four kids.
While I did miss them and was looking forward to seeing them, I had to be honest. I wasn’t ready for what their return meant. Their coming home meant the return of hurt; the return of drama, lying, disrespect and the stressors this combination of things can bring to our marriage.
It’s been more than 10 years since their mother left, but hurt is still rooted deeply in their hearts. When they are stressed, that hurt gets aimed at me—the mom in the house. They are human. I understand why this happens, but it doesn’t make their reactions any easier to live with.
As a full-time stepmom, I’m the mom in the house. Yet, I’m not their mom. I have all the responsibility but only a smidgen of authority. I share my time between my biological children and my stepkids. There is an interesting jealously tango that goes on.
My stepdaughters are jealous that my biological kids have both parents active in their lives. My biological kids get jealous because their stepsisters get to spend more time with me than they do.
Many think full-time stepmoms have it easier. We don’t. We have it different.
My mind raced as the clock ticked. Should I not be here when they get home? Where would I go? I didn’t want to be rude, but I also recognized that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I chose to own my feelings, process the trials of my full-time role and be there when my husband and stepdaughters walked through the door.
While preparing for their return, I reflected on the truths I’ve discovered as a full-time stepmom. …To read the rest of this article, log in to your account and download the August 2015 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.