Step Aside, Stepmom: Sharing the Spotlight With Their Mom by Claudette Chenevert
During the cycle of life, we encounter many major milestones that transform our families. They force us to interact with people we may not be excited to stand alongside, including mom. Stepmoms sometimes dread the most significant milestone moments, in which the occasion is inevitably shared with their stepkids’ biological moms: graduations, weddings and babies.
I’ve participated in all three. With each one, I learned it’s not about me. It’s about my stepkids and making those days special for them. This can be challenging when you face an ex who views you as an intruder or outsider who oversteps the role of parent in her kids’ lives.
I’m not the only one who has a hard time knowing what the right thing to do is—if there even is such a thing. I often read through your stories and posts on the Stepmom Magazine forum, as well as on Facebook, which speak to these sorts of dilemmas. I’ve heard you ask:
⊲ Should I go to the graduation ceremony or just hang back and wait for my stepdaughter to invite me?
⊲ What if their mom makes a scene at the wedding? Will I be blamed for it?
⊲ Will I be included in their own children’s lives, as a grandparent?
Although we expect to feel relieved, as our stepkids leave home and start lives of their own, there are still moments of anguish, insecurity, unrest and tension. Yet, experience has taught me that—even when the kids no longer live at home—our roles as stepparents never end. They simply change.
My interactions with their mom are different now, but there are still moments in which she and I share the stage (though it’s not always at the same time). Below are three major milestones during which you and their mom may need to share the spotlight— whether the kids are fully grown or not.
I also share tips for stepping aside gracefully yet without feeling snubbed or minimizing the importance of the role you play every single day. …To read the rest of this article and learn how to avoid conflict during stepfamily events, log in to your account and download the July 2016 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.