Mom and Step-mom. Learning to love.
As a mom you never expect to share your child with another “mom”. From the time you were a little girl you expected to grow up, get married to a man who hasn’t been married before, have a family and live happily ever after. I mean Disney said so, right? Now this does happen from time to time and for those lucky few women, well, you go girl! You have the marriage, parenting, life thing DOWN! But let’s face it, you’re like a unicorn. Most of us are not in your situation.
Though the divorce rate is actually declining in the US, the number of unwed mothers is rising. This leave more and more single moms out there. I’m not at all knocking on the dads! There are still stand up men who pay child support and play an active role in their children’s lives even if they don’t live with the mom. This is just the society we live in now.
What’s a bio mom to do?
So where does that leave us bio moms? Well, it leaves us sharing our baby with another woman. And you now what? Disney taught us about that too! The other woman is supposed to be an evil step-mom who mistreats the child. (I’m beginning to think Disney got it all wrong.) But most of the time that’s simply not the case.
When Collin was one month old he met his step-mom. It took me a little longer to meet her but I’m sure you understand that. When Collin was two months old he was waking her up every 3 hours during the night for feedings or cuddles or diaper changes. When he was 4 months old he had us running from Dr. to Dr. trying to diagnose his tummy issues. And when I say us, I literally mean both her and I would take Collin to his appointments because we both loved that baby so much. When he was 8 months old the three of us (mom, dad and step-mom) were all together in the ER room with our sick baby.
Step-Mom behind the scenes
Not a single time during the years I’ve known Tasha (Collin’s step mom) has she turned our son away because she was too busy or had something else going on. Not a single time has she complained about his waking up at all hours of the night or his refusal to eat anything other than dinosaur chicken nuggets. She has brought a brother and a sister into Collin’s life. I know that can’t be easy with 3 children but she does it and she doesn’t love Collin any less or give him any less of her time and attention. She has been there for Collin any time he needed or wanted her and he loves her. And guess what…I love her too!
If you have a strained relationship with your child’s step-mom you may not see all of this going on. You may not see the booboos she kisses or the bedtime stories she tells. You may not see the midnight trips to the bathroom she assists with or the awesome pillow fort she made. You may not see the adoring look your little one gives her when she makes a silly face and tells a funny joke. You may not know that she mixes mayo and ketchup together for him to dip his fires in because that’s how she likes it and oddly enough, your child does too. Wouldn’t you love to see all of that and be a part of it too?
Not always an easy road
Through the years Tasha and I have had our ups and downs. We don’t always see eye-to-eye with each other. Sometimes we completely disagree and not only are we not on the same chapter but we’re not even in the same book. We’ve had misunderstandings and we’ve even hurt each other’s feelings. But the common love for our son and our love and respect for each other always brings up back to a happy place.
So, how has this relationship effected Collin? I don’t think there is a luckier little boy in the entire world. He has 4 parents who love him and spoil him more than we should. He has 2 homes with different day-to-day routines that teach him adversity and how to adapt. He has a co-family that make parenting decisions as a combined unit showing him that he’s important to all of us. And well, 2 houses means he gets 2 of everything! What little kid wouldn’t love that?!
You CAN do this
I just want to tell you that this is possible. This is my every day. Co-parenting is not just something we do every other weekend, we live and breathe it. I had struggles in the beginning as I’m sure Collin’s step mom did too. But we both set our pride aside so that a little boy could thrive. And that’s the biggest tip I can give you. Let go of your pride, let go of your hurt. Give it up to God and be done with it.
When you’re done reading this I want you to go into your child’s room and look at their beautiful sleeping face (because let’s face it, if they’re awake you’re not reading this). Look at that peaceful little creature and tell me they don’t deserve the best. Tell me that your pride or your hurt is more important than their happiness and wellbeing. You can’t do it because they DO deserve the best and your pride or hurt is NOT more important. Kiss that innocent little forehead and decide right then that you’re going to take the steps needed to start building or mending your relationship with your child’s step-mom.
I’ll keep writing posts with helpful info and I’ll be here for you the whole way. So let go and let God. Start tonight with a decision to move forward in your relationship with your child’s step-mom. She’ll thank you for it and your child will feel even more loved because of it. Need some ideas on where to start? Check out this post about Mom and Step-mom date ideas. I’m sure there’s something there the two of you would love to do together.