Another Word For Stepmom: Remembering Who YouAre When They Say,“You’re Not My REAL Mom”.

Another Word For Stepmom: Remembering Who You
Are When They Say,
“You’re Not My REAL Mom”.

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It was just Ivy and I in the car. I can still picture the EXACT spot on the freeway when she said it to me. I’d said I love you to her and her response was, “I love you too, but you’re not my real mom”. Have you heard that line before?

She was only three or four at the time. Earlier that night we had gotten our nails painted. We were the only ones in the shop. The ladies turned on their Karaoke machine and blasted the Frozen soundtrack. They all danced and sang with us. She twirled and laughed and it was kinda perfect and of course, we finished the night off with some ice-cream.

When she said those words to me, I paused for a minute. I could have changed the subject. But I didn’t.

I shot up a “prayer flare” (thank you Crystal Paine @themoneysavingmom for that perfect description) and took a deep breath. I said:

“That’s true. I’m not your real mom. But, isn’t it awesome how Heavenly Father gives us hearts that never, ever run out of space for love? They can stretch and grow. You always have room for more. You were never in my tummy but I love you.”

It was quiet for a few minutes and I let the quiet be. Then she said:

“So… my mom is my Real Mom and you are my Love Mom.”

I might have (totally) cried. “Yes, that is exactly who I am.”

That is who WE are. We stepmoms are Love Moms.

YOU Are A Love Mom

Whether they introduce you as their stepmom or bonus mom or by your name or a sweet nickname or a not-so-nice-name, YOU are a Love Mom.

No matter how bad or how great your relationship is with your stepkids, YOU are a Love Mom. You are a part of their life because of the love you have for their dad. Having these kids is a result of that love.

Does that mean you love them instantly? Sometimes. Oftentimes, no.

And, no, you are NOT required to love them the same way that their mom does or the same way you love your biological children. You love different people in your life differently, right? So why should this be any different?

We are Love Moms. That love is shared in a variety of ways and that’s exactly how it should be. They need the love that you give them that is uniquely yours to give.

Maybe you fight. Maybe you resent them. Maybe they stress you out. Maybe you never see them.

You’re still a Love Mom. Always.

Loyalty Ties

Loyalty ties are BINDING. The kids may feel guilty for loving you. Or too afraid to like you because of their biological mom. Maybe they’ve heard someone in their other home speaking negatively about you. Maybe they’ve been told they cannot love you. The truth is, we can’t know the full extent of what is going on inside their heads and hearts.

And so, we do our IMPERFECT best to love them. If and when they receive that love is up to them. We have to respect their agency and how they compartmentalize and label things.

Pray For Love

Loving them may not come naturally. Liking them could be a struggle. It might feel awkward. You aren’t alone in any of that and we have heavenly help available. We have been invited to pray for love to fill us.

“Pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love…” (Moroni 7:47-48). We can’t love the way we need to (in any of our relationships) without God’s help. And I need His help.

When Luke and I got engaged I felt impressed to begin to pray specifically for a mother’s love for the kids that would soon became a massive part of my life. It was a sweet and sacred experience. I have a long, Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go. I fall short. I fail. It is easy to love when they are happy and fun and polite. It can be harder when they are harder. But I want to love as God does. And that love is unconditional. So I keep praying and failing and trying again.

Stepmotherhood brings a unique set of challenges. Being a mother figure without being the “real” mom can be tricky. Carving out our place in the family is complicated. But, you have a place and a vital role to fill. Next time you hear, “You’re not my REAL mom”, just remind yourself joyfully that no, you aren’t but that you get to be their Love Mom instead.

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