Confessions Of A Stepmum

When I first met you I thought I’d love you in a second… Your tiny little self barely knew what was going on and although you were a total sweetie by anyone’s standards, to me you quickly came to represent all the things I was trying my hardest to push from my mind.

I feel like it’s expected of me, to love you, instantly, unconditionally, because I’m your Stepmum and I love your Dad and that’s the nearest to the fairy tale we’re going to get, but it didn’t work out like that.  It feels as though I would offend people if I said this out loud so I’m writing it instead, I find it hard to love someone else’s kid. Harder still when currently, I can’t have any of my own. That’s just the plain and honest truth.

Now, before there’s any upset let me clarify. This doesn’t mean I’m going to be unkind or that I dislike you, that I wouldn’t defend you or protect you, be proud of you or impressed by you. It just means I’m not there yet. Love is a big word, it’s the tops, it’s everything, there’s nowhere else to go after love and I’m not there yet.

And yes at times, I admit I’ve been closer to hating you than loving you. In quiet, honest moments, I’ve resented you, been jealous of you and simply wished you didn’t exist. All the while you trundled on regardless, growing, learning, visiting us each weekend in your own little bubble, oblivious to any internal anguish my adult brain was working through.

And yes at times seeing you made me sad. At times being around you and your Dad made me so, so sad after failed IVF attempts or a difficult week. Sometimes I created ‘work’ to do or would make plans with friends specifically when you visited because I felt claustrophobic around you both.

It wasn’t your fault, it wasn’t anything you did, in fact, I quickly realised it wasn’t even you at all. It was the loss of the life I thought I would have, shared first times, lost expectations, having to share before I was ready to…looking at you was simply a raw reminder of what another woman had already had with my husband, what I now couldn’t, and I felt cheated.

I hope you didn’t notice. I’ve always tried to do my best to make sure you didn’t. I buy the food you like, wash and iron your clothes and put your toys out so you feel at home. I make sure I listen to you, laugh with you, teach you what I can and give you all the attention you deserve.

I know children are more perceptive than most but it really was my intention to never let on I was finding things difficult and I hope I did a good job.

I’ve felt bad for not finding it easy to love you but I’m not going to feel bad any more. Becuase it takes time, love. And it’s taken me time to get where I am today, to not look forward to your bedtime or the day we drop you back. To not feel anxious on the day of your arrival. To not feel seethingly jealous when your Dad snuggles up to you on the sofa with me huddled alone the other end.

I don’t love you yet and I think that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I don’t care, or don’t think you’re great, or wouldn’t try my hardest to keep you happy and safe. Strong, wonderful relationships are built when given time to grow.  Sometimes stuff needs to be worked through when you’re given a situation you didn’t plan on.

I feel alright with that and I think you do too. Although you don’t really understand right now, this wasn’t a situation you planned on either and I’m sure your journey to hopefully loving me one day will take you down similar rocky roads. And that’s okay too.

Bit by bit we’re both finding our places in this funny little family and bit by bit the jealousy and the sadness and resentment on my part, in my head and heart, has dulled. You’re just you now. The baggage that weighed you down in my mind has been put in a pile on the floor and I’m slowly sorting through it. I’m becoming a bigger, better person because of it. Because of you. So thank you.

I didn’t choose you any more than you chose me, and at times it’s still tough but I’m grateful you’re in my life and I’m learning to love this funny little family we’ve become.

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10 Comments

  1. August 13, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    This is such a beautiful post – you’re an incredible writer and I have such admiration for your honesty. As someone with a stepmum, this really, really opened my eyes. Thank you.

    Nati x | http://www.naticreates.com | @naticreates

  2. livehappy
    Author
    August 13, 2018 / 5:48 pm

    Thank you Nati, that’s so very kind of you xx just reading your recent book review!!

  3. August 13, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Beautifully put! There are so many taboos and social pressure about stepmothers. We’re expected to be mums without the rewards and rights of one. We’re doomed if we step up to be another mum because that’s not our place, and we’re doomed if we go with the flow because we have no heart. Articles like this remind me in hard times that I’m not alone. I’m just another stepmom going through a slow process & that every other stepfamily goes through the same, one way or another, without the need of demonising anyone we’re just humans. Thanks for the article, because it helps to bring down that taboo, after all we’re just women in love trying to manage what life threw at us. And at the end of the day, all that matters is that you try really really hard, until the family feels just right, for everyone.

    • livehappy
      Author
      August 14, 2018 / 6:12 am

      Thank you Monica, writing about this stuff for me, really helps puts my head straight and I’m so glad if it helps other people as well! no one is alone, there is always someone going through the same thing as you are, having the same struggles, even having worse struggles but it really helps to connect with them xx

  4. Sinead
    August 13, 2018 / 7:57 pm

    Such a brave post 💗 it’s ok to struglle to love other peoples’ little ones when you’re struggling to have your own. We have to give ourselves a break sometimes xxx

    • livehappy
      Author
      August 14, 2018 / 6:12 am

      Thank you Sinead xx

  5. Natalie
    September 12, 2018 / 10:57 am

    Thank you for writing such an honest post. I’m also a step mum, a relatively young one (I’m 28 and my step daughter is 7, I’ve been with her dad for 3 years) and I often find it really difficult to find anyone to relate to or who understands my situation. Often if I meet another step parent they have their own children too or have had children with their new partner.

    I always feel like if I had a child of my own it would make us more of a family, I wouldn’t have those pangs of jealousy or feeling like I was on the outside looking in, sometimes I want to rush the decision to have a baby just for those reasons.

    I relate so much to how you feel proud, buy the food they love, and protect them but it’s not quite that unconditional love people expect, I feel exactly the same. Really glad I’ve found your blog, thank you for sharing x

    • livehappy
      Author
      September 19, 2018 / 4:46 pm

      It’s very hard when you don’t have you’re own and want them I feel. I think there will always be something there with a child from another marriage whether you have kids of your own or not though. I find the best thing to do is just take it all at face value and try not to let thoughts run away with you. You have a great relationship, there’s a lovely little person involved and hopefully one day you will add some more little people to the equation! xx

  6. Rkwx
    September 12, 2018 / 10:10 pm

    So insanely refreshing and reassuring that there are other stepmoms out there that don’t love their stepchild and have found things difficult, such a great read, thank you for sharing. You made one fellow struggling stepmom feel a lot less alone x

    • livehappy
      Author
      September 19, 2018 / 4:43 pm

      I’m so glad but sorry of course to hear you’re struggling. It can be a struggle at times. but those times do pass and there’s always good stuff in between xxxxx good luck!

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