Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stepmothers

Mine is pretty nice and we get along which should be a given since she’s been my step-mom for almost twenty-five years. We’re definitely not Mother - Daughter close, not even Aunt – Niece close but more like 2nd Cousin close. As a kid I remember her not being able to comb my hair and I’d come home looking like a crazy person. I remember her throughout my child hood as someone who made sure that my dad who was no Ward Cleaver, made an effort to have me visit every other weekend when they lived in NYC and at least once a year when they moved to NC.

Yet throughout the years there’s always been that layer of uncertainty on how close we should be to each other. How close do you get to someone who isn’t your mother, yet has that role for your siblings and is your dad’s wife? Now that I’m an adult we see each other several times a year and she comes up to visit with me and some of her family in DC without my dad at least two or three times a year. I went on vacation with her and my sister a few years ago and she’s the one I communicate with when I’m planning a visit. That layer of uncertainty has thinned out a bit but is still there.

At my age there’s a greater chance that I may be a step mother. How close should I get if I’m not raising my husband’s child, how close should I get if they live with us? As a stepdaughter who has gone through the awkwardness what kind of stepmother would I be?

One of my good friends is going through some drama with her family now and a lot of it centers on her feelings towards her step mother who raised her and her dad who isn’t exactly Ward Cleaver. Her real mother is sort of in the picture but is emotionally unbalanced and they have a turbulent relationship. She’s relied on her stepmother to give her that maternal love and unfortunately according to my friend she doesn’t feel it. Family dynamics can be dicey to begin with and then you bring in the step parent element and it can get even messier.

10 comments:

Keelah said...

First off let me say I am not a stepmother nor did I have one, but If I ever do find myself in a step situation...I would really try and be as close as we possibly can. Just because in the end...it will be the bond that mattered the most and not our "relation" to each other. I dont have a partcularly close relationship with my mom because of an uncertainty...now I dont know if its the same kind...but uncertainty is definately a main undertone in our relationship. So its not just with 'steps'...it happens when people are unsure of how to connect in a relationship. So I would try my best to avoid that uncertainty by all means. Be well.

The OE said...

Dude. Abidjian.

N_HER_IMAGE said...

I have a stepsister that have lived in my parents' (biological mother, stepfather)house for the past three years. Let me tell you. It has been nothing but turmoil in that house since she moved in. Based on my personal experience I would not like to be a stepmother to anyone's child. I just don't have the patience and I truly believe nothing beats the bond between biological mother and child.

AG said...

I'm not sure that you *alone* make the decision.. Ultimately, it will be the child who will choose to be close. Clearly I understand that the adult _must_ be the rational one in the relationship. However, you cannot force love upon anyone. Extend the olive branch and await an appropriate response.

Sugar said...

WHAT A GREAT POST! Gosh, I had never really thought about this, but you're right. I'm 30 and I could definitely end up a stepmother too. I guess the relationship works out on a case by case basis. You make a very good point about families already being breeding grounds for dysfunction even when blood relatives involved, not to mention step parents.

Girl, I don't know. You've got my head spinning! lol I guess you'd just have to see what kind of kid the step child is. You know. Just the same as a blood child can be a little cold or standoffish, you'd just have to see how that kid reacts to you.

I wouldn't let a child disrespect me...at all, but if they didn't want me treating them like I was their mother, based upon their actions and comments, I wouldn't.

c2a said...

I used to have guidelines for the type of stepmother situation I'd be willing to enter. In my younger days I wasn't sure if I wanted to have kids so I thought being a stepmom presented good options.

I wanted the child to be an infant or very young so she wouldn't be old enough to resent me and could learn to like me. Now that I have more sense, I would avoid a man who had an infant child and was trying to talk to me.

My other guideline for step momhood was a man that had full custody of the child.

Luke Cage said...

Dayum Honest. This one completely stumped me luv. I feel where you are coming from but am unable to provide some kind of feedback that can be constructive. I guess, I would just have to go all out and do the very best that I can and hope for the best. What more can a sista do right luv?

Cool AC said...

I had a horrible stepmother experience growing up. That is why I now refer to her as my fathers wife. She gets mad at that, but whatever! I just told her I have a mother & I dont need to refer to her as one especially since she never treated me like one of her own. Because of my experience with her, I really dont want to be a stepmother. I try hard not to date men w/ kids, but as I climb the age ladder I know the chances get slimmer. If I did end up being a stepmother I would try to be the opposite of what she was to me, but then there is always that, I dont have to treat you like a mom, because I have one.

Lady D said...

You are right. The way things are nowadays many of us will be stepmothers! It is weird to be close to her and she's the"stepmom"!

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