Like most of the population, my life is not a fairy tale.  My husband will fully admit that he’s not Prince Charming and I’d like to think that I’m not the Wicked Stepmother.  I certainly have my moments, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a stepdaughter; it’s because I have bad days just like everyone else. 

Have I ever wished that my stepdaughter’s birth mom could be in her life so we could get every other weekend off while she visits her?  Sure.  Have I ever wished that she would disappear down a river or at a school science fair?  Not a chance. 

I’ve been in my stepdaughter’s life for 10 of her 12 years and I’m not about to quit while I’m ahead.  I was incredibly lucky to be involved in her life at such a young age – she decided on her own to call me “Mom” after I married her dad when she was 4 (“Mommy” was saved for her birth mom).  I’m not sure at that point that I had really earned the title, but she sure put me to task to try.

Stepmoms have a hard job because we have to be a mom to kids without replacing their birth moms (for better or for worse).  We have to start and maintain a relationship with our husbands while also forging relationships with his children – which are all on completely different levels depending on the age and personality of the kids.  I used to dream for the day my stepdaughter would turn 18 because I’d finally have “alone time” with my husband.  Then we decided to have a child of our own and “reset” the clock by 8 years.  *facepalm*

As tough as it has been to raise my stepdaughter with my husband as primary parent, I know I’m one of the lucky ones who was able to remove a toxic birth mom from our daughter’s life.  Though we did try to maintain contact for many years, we don’t have to deal with her birth mom on a regular basis anymore.  We certainly keep tabs on her so when age 18 does roll around we can let them have contact on my stepdaughter’s terms, but that’s about it.  I do get a small kick out of the fact that if/when she does make contact with her birthmom, it will be a role reversal of her birthmom not being able to replace her stepmom as an important part of her life. 

One of the hardest aspects of being a stepmother is knowing that I missed out on the early moments of her life.  Things that happened when she was a baby I only know through hear-say and a handful of photos, and the things I was around for I hardly remember now because of the introduction of the twins into our lives.  I think I’ve been able to teach my stepdaughter a lot though, and as long as she safely graduates high school, I’ll know that I really did contribute to the life of another.

What’s funny is that I think of her as my kid, but at the same time get a little defensive when it comes to distinguishing her as a stepdaughter – because I guess certain appearances are more important than I ever thought before – but I don’t really want people to think that I was pregnant at my high school graduation.  ;)

I’m not afraid of what the teenage years are going to bring because I can deal with her on a more mature level now.  I survived taking her to Kindergarten, middle school orientation, and many Saturdays standing in the rain watching her play soccer.  It took a while to get here, but the package deal when I married my husband was well worth the journey.  I don’t recommend being a stepmom to everyone, but it can work out without putting the stepkids into domestic slavery, feeding them poisoned apples, or any of the real-life horror stories.

Does anyone have any fun step-parent stories to share?  Bring it - the good, the bad, the ugly.  I've probably heard them all in the last 10 years.

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