The day my dad married my stepmom, S, she told me she had studied how to be a good stepmom by watching all the Disney movies. Now, those of you who have watched any Disney movie involving stepmothers know how the story always goes. Being a young child at the time, I assumed she meant she was evil. I ran to my father, distressed that this strange woman was going to be my wicked stepmother, and begged him not to marry her. Almost 25 years later, we still laugh about that day. I lovingly refer to her (and have her saved in my phone) as Wicked Stepmother.
Being a step isn’t always fun and games though. It is hard work, especially when you’re parenting someone else’s child full-time. I feel fortunate to have had positive stepparent experiences (and I’ve had a LOT), as I know not everyone does. My mother’s second husband, G, was a wonderful father to me and never made me feel as if I were “less than” or not his. My mother’s third husband, J, did the best he could with a very willful teenager that thought she was too big for yet another father figure.
A lot of stepparents do all the nitty-gritty, daily life activities with their children while the non-custodial parent gets all the fun parts and the glory. This is where Mike is. He parents our children, provides for them, loves them, disciplines them, etc. Of course, L and B aren’t exactly what you’d call appreciative…..yet. I try to remind him that I didn’t really appreciate my stepparents until later, when I had the adult eyes to see how much they really had done for me, although knowing that doesn’t always help.
I hope and trust that someday my children will realize what a gift they’ve been given by having a stepfather who loves them enough to be here for them all the time, even when it’s frustrating or difficult.
“Anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a Daddy.”