…especially if you look to Disney. The words “evil” or “wicked” usually precede your title and you’re more often the problem than the solution. That’s strange when you consider society’s (inaccurate) stereotype of women possessing the greater ability to nurture or be an active caregiver. You’d think, as women, these ladies would get a break.
The challenge of a stepmother is arguably greater than that of the children’s mother or father. They not only have to navigate the relationship waters with their spouse (which comes with built-in emotional baggage – the kind that doesn’t fly for free) but they also take part in the children’s education, religion, discipline, and a myriad of other parental prospects without ever having the option to fall back on the “it’s my kid, that’s why” safety net.
Then there’s the children’s biological parent.
Sometimes an ideal situation of cooperation arises as is the case between this mother and stepmom. It’s something to which we should all aspire. But all too often the relationship is caustic and combative with petty jealousy and insecurities overriding the parental purpose of putting the child’s needs first. Alienation through words or actions do nothing but satisfy adult egos and often end up harming the child. Stepmoms can be unfairly viewed and treated as competition instead of co-parents.
If you are part of a family dynamic that includes a spouse that has vowed to not only love you but your children as much as they do (or would) their own, take an extra moment to appreciate what they have decided to do. Could you do the same? Do you do the same?
Purposeful parenting is a lifelong hill to climb with many tough, life-altering choices to be made. The women who decide to help make those choices for children that aren’t biologically their own should be honored. It takes a special kind of person to be that type of stepmom.
While the official National Stepmothers’ Day isn’t until May of this year, I hope you’ll join me in paying respect where it is due.