My step kid’s mother and I don’t know each other well. Almost ALL of what we know is told secondhand by someone else. We barely communicate, and when we do, it’s mostly small talk. Apparently “Keep it Superficial” is the name of the game when it comes to step-parents communicating with birth parents.
But if I’m being totally honest, I wish it was more than that. I wish she knew how much I desired to be a team when it comes to her son and am always looking out for his best interest, sometimes putting her son’s needs above my own daughter’s. I wish I could just ask her a simple question like what color shirt he needs to wear for soccer, or send her pictures of him being adorable. But I can’t.
I communicate via my husband or my stepson only.
So, I will settle for writing down the things I wish she knew, and hope that some other birth mom will come across this post and understand her kid’s stepmom’s feelings better, or that some stepmom might read this and find comfort in knowing she’s not alone.
Here are the things I wish could tell my step kid’s mother
1. Your kid is awesome.
Like really awesome. He is one of the most thoughtful kids I’ve ever met. He’s very diplomatic and worries about hurting other’s feelings so much that he has a hard time making decisions. He wants to include everyone in what he does. And he is SO helpful. If he notices any of us need help, he is always right there to pick something up, or open a door… You name it, he’ll do it.
I’m sure you hear this all the time from your family and friends, but take it from someone who doesn’t know you well and isn’t just trying to be nice. You’re doing a great job at raising a genuinely excellent human being.
2. I love how much he loves you.
He loves to tell us about the fun stuff you guys do together like game nights and playing together on your tablets. He even secretly thinks it’s cool you come in his room and play Call of Duty with him. He won’t say that. But why else would he tell us about it?
You are always on his mind. We went to the movies and he saw a candy machine with your name on it and immediately pointed it out because “My mom is obsessed with candy.” Every holiday that approaches, the first person he thinks about is you. Sometimes even on non-holidays. We frequently hear “Can I buy this for my mom?” and “Oh, my mom loves these!”
Don’t worry step kid’s mother, he will never forget about you. Not even for a second.
3. Let’s get serious for a second.
I will never try to replace you. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to have another woman caring for your kid and you can’t even be there to make sure she does everything right. That’s how I’d feel anyway…
But seriously, there is something between a mother and her child that is unbreakable and un-replacable. And I’m aware of it. And I will never try to infringe on it.
If I sometimes seem like I’m stepping on your motherly duty toes, I’m not doing it for me. The only time I disagree with you is when it violates my husband’s rights as a father, because having a father is just as important as a mother.
4. I wish I knew you better.
What I know about you comes in bits and pieces from my husband or your son. I don’t know you. I don’t understand you. And so it is easier for me to disagree with you when I don’t know where you’re coming from. I feel like if I understood you better, I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on the “NO!” bandwagon instead of seeing it from your point of view.
5. I’m getting better at this stepmom thing.
Yes, I just said I’m quick to jump on the bandwagon, but not nearly as much as I used to be. I’m realizing that every single detail that’s repeated isn’t always fact. Kids have a way of misunderstanding adult talk. I’m beginning to think more like a mother and less like a stepmother. I can sometimes put myself in your shoes and try to think of how you would handle certain things.
In fact, I have asked several times “What would your mom do if she heard/ saw you say/ do that?” And of course, our response is: If you think it’s disrespectful, but you’re not around, it’s still disrespectful to you.
6. Your relationship with my husband doesn’t bother me.
You weren’t meant to be. The end. You were young, you didn’t know each other like you thought, and he was probably the exact opposite of what you expected. And the fact that he still has to communicate with you on a regular basis? Doesn’t phase me. In fact, sometimes I wish you’d communicate with him more about your son.
But if you had never met him, he probably wouldn’t have moved to our state. And I never would have met him.
So really, thank you, for bringing him out this way for me.
7. Another thing that doesn’t bother me: Your beauty.
I’m ok with the fact that you’re beautiful. In fact, I kind of take it as a compliment. The fact that after being married to you, he wanted to marry me tells me there is something special that he saw in both of us.
It’s also really awesome to not feel the need to think mean things about you like “Oh, I was the upgrade.” Or “Ew, thank God I’m not ugly like her.” No. He has a type. We both fit it. And I don’t mind being lumped into the “super pretty” category with you.
8. I think if I wasn’t married to your ex-husband we would actually get along really well.
We share a lot of the same interests, as far as I know. We both love playing around with cameras and then editing for hours. We both apparently have a huge amount of love for animals. We both love staying home with our babies. I could go on but the list might be a little long.
There are times when I’m be scrolling through Pinterest and find a hairstyle or makeup application that I think would look perfect on you, and if it were one of my friends, I would text them a screenshot immediately. But that would be weird.
9. I try to do nice things for you.
I’m the one who plans your thoughtful Mother’s Day, Christmas, and birthday presents. I’m the one who reminds your ex-husband to get flowers for your son to give you on Mother’s Day. I do special projects with him because I want him to know it’s important to put you first over me, even at our house. I choose things that I would like to get since I don’t know you well enough to know all of your favorite things. But I think I do a pretty good job at personalizing your gifts.
I join in with his dad to tell your son to pause his video game, get off his butt, and call you. Because texting goodnight isn’t enough when all you want is to hear his voice. Oh, also, I’m telling him often “Don’t be rude, talk to your mom” when you are on the phone.
And believe it or not, I defend you sometimes to my husband. He’s told me about some things that happened in the past that bothered him. And it’s stuff I would have done too. And I tell him that. It’s probably just a woman thing or a mother thing that men don’t understand. Women need to stick together. Always.
10. Girl, you know how to rock your lipstick.
I’m not a lipstick person. The most I can get away with is a tinted lip gloss. It’s just too messy. It doesn’t stay put, it’s hard to get on, and when I do it, it looks like my two year old put it on me. I don’t know how you make it look so good. There aren’t too many people who can pull off lipstick like you do. But good for you. This may be the only actual thing about you I’m a little jealous of.
So there it is, the list of things I’d tell my step kid’s mother if I had the chance.
After all is said and done, she’s just another person with flaws, like me and you. Do I dislike her? No. Do I dislike her actions? Sometimes. Do I still pray for her that she and her family are blessed? Of course. She’s a mom (and stepmom too) trying to establish her place in a sea of weird blended family relationships.
Bonus admission: Her parents are super nice, and since neither me nor my husband have family in the area, I secretly want to adopt her parents as my own.
Is there anything you’d add to this list if you’re a stepmom? Is there anything you were surprised to read as a birth mom?