Today I’ve received a message from a lady at breaking point.
She told me her 15 year old step-daughter hates her, she’s had a huge row with her husband because he always sides with his daughter and his ex-wife continues to call him making accusations about how their daughter is being treated and her Christmas is ruined.
She asked me how I manage, because I make it look so easy with the boys…
….this was my reply…
Hello lovely lady,
Now before I respond I want you to know I’m no expert on being a step-mum, I’m still learning – and a lot of the time I’m messing it up.
I first became a step-mum when I was 19 years old to three beautiful baby girls aged 1,2 & 6.
I was in a relationship with their dad and gave them two little sisters, Tallulah and Betsy.
We separated 10 years later & I went onto meet Josh and inherited his 2 boys as he is a full-time dad.
In the past 15 years of being a step-parent I’ve struggled. I’ve been screamed at, attacked, I’ve been reminded on numerous occasions I’m ‘not their mum’. I’ve had accusations & lies made about me by other family members, some that almost broke me.
I’ve had to defend decisions I’ve made in regard to my stepchildren, sometimes to my own partner.
I’ve felt hatred, rage, I’ve felt guilt towards my own children for the situations I’ve chosen…
…but every time I feel these things and it all gets a bit too much I take it back to my own childhood.
My 3 elder siblings and I were raised solely by our mum and we idolised her, we were showered with love and affection.
My parents then separated and my mum left, she moved over 300 miles away and other than some of the school holidays I no longer saw her.
I was 4 years old.
My dad continued to work, hard and far away..3 weeks after my mum left my step-mum moved in and began to raise me.
My siblings left home & I knew instantly I was no longer wanted, I was told things that a child should never hear, from that day forward I was never hugged or kissed and until I went into foster care I lived with a broken heart.
I remember as a tiny child going to bed every night and praying for two things – the first was to dream about My Little Pony and the second was that when I grew up I could be a child’s step-mummy.
These children didn’t ask for the situations they find themselves in; and at times it’s such hard work you question if it’s worth it, you fight with your partner and ex’s can make you physically ill with what they can do & say but again, this is not the child’s fault…no matter how bad it gets and how shit I feel my step-children have never been showed this; I cry silently and I confide in friends away from them…and before I know it, it all comes right again.
And one day, in the not so far away future, these babies you helped raise will grow up..and they see who gave them the childhoods they deserved, they see who bit their tongue and didn’t talk badly of others to protect their innocent little minds, and ultimately they see who did right by them.
Despite me separating from my step-daughter Elsie’s dad 7 years ago when she came to visit us on Tuesday our home was still like hers, I saw how fiercely protective she remains to her baby sister Betsy and when I looked at her my heart still hurt with the love I felt the same as it did when I was changing her nappy and making her bottles of milk all those years ago…and I kind of knew I’d done something right
It’s hard both for step-children & step-parents; all the media seems to portray at Christmas time are perfect families which consist of a happily married couple with no previous failed relationships raising their own biological children…when actually, if they injected a bit of reality into what was out there these weird and wonderful families like ours may cope slightly better….and remember, this isn’t forever.
Lots of love, Rachaele