Help Wanted: Stepmother Position Available

18 Jun

Recently my friend, the founder of the Enlightened Stepmother’s Group, asked on her Facebook page “What are the qualifications to BE a Stepmom?”  That got me thinking:  if I were hiring a stepmother for my children, what would the job description look like?  Knowing how vicious I can be, and after hearing stories from BioMoms and StepMoms alike, this is what I came up with:

  1. Must own a very large shield to protect yourself against rocks and daggers that may be thrown in your direction by the BioMom and stepchildren.
  2. Must be open to the possibility of having a good working relationship with DH’s ex-wife…or not.
  3. Must be able to bite your tongue without severing it or bleeding profusely from the mouth.
  4. Must have an e-reader, shelf space or a large bedside table to accommodate the 10 or more stepmothering books purchased as you attempt to figure out what’s wrong with you.
  5. Must be able to tolerate cyberstalking by BioMom, her BF/DH, and her friends and relatives as they try to dig up any piece of dirt they can find out about you on the internet. 
  6. Must treat your stepchildren the same as your own children, or at least be able to fake it.
  7. Must be able to grin and bear it as your stepchildren recreate scenes from “The Parent Trap” in an attempt to reconcile their parents.
  8. Must be able to remain calm and cheerful during incessant telephone calls and emails from BioMom during your custodial time.
  9. Must be able to develop a strong support system of other stepmothers who will let you know that you’re not alone.
  10. Must love your stepchildren without expecting that they will ever love you back.

Obviously I’m feeling a bit sarcastic today, so with all kidding aside, the truth is that in order to take on the job of StepMom, you have to go in with sleeves rolled up, eyes wide open and ZERO expectations. Unlike a “real” job, there is no employee’s handbook, no training and no human resources department.  The job description is different for everyone and you find yourself developing your policies and procedures along the way.   It’s almost never like what you imagined it would be. So many of us go into a step situation with visions of a perfectly blended family only to find out that blending oil and water is a lot easier. 

As a community of StepMoms and BioStepMoms we need to recognize that we all come to the table with different circumstances, different struggles and different parenting styles.  Some of us are married, some of us are not. Some of us are lesbian StepMoms.  Some of us are both adoptive or BioMoms and StepMoms.  We come in all different kinds of configurations and the best thing we can do is be supportive of each other.  Together we can help one another develop a “game plan” that works for our families, be there to support each other during the difficult times and to celebrate our triumphs.  There’s no right or wrong way to be a StepMom; most of the time it just happens.  We need to remember that marrying a man with children doesn’t make you qualified to be a stepmother anymore than giving birth qualifies you to be a mother.  What makes you a Mom (bio, step, adoptive, foster) is what’s in your heart and how you act on it.

What would your help wanted ad look like?

One Response to “Help Wanted: Stepmother Position Available”

  1. The Step In Mom June 18, 2010 at 10:49 am #

    Must be able to do all motherly things, but not get mad when BM takes the credit.

    Must refrain from sending BM or other’s in the child’s life e-mails telling them what you really think/feel when they are obviously aren’t putting the childs needs first.

    Must understand “Don’t Kill the Messenger” is not applicable in this situation.

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