What Comes Around Goes Around

17 Aug

My stepdad should get a medal of courage for raising me.


I was raised by a single mom who decided, much to my dismay, to get married when I was 10.  My new stepfather was a nice man with two young sons (ages 7 and 4) from his previous marriage and I wanted nothing to do with him.  I was the proverbial stepdaughter from Hell.  I refused to live with my mother and stepfather instead taking refuge at my grandparents’ home.  My mother and I had lived with my grandparents since I was born, so staying on wasn’t a big deal, and I suppose it was easier on my mom  to let my grandparents deal with my snit fit.  She was 18 when she had me, so my grandparents stepped in and did the bulk of the child rearing. When I was 13, my mother and stepfather decided to move the family from Los Angeles to the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.  I was in the middle of my eighth grade year (my last year of Catholic elementary school), so I graciously told them to go ahead without me.  That’s when reality kicked in and my grandparents told me that it was time to go live with my mother and stepfather, full-time.  We packed the car and I moved to a city I had never seen. 

I gave both of my parents a run for their money throughout my teenage years.  I’m sure my poor stepfather thought more than once, “What the Hell did I get myself into??”  I was a horrible teenager.  I was a snot-nosed, back-talking, disrespectful, “you’re-not-my-dad-so-I-don’t-have-to-listen-to-you” kind of stepdaughter. You know the one that you fantasize about smacking into next week?  Yeah, that was me.   I wasn’t being poisoned against my stepdad by my biological father, I was just a mega-brat, plain and simple.  

But when I turned 16, my stepdad wanted to adopt me.  After a bit of legal wrangling with my birth father, my adoption went through and my dad handed out See’s suckers that said, “It’s a Girl”. I remember him saying, “I always wanted a daughter”.  It was nice to be wanted even though I had worked hard at making myself difficult and unlovable for years.  

When DH and I started our life in the blender, I figured I was an expert in the stepfamily department having been raised in one and because I had been a biomom for 11 years.  Ha!  Let’s just say what comes around goes around.  I’m sure my mother and stepdad (who were only married for 11 years) have several laughs when they hear our stories.  Whether it’s karma, paybacks or God’s practical joke, I’ve got my hands full.  I try to keep in mind my stepfather’s attitude of calmness and graciousness in the eye of the storm that I created.  

If karmic justice is at work for former challenging stepchildren like me, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was at work for the biomom that actively engages in parental alienation or purposely poisons the children against their stepmother?  I wonder what happens when she becomes a stepmother and the same thing happens to her?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she changed her behavior toward her ex and his new wife/girlfriend and stopped her campaign of ridiculousness?  

I am thankful that I came in a bit prepared.  My heart goes out to the moms that get blindsided, especially the well-intentioned women that naïvely believe that being a good biomom automatically qualifies them as a competent stepmom that their stepchildren will adore.  If you’re not a stepparent, it doesn’t make any sense when someone tells you that being a stepparent is very different from being a bioparent.  If you’re about to become a stepmom, strap up and hold on. You just might be in for a wild ride. 

What about you?  Are you a formerly horrible stepchild that is now the stepmother of children who wish you’d just go away?  Did you assume that because you were raised in a stepfamily that you’d be prepared to raise a stepfamily of your own?  

Are you an overly critical biomom who became a stepmom and got a taste of what you’ve been dishing out?  Or are you a stepmom that secretly (or not so secretly) wishes that biomom would marry into some seriously challenging stepkids?  


5 Responses to “What Comes Around Goes Around”

  1. Life of a Stepmama August 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm #

    I wish that PEG could marry a man with kids, or even just date him so she could get a taste of what she puts us through. I am sure she wouldn’t even realize her own behavior and would find a way to play the victim all the while doing the same thing to us.
    Who knows what will happen but I would love for her to have a light bulb moment, however I won’t hold my breath!
    So are you still close with your stepdad?

    • BioStep August 17, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

      Even though my mom and stepdad divorced when I was 21 (I’m now knocking on the doorstep of 45), we still do have a relationship (he is, afterall, my adoptive father). The road to our currently comfortable relationship was rocky though, and the rockiness was mostly my fault. I needed to grow up and have children of my own (and then stepchildren) to really understand all that he had done for me.

  2. Erin August 18, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    I consider my stepfather a saint at this point. I went from “Hey, how ya doing?” when I’d see him to “Hi!!!! Love you! Thank you for being such a great parent to me.”

    If I could hit the rewind button, I’d be much nicer to him in the second go-round. That man deserves a medal 🙂

    BTW, which Portland ‘burb? My husband grew up in Gresham and his mom is moving out of Sandy soon.

    • BioStep August 18, 2010 at 12:52 pm #

      Tigard! We moved there in 1978. We came from the heart of Los Angeles to a place where some of the families had cows and chickens in the backyard. Talk about culture shock for a 13-year old city girl.

  3. Sara Huizenga January 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    I was … and now am definitely being hit by the “karma bug” with a teenage stepdaughter of my own … oh how incredibly much I value and sadly now miss my (step)DAD, – http://papamore.blogspot.com – especially right now – walking through this mess I once upon a time made for him … 😉

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