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  • Writer's pictureHayley Marcus

The Unexpected Bonus: My Journey of Being a Stepmom

This has been a post that I have had on my mind for so long and kept talking myself out of it. I kept talking myself out of it for fear of upsetting someone; but I think this is something that needs to be heard because there are so many “bonus” parents out there who go through the same struggles and you need to know you are not alone.

I have befriended many stepmothers recently and I cannot tell you how many times I am thanked for just being a listening ear. There is such a stigma on stepmothers that I fully intend to be a piece in breaking. From my conversations with these ladies, the common theme was feeling like no one would understand their feelings and that is so upsetting. It could be the smallest of things like dealing with picky eaters or the biggest of things like the relationships between both parents, but so many women feel they won’t be heard on either because they aren’t the biological parent. I hope that this article will help those women who feel alone to know that you are not. Build your circle of support, because it is crucial in your own mental health. Join mom groups on social media and ask if there are other stepmoms! You will be astounded by the number of people that will reply to that and you will be greatly benefited by the friendships it will create.

I have always loved children and was the first to volunteer to babysit. I have never strayed away from the dream of being a mother and if anyone is my one dream in life. So when Brian told me on day 1 that he had a daughter and she will always come first, I knew he was a keeper. He and I will tell you to this day that my exact response to him telling me he was a father to a beautiful 2 year old was, “Is that supposed to scare me? Because it doesn’t”. I was lucky enough to grow up with two amazing step parents who loved me like their own so the idea of becoming a step-parent myself was almost a natural instinct; it was familiar. I think being the child who had two step-parents is a gift because I can talk to Brian about situations we are experiencing coming from the child’s perspective.

From the moment I met my step-daughter, she has been the greatest bonus I have ever gotten. I love experiencing Brian as a father and watching their bond grow. Is it all sunshine and rainbows? Absolutely not; but it is worth everything life can throw at me. The best way I can explain it… it is being her biggest cheerleader from the sidelines with your hands tied. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and boundaries that need to be followed. I have immense respect for her mother and that will always be the case. I have found that one of my jobs of being a stepmother is to be the voice of reason for Brian when he may not understand how a mother could feel. Even though I am not one myself (yet), I can put myself in her place to understand her feelings on topics which is something I feel benefits my step-daughter the most. I cannot imagine the initial feelings of a stepmother being in your child’s life, so if you ever read this...thank you for accepting me as her stepmom.

I honestly could not imagine my life without my little family. Even when my step-daughter isn’t with us, I love hearing Brian say things like “She would love this” and plan for the next time we have her. She is constantly on his mind, and that is beautiful to watch. I love her unconditionally and would do anything to protect her. It baffles me and makes me sad all the same when I am praised for that because it is something that is natural. I don’t work hard to love her, it is natural. It is not hard to bloom a relationship with her, it is natural. Recognition and praise are not one in the same. Yes, it is nice to be recognized because it is not always easy...but I do not want to be praised for doing my part. The stigma of step-mothers is what makes it seem like I am an anomaly, but there are so many kick-ass stepmoms out there. The bad eggs shouldn’t spoil the bunch.

Are there days that are harder than the rest? Yes. Are there moments I question myself? Yes. Do I hope I am doing a good job and am a positive influence on her life? Yes. Do I know that I am doing my best? Absolutely yes. I think there are two keys to navigating being a stepmom: respect and communication. I am not an expert by any means, but these are my experiences over the last four years.

Lastly, I want to take this time to thank you Brian for valuing me and my role as the stepmom to your beautiful daughter. Thank you for constantly making me feel loved and appreciated. Thank you for picking me for this role, it is the best one I have ever had. I love the home we are creating and most importantly...I love you.

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1 Comment

Feb 12, 2021

I once knew a man who married a woman with five children, wondering to myself, either he was stupid or really in love. Really just think about it, to tell you the truth mom didn't really want to marry dad. It was your grandpa Edgar Marcus Hayley. Tu'i mom was pregnant with me lol . One day I'll tell you the the true story. I wasn't easy growing up, but I always regarded all my siblings as blood , nothing less if anything more , I have always respected them. Steve the strong arm, Tony the defender, Pat for me epitomized the true samoan growing up but today, I see wisdom. John I could run to for anything, growing up…

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