The Myth of the Mom vs. the Step-Mom
In my humble opinion, the difference between a mother and a step mother is simply that a special distinction separates them. The difference is only that the mother has given birth and has care of the children, and the step mother has not given birth and inherited the care of the children. However, I believe a mother and a step mother are essentially the same person. In fact, most of the time if you met a mother or step mother on the street, you would not be able to tell them apart.
I became a mother at the age of 20 by giving birth to my first daughter and having another daughter by the age of 23, and a son shortly after I turned 26. I became a step mother by the age of 27 by inheriting two additional daughters. By most standards that is a huge family and with that many personalities you are going to run into a few issues. That is why I am “silver threading” today, and my hair has turned grey.
Blended families have many of their own unique problems, but at the top of the list is the mother versus the step mother issue. It doesn’t take long in a new family for these feelings to surface and for a feud to begin to ensue. My two step daughters are the oldest of the children in our family and the remaining three children follow in ages consecutively as such: step daughter no. 1, step daughter no. 2, daughter no. 3, daughter no. 4 and son no. 5.
The feud in my family usually began when I, as the new step mother, would ask one of my step daughters to do some sort of task. Now this task is the same thing that I, as the mother, would ask my natural children to do. Such as, “Did you clean your room?”
What would follow is the new step child saying, “You’re not my mother and you can’t tell me what to do so, why do I have to clean my room?” This exchange was usually accompanied by rolling eyes and a slight toss of the head. My own children would then lament, “Why do I have to clean my room?” This was also accompanied by rolling eyes and a slight toss of the head!
I always answered in a calm, quiet voice to all of the children, “Yes, you have to clean your room because it needs to be kept clean!” In this simple way, I as the mother had responded to all five of the children in the same way. There was no distinction between what a mother or step mother would say. It was all said in the same way. Clearly, there is no doubt that the role of mother and the step mother is essentially the same. You are there to guide, teach and nurture all of your children.
It is easy to see that in my case, most mothers and step mothers are one in the same. When my older step children had issues with school or friends, my younger, natural children usually had the same issues and questions. I answered all of them the best I could at the time in the same way and never tried to act differently as a mother or a step mother. I took each child exactly as they were with their faults and gifts and reveled in their triumphs and felt their sorrows. In fact, I never used the term, step child. I felt that I was raising the children and I claimed the right to call them my children! By defining all of my children in the same way made me feel like I was treating them equally.
However, society has many opinions on the subject. The role of the natural mother is glorified and the role of the step mother is vilified! It is acceptable to believe a step mother would not love a child as much as their natural child, evoking memories of fairy tales told long ago. The step mother is always mean and appears like a wicked witch, with hair standing on end and eyes flashing, instead of being portrayed as a motherly and loving woman dressed in pearls and wearing an apron.
Another stance that society allows is the idea that a step mother who hasn’t had a child can’t be a mother! If that were the case, why are women allowed to adopt other mothers’ children to care for as their own? I think these are just myths and don’t believe that the social differences between a step mother and a mother are that far off. Instead, I take the view that all mothers and step mothers are essentially the same because they share the same role.
I have found that I have the same feelings and expectations as a mother that I have as a step mother. I am simply a mother and this likeness defines me. I am one in the same, interchangeable; having raised the children with the only difference still remaining being whether or not I gave birth to them.
After many years of marriage, I recently rejoiced when one of my “step” daughters said to me, “Mom, all you have ever done was to try to be the best Mom that you could be to us. You always were there and continue to be there for us still today. You will always be my Mom!”
I can tell you those words were the sweetest and most unexpected of all. My “step” daughter considered me to be her Mom after all! My hard work and love had paid off. I had proven that my role as a step mother had no special distinction other than to be there for my children and show them love and respect. The same thing any mother would want for her children and it really didn’t matter if I had given birth to them or not!
I was just their Mom.
Thanks for stopping by today, I enjoyed seeing you all,