I guess this goes out to the RFM team. I am a step-mom. There, I said it. I don't have biological children of my own...yet. Actually, that's a big part of this journey for me. I don't want to get pregnant with 50-70 pounds of extra weight on to start. My husband is having a vasectomy reversal this year and I will have children of my own in the next year or two. But back to my point. I have two step-sons, a 12 year old who we'll call Wee One because that's what I call him, and a 15 year old who we'll call the Man-Boy because he towers over me, has a beard, but is still very much a child. They are also known as the tall one and short one. Anyhow, I met my husband six years ago his ex had just moved the kids 100 miles away a few short weeks before and while they had been separated for a few years, they were not divorced yet. Wee One was just entering kindergarten and the Man-Boy was going into 4th grade. There's the groundwork. I'll spare you the in between story, but it sucks, and it was painful, but we have custody now. Which I am grateful for.
I'm cautious about telling people that my boys are not mine. People say horrible things, like they are JUST your step-sons, or you're not really a mom. Things like that make me want to punch people in the face. When I made the decision to be with the man that is now my husband I also made the decision to treat his children as if they were my own. I was a step-child. I know what the alternative feels like.
My intent was/is never to take the place of their mother, but only to make sure they were loved and accepted and included and most of all that I never got in the way of their relationship with their dad. We have worked hard to integrate them into my family since even before we got full custody. They are treated equally to the rest of the grandkids and cousins at family gatherings because that is the behavior I have modeled. Just because I didn't make them personally does not mean they are any less equal. They are FAMILY. Period!
Before they lived with us I would make the 100 mile trek with my husband to their school functions, ALL OF THEM, I would volunteer in their classes, help with their homework, take them school shopping every summer, and all in all be involved in anyway that I could. When they would visit on the weekends we would have family dinner together every night, go on outings, play games, and I would also make sure they had "man-time" with their dad, which we still do now in the form of "Guys Night Out."
In the last two years since we got custody obviously it's easier to be involved in their lives. I still do all the things I did before, but now I also take care of them when they are sick, console them when their sad, drive them all over the place, help them with them homework, ground them when they need it, laugh with them, joke with them, hang out with them, take care of them, celebrate their success, help them work through their missteps, and well, "mom stuff" that just goes with the territory and most of all love them with all my heart.
I would do anything in the world for these boys. I don't care if I didn't make them. I am responsible for their well-being. I am one of their parents and I take that responsibility very, very seriously. Our family has been to Hell and back for these kids and we'd do it again in a heartbeat.
I bring this up now for two reasons: 1. The boys are going to see their mom this weekend, which sux and is awesome. I miss them when they are gone and I worry about them, but the house stays a bit cleaner and I get to hang out with my husband. 2. Kate and Lydia had a blog post about step-moms this week and it made me a little braver. Step-parents often get a bad rap. I immensely appreciate the shout out to step-parents, because we're mommies too. If you didn't see it the link is below.