I am not trying to take the place of my stepdaughter’s mom.
I’m really not.
My relationship with our kiddo is unique and amazing precisely because I am someone else entirely. Because we have been able to craft our connection through time and effort and patience and love. Because we want to, not because we were born into it.
And the reality is that I will never be her biological mother. I won’t. It’s literally not possible.
But that’s okay.
I don’t need biology to be loving. I don’t need biology to be present. I don’t need biology to share humor or favorite TV shows or hilarious memes. I don’t need biology to hold hands or play pranks or tuck her into bed at night.
I don’t need biology to mother.
One of the most frustrating, most pervasive, most downright inaccurate assumptions about stepmotherhood is that all of us are just trying to fit ourselves into a puzzle piece that doesn’t belong to us. Into a role we weren’t meant for.
But the secret is that’s not what we do at all.
We stepmoms actually do this incredibly delicate, intricate dance where we don’t try to fit into a pre-made missing “hole in the home,” but instead we navigate ourselves into the open spaces that do exist. The cracks and crevices where we can craft our own space, our own journey, our own role.
The worst mistake I think a stepmom could make is to try to be something she’s not. It is far more powerful to be exactly what she is.
I can be a mother without being the mother and that, my friends, has a power and a strength and a dignity all its own.
The “know your place,” “you’re not their mother,” “stop trying to be mom” nonsense is infuriating and hurtful. I can promise you with 100% certainty that every stepmom has come face-to-face with “her place” (whatever that means) and knows better than anyone how difficult it is to navigate through it.
Trust us, we know we’re “not their mother.” I can assure you that we don’t need the reminder.
So before you say that kind of crap to a stepmom, consider that maybe she isn’t trying to be, or even – gasp! – doesn’t want to be her kiddo’s biological mother.
Maybe she just wants to be exactly what she is: a powerful, kind, positive source of strength and beauty for her family.
A woman who steps up when she has to and steps back when she has to and tries to do both with as much grace as possible.
A woman trying to do her best to be exactly what her family needs her to be while staying true to who she needs to be for herself.
So shush your mouth, open your mind, and let us mother in whatever ways we can and want to and are able to.
We promise we’re not taking anyone’s place.
We couldn’t if we tried, and trust me, we aren’t trying.