I am a mom of three. Two are my husband's children from a previous marriage and the youngest is mine from a previous relationship. Did you read what I wrote? I AM A MOM. I refuse to label myself as a "step mom". What does that mean anyway? Where are we stepping? Are we stepping around pieces of parenthood? Are we avoiding stepping on toes of another parent? None of that is true for me.
Why? Because I take care of my children every single day....24/7. My husband and I have custody of his children. I cook their meals, I wash their laundry, I drive them to their activities, I dry their tears, I encourage them to go after their dreams, I reprimand them when they are in the wrong.....I am their parent. While, they do have a mom and I do not shy away from that.....I see myself as their BONUS mom. However, I do not ask them to call me mom. They usually call me Amelia or Meme...depending on the day.
I have joint custody of my daughter with her father. We were lucky that we were able to remain friends and we are great at co-parenting. My daughter calls her dad-daddy and my husband-daddy Tim. This was at her choice. We didn't encourage or discourage. The important thing was that we all (me, her dad and my husband) agreed.
We all chose these situations as parents and as adults.
It drives me crazy when strangers comment on me seeming to young to have teens. It drives me crazy when people comment that they couldn't do what I do.
Think about this for a minute. When a couple decides to adopt a child....do you say to them "oh wow...I can't believe that child doesn't look like you." Or "you are too old to adopt a child that young." Of course not. When someone fosters/adopts....they do it out of love. Pure love.
What makes a bonus aka step parent any different?
We fell in love with someone who had children. We can either choose to embrace that or not. For me, I didn't just marry my husband but I also married the kids. We are a family. I work hard in teaching OUR children that being blood is not what makes you a family. I know several people who have failed with their children. Men and women alike. I have known several people who have stepped up to the plate to care for a child DESPITE NOT BEING BLOOD.
Family is love.
My parents divorced when I was very young and both remarried. Know what that means? Instead of 2....I had 4 individuals that love me as their child. Here's two photos of me with my dads. One with my bio dad and one with my bonus dad (RIP).
This does not mean I promote divorce so our children can have this situation. If I didn't say that, I am sure someone would point it out. When you marry, you never think "oh well I know this isn't going to last". You marry thinking it's forever. But, we don't always get forever with our chosen person.
My children (all 3) consider themselves siblings. They do not see blood. Instead, they know they love one another, protect one another and drive each other absolutely crazy as siblings do.
I get my situation may not be the norm. But give us bonus moms and dads a break. We chose this life. We aren't all evil step mothers from a story book. If your ex has remarried....give him/her a chance. They may not be all that bad. They are a huge part of your child's life. Look at it as extra hands to help raise them to be respectable citizens.
I will always be on the front row for my three. They are my heart and I love being a mom and BONUS mom.