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Every year it happens.  Stepmothers go into emotional turmoil and confusion. sf_060911_1400 Children naturally and instinctively associate MOTHERHOOD with those women with whom they are biologically, historically, and emotionally connected – women, who delivered them into the world. They are the REAL moms…for better or for worse.  But we stepmothers count too, so let’s not forget it!

I once knew a stepmother who visited her stepson at parents’ weekend, freshman year. The boy couldn’t wait to see his stepmom and Dad, and he couldn’t wait to show them his new dorm room.  When she walked into the room, the stepmother was surprised to see a large picture of the bio mom displayed on the bookshelf.  (Bio mom died when the boy was three, and his father remarried when he was six.)  The boy had a fantastic relationship with his SM, one of the best I’ve known.  While SM was initially surprised at the picture, she understood it.  The family resemblance was striking, and the woman inside the picture frame was legitimately his biological mother.  The young college student knew it!  So did his stepmother.  There was nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of.

There’s something to be learned from this story…

It would be nice if mothers, stepmothers, and stepcouples could take pride in the roles they all play in delivering, caring for, sheltering, educating, disciplining and nurturing the children in their lives – biological, step, or otherwise.   It would be nice if everyone could respect their boundaries as well as those of others.

How can Mothers Day be fair and pleasant for everybody?  Stepcouples, exes, children and stepchildren should not have to be torn in half over this Hallmark Holiday.

As a stepcouple, how can you do your part?

Susan Wisdom
May 2009

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