A Step Mother’s Manifesto

This is in part a public promise to my family and a soapbox stand for anyone who wants the right to love your spouse’s children.

“children running on grass during daytime” by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Why is it that the stepmother is portrayed as the evil one in the fairy tale? That is often the furthest from the truth of reality. Most stepmothers want only to love the children they have the privilege to have in their lives. True, there are some stepmothers who are not loving and do not like their step kids. Some use them like Cinderellas as housekeepers and cheap baby sitters. That is too bad. These women are missing out on an opportunity to have lasting friendships with amazing children.

To the outsider: Who are you? Anyone who is not my spouse, my child, my grandchild or my spouse’s child.

It is your meddling, you who are jealous of the relationship parents and stepparents have with the children who create most of the issues within blended families. If you would just realize it is the children who are hurt most. The heart of a child is a huge thing. There is enough love for everyone, including you. But break that heart enough, lie to it, abandon it, cause it to mistrust you one time too many, then you lose.

If all you adults would focus on what makes the children happy, healthy and safe, put the children’s needs first, you would see that working together makes kids into better adults. Better adults equal a better society as a whole in the long run.

What good comes from deliberately attempting to sabotage the love a child has for a parent or a step-parent? Does it make you feel better to have your child or grandchild cry over some hurt you caused?

I can promise you, we stepmothers have had enough. Enough of our spouses being bullied by you, the outsider. We have had enough of the little children being pawns in your agendas. Stop it. Shame on you.

To My Husband:

Thank you for allowing me to share this life with you and your children. Thank you for making them ours. I will take them as my own, as part of me. Together, you, me and the children will make a family, a whole. I promise to stand by you as a partner. I will not undermine your parenting. I will defer to you in all of your parenting decisions. Yes, we are in this together. I will offer advice and stand beside you. I will not pursue any measure of the discipline of the children that are in conflict with your plan for them. I will not use them as a pawn or as a workforce. I will not refuse to give them the attention they deserve. I am not a replacement parent, I am a parent. I will encourage them and sometimes spoil them, just a little. Most of all I promise to love them unconditionally.

To my un-birthed children:

I did not have the privilege of bringing you into this world. Your father gave me the choice to love you or not. I chose to not only love you but to cherish you as well. Not a day goes by that I do not thank God for the honor of loving you. Do not let anyone tell you that you are not my child. It takes courage to be a family of chosen members. It is not something we should take lightly.

Our home is a place of peace, respect, and safety. My intent is to give you a calm secure environment in which to grow and thrive. I will protect you from harm.

I will stand my ground to those who wish to cause hate and discord in our family. We will have no room for those who try to break the bonds of the family we have decided to establish. Our relationship is between you and me.

You have the right to make decisions, however, you must accept the consequences of your choices. When you need discipline, I will give it with explanation and love. You may get angry at me and that is OK. You have the right to your emotions even the difficult ones. I will still love you.

I will give you respect and I will expect you to show me and your dad the same respect.

I will be honest. If you ask me a question I will tell you the answer. If I do not know the answer I will find it for you. I will be the voice of reason and the unbiased advice giver when you need it.

You will never want for love, comfort, laughter, and fun.

I will cry with you when your heart is broken and I will dry your tears.

When you need solitude, you will have it; however, you will never be alone or abandoned by me.

I will sometimes give you cake for breakfast, let you stay up past your bedtime, sing with you, make creative messes with you and I will always expect you to be a child. I will never expect you to act like the adult you are not yet. You will only be a child for a few short years and I will enjoy every minute of your childhood with you.

I will take you on many adventures. I will show you the good things in life and I will be by your side through the bad things that can not be avoided. The tough times will come, but as a family, we will survive them together.

~Lori O’Gara

Thank you for your time. You can see more of my writing here.

P.S. If you send me a letter I will write you one back.

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