Posted by: Maureen | March 23, 2012 | 1 Comment
When I first became Ethan and Eleanor’s step mom, I felt the need to explain our relationship to people.
If I was registering them in a sport, or picking them up at school, or meeting their friend’s parent, I felt I needed to mention that I wasn’t their “real” mom. It wasn’t because I was embarrassed or didn’t want to be recognized as their mom. Quite the opposite, actually, it was because I didn’t want to take that privilege away from their mom. I didn’t want anyone to think that I was taking credit for giving birth and raising them.
Now that I have been in their lives for (In Ethan’s case) longer than I haven’t, I am a little more at ease with the whole situation.
Thankfully, most people know who I am now, and require no explanation. The school is particularly awesome because, despite all three of our school aged kids having different last names (and none of them the same last name as mine), they always remember who belongs with me.
I happily tell people now that I have 4 kids, where I used to say I had four kids and then explain that I have 2 step children and 2 biological children. Now, that information only comes out if I spend time talking to you.
It’s not that I have lost any amount of respect for their biological mother, and it certainly isn’t because I aim to replace the relationship they have with their mom. It simply stems from being more comfortable.
I have noticed that they are more comfortable too. If someone calls me their mom, they don’t shift from side to side and look for cues as to what they should say, they just ignore it. Like me, if it’s someone they are going to be spending time with, they might say “She’s my stepmom”, but other wise they just let it slide.
I have lived in the same house as Ethan and Eleanor for almost 4 years now, and I have known them for 5. I have spent years cleaning their clothes, feeding them, and caring for them. I can now claim that I have had a hand in raising them.
I guess I felt I needed to earn that badge of honour.