Stepmoms (and dads) are becoming more and more the norm in our culture. Sad isn’t it? I guess I can’t complain, as I’m a stepmom as well. And, hubby is a stepdad. If you ask children in a public school class if they have a classical home of a married mom and dad (not step parent), any child answering yes would be in the minority. Not all that long ago (I’m 34) I remember my own class having maybe 1 step parent, divorce still wasn’t all that fashionable, at least in our little town, and it was still a more traditional way of life.
Not now in our “enlightened” culture. Now, people don’t bother to marry, or if they do, they’ve already had a few children, and that makes the spouse the dreaded “step parent” (Jaws theme here.)
I’ll admit my sin here…I had my son (Mr. Kevin) out of wedlock. I was engaged to his dad, but severe abuse had me running for the hills and never went back. At that time I didn’t know Jesus as my Savior, and followed the world and did what was right in my own eyes. Not smart huh? From my sin, I had Mr. Kevin to take care of. Do I regret him? No. I spent a few years as a single mom, and those were probably the hardest years of my life. I worked as a CNA during that time, doing in home agency care (with jobs at 2 and sometimes 3 agencies at one time, working 17 or more hours a day) in order to pay the bills. I seldom got to spend real time with Mr. Kevin, during his formative toddler years. I worried about bills, daycare, custody disputes, and just surviving. It was during this time that I came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior–I’d fallen to a point where I didn’t see a way out–and there He was, ready to lift me up and stand by me when I felt the lowest I could go.
During the years as a single mom, I tried dating a little. Still there was the mind set of dating in the worldly view. Oh there were some doozies, from those who only wanted um…uh…(do I need to say it?), and some who were nice but didn’t want Mr. Kevin as part of the package. I did meet a nice man who introduced me to an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, and discipled me through bible lessons and answered alllllll the questions I had (as a new Christian). It was through this man that I got started in church regularly, and Mr. Kevin got to start going to church and begin training in how to sit in a pew (for a toddler, not an easy task). But, when I was ready to settle and begin as a Christian wife, he wasn’t. So back to the dating world. This time, I met my now husband.
He’d already had 2 children, and had sole custody of them, so he had experience with children. And I’d joked and prayed that it’d be cool for Mr. Kevin to have an older brother (like I could pull that one off…) Hubby’s oldest child is 6 months older than Mr. Kevin. Be careful what you pray for. Anyway, we legally blended the family in 2008 in my Independent Fundamental Baptist church (not the same one from earlier), and I became (Jaws music) “the stepmom”.
I’m not scholarly enough to know how many stepmoms were in the bible. I know stepdads are, as widows remarried, and many had children. I’m sure the men heard “You’re not my dad!” during a heated moment of discipline. I do wonder, was Sarah Ishamel’s stepmother, as she was married to Abraham when he was born. Even Jesus had a stepdad if you stop and think about it.
In our case, the children’s mother is not in the picture much. She chose a television, a broken down recliner, and a used mini-van in court. She sees the children maybe once a month, and after 5 years since her and hubby’s divorce, has not tried to get off of supervised visitation. This has put me into the full time position of mom for Mr. Michael and Miss Jess. I’m the one who wakes them up (and they’re unwilling) in the morning, who helps them get ready for school, who’s there to pick them up after school, fix their meals, help and grade their homework, help them get showers done, and discipline as needed. I’m there for the sickies (ok, I’d like to hand that one off to their mom), lice (seems like it’s a yearly thing, either from school or a “supervised” visit with mom”), broken bones (again, from “supervised” visits), burns (more “visits”), massive amounts of bug bites (mostly from their biological mother neglecting to put Off on them, where as here we need to buy stock in the company), etc.
I’ve also been there for when each child professed Jesus Christ and accepted Him into their hearts. I have been there for all 3 to be baptised. I’ve been there for school programs, science fairs, many many soccer practices and games (and even been assistant coach for a few seasons), lots of swim practices and a season of T Ball. And I’m there each time they’re home and able to go to church.
Being a stepmom…it’s not an easy thing. You are raising another woman’s child, whether it’s just for the weekend, or like me and doing daily duty. The kids love their biological mom no matter what the parent does. In our case, the kids’ mother abused them, but they still love her. I encourage them to talk to her on the phone, and we encourage them to make her presents and show her they care about her.
These days, almost 4 years into our marriage, I feel like that picture at the beginning of this post. There’s household work to do, meals to make (and most of it from scratch or very little processed if we can keep from it), homework to check, doctor/therapist/psychiatrist appointments to go to, soccor practices and games 6 months of the year or more, daily activities teaching the kids to bathe (they still have things to learn) and dress, do small chores, teach them what they need to know on various things, teach them about Jesus, make sure they’re at church 3x a week, etc. There’s 148 hours in a week, I could use double that. There’s days when there’s power struggle with the oldest, who does not want to deal with me actually *gasp* making him mind. Other days it’s struggles with the middle or youngest child. Then there’s struggles with marriage and hubby.
If it weren’t for the Lord, I wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning and face the day. There’s been days when I’ve just done nothing but cried, nearing the end of the rope and finding that the only thing I have is the Lord, that I can’t do it alone. The saying that the Lord won’t give you more than you can handle is wrong. It’s not biblical. He gives you what it takes to push you to Him and make you lean on Him. He pushes beyond what you alone can do.
If you’re a step parent, you’re not alone. The Lord is with you, waiting for you to lean on Him. He loves you, wants you to come to Him. I need this reminder from time to time as well. Step parenting is not an easy task, but with the Lord, it can be rewarding. You as a step parent can make a huge difference in the life of a child.