*Disclaimer: we don’t refer to me as “mom” to little boy, we just use my name*
Stepmother – noun – a woman who is married to one’s father after the divorce of one’s parent’s or the death of one’s mother.
Well. My step sons mother is alive and assumably well. I’m not married to his father. However, I take on motherly roles, and provide emotional and financial support. I have rocked him to sleep, held him as he cried, kiss boo-boo’s, changed diapers, and spoiled him with toys. I have been around him almost as much as his father, provided my work or school schedules did not interfere with his visit schedule.
About a year into our relationship, when I was there for every single minute of a visit, I considered myself a step mom. I attended every court case, and was heavily involved with the legal aspects. I waited to use this label, because I didn’t want to seem like I was just a young kid playing house. I also didn’t want to insult his biological mother and come across as if I was replacing her. I was open about calling myself step mom. After all, I love that little boy like he is my own. I did everything for him as if I was his mom, so why not label myself like that?
At this time, my social circle was limited to my intimate relationship, my family, his family, and a handful of ex-coworkers whom I stayed in touch with. Calling myself step mom wasn’t a big deal because everyone knew our back story. They even saw me as a mother figure to little boy, so it was never questioned.
Things changed when I started college. At this point I had been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. Nothing has changed in my relationship with my boyfriend, and my relationship with little boy had only gotten stronger. I had to introduce myself to a ton of new people in my program. For the first few weeks of classes, we had to introduce ourselves, by explaining why we chose this program, and what defines us. I always brought up my step son as a reason for the program, and what defines me as a person. This usually followed with questions of “How long have you been married? How old is your step son?”. It put me in a bit of an awkward situation, as I was not married, and my step son is only slightly older than the amount of time I have been with my boyfriend (See “Back Story” for explanation). My professors are all women who could possibly be mothers, and I knew a few people in my program are mothers. Although one of the core values of the program and career I am in is not be non-judgemental, I still felt as if I was being judged. I felt like I quickly had to explain my back story (when you’ve been in a relationship for about as long as a child is old, assumptions of infidelity arise, which isn’t the case).
One of the main reasons why I went to college was so I could get an education, and be more financially better off for my boys. I imagined of my graduation day having my boyfriend and little boy cheer me on as I cross the stage. I have put so much time and effort into those boys, that they have been a center of my universe for almost 2 years now. Step Mom was my whole identity.
I needed to step outside of that label, and open myself up for more. I needed to go to college for me, not for them. I needed to branch out and explore other parts of myself than just settling with being “Step Mom” and that’s it. I needed to add more to my identity and live for more than just them. Maybe it’s a little selfish, but I’m more than just a “Step Mom”
Although I still consider myself a Step Mom, it’s not how I introduce myself. It used to be, “Hi I’m Amethyst, and I’m a Step Mom!”. Now I’m just Amethyst, and you can find out about that aspect of myself later.
Kind of ironic, isn’t it? I don’t use “Step Mom” as a main label anymore, but I have this blog.