Interview: Life as a stepmom


Thanks to the Cinderella fairy tale, we all know the ‘evil stepmother’. But what’s about that? Is the role of stepmother something negative? What if you suddenly become one yourself, how do you deal with that? Or what if suddenly someone is new in your ex-partner’s life and she takes over the role of ‘mother’. What do you do then?! Today Melissa and Natasha are doing their story as (step)mothers.

Melissa has three children from her first marriage; a daughter of twelve, a son of ten, and another daughter of four. When the two divorced, the children stayed with her for the most part. But because of the new stepmother, co-parenting was introduced. It was my children who told me that daddy had a new girlfriend. Although I myself had a very bad relationship with my own stepfather, I wanted to get to know her before I started judging this woman’.

At first, Melissa was also happy that her ex-husband had a new girlfriend. She was relieved that this woman wanted to take care of their children. Still, there were a few moments when that woman took over the role of mother, too much, according to Melissa. That hurt, of course, but she never showed it to her own children. All Melissa wished for was a stepmother who was kind to her children, not one who would make their lives miserable. 

Melissa’s experience with the stepmom of her kids

I met her the first time at the children’s school party. She spoke to me and immediately indicated that she wanted this to happen in a normal way. This was totally okay for me. We soon started chatting about the children and it clicked’. Melissa’s ex-partner had a particularly difficult time with the good relationship between the two women. That’s why both women took some distance from each other again. Afterwards, Melissa also noticed that the stepmother made negative statements about her children on social media. That’s where it stopped for Melissa. When they see each other, they greet each other, but that’s all. 

‘My partner’s girlfriend still wants to take over my role as mother. But I realize all too well that my children appreciate her and not anymore. They see me as their mother, and that makes it good for me’.

Melissa herself hates the term “stepmother”, she prefers “plusmama”. But her kids call their daddy’s girlfriend by first name. When the children complain about their stepmother at home, Melissa mainly tries to listen. But she doesn’t bother. She advises her children to talk about it. 

Because even though Melissa no longer has a good relationship with her ex-husband’s new partner, she still finds it chapeau that a so-called stranger wants to take good care of children who are not biologically hers. 

Melissa also has a new partner and she has a son with him.

When you meet someone, you jump enthusiastically into the new relationship. But then the person you love turns out to have children. In the year 2020 this is no longer so abnormal. Suddenly you get the role of “stepmother”. This creates unexpected emotions and doubts. You are looking for your place in this family, where you belong to an outsider for a long time. You are looking for a way to connect with children who do not belong to you. Moreover, you are also intensely involved with the ex-partner of your new relationship. Not obvious. 

But should it be like the most famous Cinderella fairy tale? Is it an established fact that as a stepmother you can’t love children who are biologically yours? So how does that work?


Natasha’s story as a stepmom

Natasha is mummy of Floor and meets the enthusiastic, beautiful Demsey on the work floor. Their relationship starts as you can best compare it to the Grey’s Anatomy series. Although both were married to another woman and both had a daughter, it soon became clear that they couldn’t ignore their feelings for each other. The spark kicked in from the very first moment. 

Natasha immediately went all the way. For her, Demsey was the piece of the puzzle she had been waiting for all her life. She immediately threw herself to conquer Demsey’s daughter’s heart.

But she was shy, so there wasn’t more than a few looks. Yet Natasha kept doing her utmost, because she wanted her stepdaughter to know how important she and her mama were to Natasha. Since both women had left their partners, they also had to deal with ex-partners. Natasha remembers that first meeting very well. ‘It wasn’t a smooth, happy first meeting. There was even talk of physical violence towards me. Now we only communicate what is badly needed, nothing else’.

Within their new family there were no rules on how to deal with each other’s children. Natasha had as much to say about her stepdaughter as Demsey and vice versa. Now that she and Demsey have a son of their own, Natasha notices that it is a different feeling. Like you’re being stricter on a child that’s not yours. Although she does her best to avoid this, it is the environment that notices this the quickest.

The hardest thing about being a stepmother is the conversations our daughters have about their other mothers. In my eyes, we are a family. But, of course, our children have another family.’ By the way, Natasha hates the term “stepmother”, she too prefers “plus – mommy”.

But both children decided to call their mommy and mommy. This came from the children themselves and Natasha likes that very much. Natasha now has two children of her own. A daughter with her ex-wife and a son with Demsey. Yet she would go through a fire for her stepdaughter. She sees her as her own daughter, and always has been.

Are you a “plus” Mommy? Or have you had to accept a stepmother in your children’s lives? Then sometimes this doesn’t go smoothly. But things like that take time and communication. Finally, it’s very nice to see how women love children who don’t love them. They also take care of the stuffed air packets, the clean clothes or the warmth in the family. That’s why for them too: a very nice Mother’s Day!

This article has been written by Stephanie De Vroe from @SMOTHERHOODS

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