Step-Mom Thinks She’d Always Be Considered An Intruder. But Never Expected Her Step-Daughter To Say This.
I’ve often felt that “step-parent” is a label we attach to men and women who marry into families where children already exist, for the simple reason that we need to call them something. It is most certainly an enormous “step”, but one doesn’t often feel as if the term “parent” truly applies. At least that’s how I used to feel about being a step-mother to my husband’s four children.
My husband and I had been together for six years, and with him I had watched as his young children became young teenagers. Although they lived primarily with their mother, they spent a lot of time with us as well. Over the years, we all learned to adjust, to become more comfortable with each other, and to adapt to our new family arrangement. We enjoyed vacations together, ate family meals, worked on homework, played baseball, rented videos. However, I continued to feel somewhat like an outsider, infringing upon foreign territory. There was a definite boundary line that could not be crossed, an inner family circle which excluded me. Since I had no children of my own, my experience of parenting was limited to my husband’s four, and often I lamented that I would never know the special bond that exists between a parent and a child.
When the children moved to a town five hours away, my husband was understandably devastated. In order to maintain regular communication with the kids, we contacted Cyberspace and promptly set up an e-mail and chat-line service. This technology, combined with the telephone, would enable us to reach them on a daily basis by sending frequent notes and messages, and even chatting together when we were all on-line.