Nature vs. Nurture
The Fine Line Between Mom & Step-Mom
One of the greatest joys that I have experienced in life is being a parent. My son BabyE has shown me that I can feel an overwhelming sense of love for someone that I just met, that I would sacrifice my happiness, my life, for this human in an instant.
But, what if you have a child that isn’t biologically yours?
Is that love the same? Are those emotions the same?
Any good step-parent will tell you, “I love them all equally.” Do you though? Is that bond the same between the child that was born to someone else and the child you carried and brought into this world. Honestly, no. It’s different. Not bad different, but there is a different level of bonding that is there when you have step-children.
Now, before you go getting all in a tizzy, I am by no means saying that I do not love P, in fact, he was my first chance at being a mom. So, like I said, I have a different love for him. I learned how to be a mom, learned about a sense of selflessness that I had never known before him. Our situation though, is different than most people. My husband and I raise P, 100% of the time and have for the past 5 years (note: he’s 9). When I say 100%, I mean full-on-no-breaks-100% of the time. So, in the “mom” sense, I am his mom. Am I his biological mother? No. But, being a mom is so much more than giving birth. I don’t get the chance to be a part-time mom, or a real step-parent that can leave all the parenting up to the biological parents. If I did that, my poor husband would be stuck raising P all by himself, and he didn’t sign up for that, he signed up for a partner to help him raise his child. So that is what I will be.
What is a mom really? Being a mom is everything else that happens behind the scenes. The things you don’t get credit for, the things no one sees. Like the time P threw up all over his Tonka Truck bed in the middle of the night, and my husband had to dig puke out of the crevices of the bed while I got a vomiting child into the shower while trying not to puke myself. Or, the time when P had his first baseball game and my husband and I were cheering like we were watching the Rays beat the Yankees. Or, when I had to help P write his first book report. Or, the first time P read a full sentence. You get the point. There’s so many moments we’ve experienced together, yet, I will never be his mother. I just won’t. I can be called Mom all day, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is biologically not my child. Now I won’t get into why we have him full time, or why he calls me Mom, but remember: there are 2 sides to every story, and the only victim in the situation is always the child.
So, how do you raise a child like you’re own, that isn’t biologically yours. In my house, it’s easy. P is my son. There is no “step” in my house except the little step from the garage to the house. He is not my step-son, I am not his step-mother. Legally, sure, if you want to be a technical jerk about it I am, but in our house we’re a family that doesn’t have those labels.
Raising a child that isn’t biologically yours is a thankless, and impossible job. You will never feel like you’ve done enough, hugged enough, loved enough, because there are always forces against you. There will always be people thinking that you’re overstepping; my advice to you, let them think that. Parent how you and your significant other deem fit. Set rules and boundaries and expect everyone to follow them. If they want you to take part in raising this child, they should support the decision you and your significant other make. If they don’t, then you know the don’t really support your familial relationship. One thing to always remember about being a “bonus mom”: Love the absolute heck out of that child. Be that person they know will always be a constant for them, because in their eyes, everyone can always leave.