Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Truth About Step-Mothering

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to share this post. It's been on my heart for a while. It's hard to really put into words though, so please bear with me as I write from my heart about my little hearts.

The first night I met my sons, I also met my future in-laws and my husband's best friend. While I remember July 5, 2011, as a night all my nervousness faded away and a night that held much anticipation and excitement as I was meeting everyone for the first time (except my husband that is), that night will be forever etched in my memory because of a certain little blue-eyed boy named K.C.

Three years old at the time, he was a ball of energy and full of smart words. When I walked in the door and met him and his precious brown-haired brother who still had his chunky baby cheeks at barely two, he played and showed me some toys and talked about the Wii. Those little memories are vague, but the one that stands out the most to me was the one that happened during cake and ice cream (I should have mentioned these first introductions took place at a birthday party for Kevin's dad.).

It was while I was eating some cake and ice cream that this little blue-eyed boy who most say has an uncanny resemblance to me, crawled up in my lap and asked me to feed him his ice cream. I quickly complied and he stayed in my lap even through the opening of gifts.

After everyone left (and my now sister-in-law jokingly told my husband to lock the door), we played some Mario Kart Wii and I read the boys a story or two before leaving to go home.

What may have seemed like such a small event holds an enormous space in my heart. It's because it was the night I met my sons.  Since that night, it's been the four of us and I haven't ever looked back.

Kevin and I knew pretty early that we were going to get married. While I had prayed to not date anyone else until I knew it was the man God created for me, he wasn't in a rush to get married. I guess you can say I was too good to pass up! (ha ha)

One of the things we talked about early on was the whole "step" thing. I don't like the word "step mom" and I haven't ever used it (except in the title of this post). Kevin felt the same way.

My whole life, what I've wanted more than anything is to be a wife and mother. While my mothering hasn't come about the way I thought it would, I wouldn't change it at all. Being a mother is so much more than carrying and birthing a baby.

I would literally give my life for these two boys. They are my chief concern and top priorities. I care about their well-being, happiness and life more than I care about my own. I feel a tremendous amount of responsibility for them because I consider them to be my most precious gifts (and of course I consider my husband to be the same, but we're talking about mother/child love, not husband/wife today).

And they are a gift. I'm humbled every day that God chose me to be their Anna Belle. It's not an easy job. Mothering isn't. But it's the best job in the world.

As a step-mom, you'll often get unsolicited advice about your children and your relationship to them much as any biological mother gets the same advice during pregnancy and beyond. But when you're a step-mom, you often get to hear things like this:

It'll be different when they're your own.
You'll feel different when you have your own children.
When are you going to have your own child?

And to those people, I want to say, "These are my children." And they are. Just because I didn't birth them doesn't mean I don't love them like I did. Just because I didn't carry them for nine months doesn't mean I don't have a bond with them. Just because I wasn't there during their first few years of life doesn't mean I love them any less. Just because they're not biologically connected to me doesn't mean they aren't mine.

I love them, feed them, clothe them, teach them, play with them, help them, pray for them, bathe them, shop for them, read with them and do everything else with/for them in the same way I would had I birthed them. 

When people say these types of things, it makes me cringe. If they really knew me, really knew us, they would see. Because you can see the bonds we have. You can see the fun we have. You can feel the love we have. And it's no different than what you can see and feel with other children and their mothers.

I'm often asked when I'm going to have children. Being a newlywed and all, I guess it's a given that I'm asked this on an almost daily basis. Yes, more than anything, I want to have a baby or two (and I'm not ready for that yet just to clear up any wonderings about that subject), but it's not because I long to fill some child-shaped void. I want to have other children because I want another child, because I desperately want to share that with my husband, and because I just do. I don't worry at all about the boys and a new baby. They're incredible brothers to each other and I know that they'll be incredible big brothers to their younger siblings if we're blessed with other sweet ones. They've both expressed a desire for a sister though - K.C. because he already has a little brother and Kaden just likes girls. It's not something we've talked with them about, but rather something that they've both said to me when I'm telling them things like how thankful I am that God picked me to be their Anna Belle and how blessed I am to have two sweet boys to love for forever (they like to remind me that I have 3 - Kevin included!).

With that said, having a biological child to me will not be "having my own child." Rather, having a biological child means we're simply expanding our family and adding another precious child to our family to love. Much like I prayed for Kevin (without knowing who he was), I've prayed for my future children - all of them - since I was a young teenager.

So the truth about step-mothering? It's no different than mothering.

As I'm sure I'll have some questions/comments, I want to clarify that I in no way intend or try to take the place of the boys' mother. And while I don't talk about things like this on my blog, I would like to stress given the nature of this post, that she and I have what I consider to be a very good, above average relationship. We really are blessed. I want nothing more than for the boys to know how incredibly blessed they are to have the love of three people. I hope and pray that they also know and feel my love for them and know that they are mine just the same as any other children will be. 

8 comments:

Cassie Marshall said...

It takes a strong woman, you're amazing!

Amanda said...

This is beautiful, Anna! It speaks to my heart on so many levels. K.C & Kaden are so lesser to have you as their Anna-Belle! You did such a beautiful job writing this whole post :) you're a blessing!

Shannon said...

Those boys are really lucky to have you in their life. You sound like a great mother. Hopefully the boys will get that little sister they want one day :)

c a n d a c e said...

This touches my heart, Anna-Belle. I couldn't have stated it better. We are so so similar! I met my 2 Kids when they were 2 & 4 as well. I even have a Caden too! Goodness I needed to read this today. You are simply lovely & wise beyond your years. From one "smom" to another - kudos! Hugs.

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

Anna, I love this post so much. I love your beautiful heart. Those boys are so lucky to have you and their dad and everyone else who loves them. What a blessed life!

Danielle Spakes said...

Since we "met" through the SC group and I started reading your blog, I didn't realize until today that these boys weren't your biological boys. I'd never taken the time to put together the dates of their ages and your wedding. I think it's wonderful that you love them so much and treat them as your own and still respect their biological mother. I had a not-so-great-actually-kinda-horrible experience with my own step-mother growing up and I commend you for your love for these boys and your integrity.

Callie Nicole said...

You are an amazing mother, Anna! I love your attitude toward your sons and toward those comments you get from others - your boys are lucky to have you!

Jen said...

So I'm sitting on the bike at the gym tearing up. The guy beside me must think I've lost my mind. I love that you are such a wonderful Annabelle to the boys. They are so very blessed to have an amazing 2nd mother in their life.