My life as a stepmother was full of heartbreak and sorrow which left an empty spot in my heart until my divorce. For over 19 years my heart ached for the daughters I had raised and loved as my own. The heartbreak started early on in our marriage when my stepdaughters were given permission to call me ‘mom’ by their mother. You are thinking (like I had at the time) “wow you are lucky the mother was so generous” but I am here to tell you that not everything was as it seems. This simple gesture of calling me ‘mom’ made my (ex)husband very happy and so for the first 10 years of marriage I was mom when things were good.
Being called mom never felt right
I never felt right about being called mom when their mother was always causing drama in our life with calls to the police, child services (which ended after a few unfounded visits), and dragging us back to court for visitation issues. Consquently, none of these court battles were for her to regain custody as she would tell the girls on her visitation weekends. The drama I lived is what reality tv shows are created. It sickens me now to know I was a part of this sick and twisted drama and wish I knew then what I know now so I could have walked away with my sons and not been the evil stepmother.
I was mom because I had the credit card
After a while, it became normal for them to call me mom and for me to love and treat them as my own daughters. We would go shopping, share mother daughter time, and the girls had the best parties and treats at school and at home. I was ‘mom’ in our home and in our world 1,000 miles away; but when they were with their mother for visitation and and with estranged family, I was the evil bitch. I gave them my love and that was never enough because it was not my love they wanted. Calling me mom was just a ploy to go shopping and live a life their mother could never give them. My stepdaughters knew how to play all sides to get what they wanted and as long as I took them shopping- I was mom.
My heart was broken on Father’s Day 2006
Our blended family was torn apart on Father’s Day 2006 and that day forever changed my family. It took years for me to get over the hurt, betrayal, and the anger of my stepdaughters telling their dad – on the ONLY Father’s Day that he had spent with them- that they wanted to live with their mother and her boyfriend (who by the way, was married and not to her). I was pissed because we had spent thousands of dollars we did not have to fight their mother because the girls wanted to live with us and be away from their mother who lived a life on prescription drugs, disability, and food stamps.
You may be thinking money is not everything and that’s true. To put this in perspective- we gave over $100,000 to lawyers over a 15 year period to fight a woman who lost custody because she was found unfit. My (ex) husband wanted to keep his daughters safe and, as his wife and their “mom”, I wanted the best for them. That was never enough because they wanted their mother’s love and they had learned how to get what they wanted from us and from their mother. My ex husband never made that kind of money either so I budgeted, couponed, and made extra money so we could afford to live a good life and spend thousands of dollars each year in court.
I haven’t spoken to my stepdaughters in years
I used to send them cards, trinkets, and notes begging them to contact their dad and their brothers. They never did keep in contact. 20 years later there is nothing left of our blended family and the memories of our life have almost disappeared. Their little brother, who is now a young man, does not remember his sisters and the good times that we shared. The only thing left are the pictures that I packed up for my (ex) husband to take with him.
For years I kept the memories of the girls alive in the cards, trinkets, and pictures I had displayed where I could see them every day. There was not a day that went by that I did not think of them and wish things would have been different. Sadly those days are gone and so are the memories. However, when my ex discovered I had thrown the the stuff from his daughters in the garbage, he was upset and asked to have the homemade items and store bought trinkets that said “I love you mom”. I felt weird about this but if who was I to deny him keeping these trinkets that were meant for me.
No one can understand what I went through as their stepmom
No one can understand the pain, betrayal, and guilt I felt as a stepmother. My heartbreak did not end until I finally let go of all the hurt after my divorce. I forgave the girls a long time ago because I know that they were doing what would make their mom and family happy. For my own piece of mind I forgave their mother and estranged in laws who also helped create the drama between the girls, their mother, and us. I moved on from that painful part of my life and I will confess that it was not easy to release years of hearbreak, anger, and sorrow. I was angry for a long time but I realize now that no matter what I would have done I would have always been the evil stepmother.
Since the divorce, it has been easier to forget and move on with my life. I am sad that the memories are fading and sometimes I forget what the girls look like. Every so often I find an old picture and a tear will come to my eye and glide down my cheek as I remember those sweet girls who came in to my life. I did the best I could and loved them as my own. Life goes on and my sons and I are healing from the past and we will live our lives loving each other letting go of the past.
I know I am not the only one who has experienced heartbreak and sorrow as a stepmother. Being a stepmother is not easy and inquiring minds want to know- how did you handle it?
2017 copyrighted material C Renee