Quote of the Week: We are Family

“Blood makes you related.
Loyalty makes you family.”

I was scrolling through Zandra’s Instagram the other day and she had posted a pic of her and her step bro at her Mom’s.

Someone had asked the question if it was her “bio bro” or “step bro”?

Her response: “Does it matter?”

Love this girl.

Now, I get why people ask. Sometimes.

I also get that some people really do live by “blood is thicker than water.”

We had a big conversation the other day about biological ties. Once again, the accusations had been sent over from my skid’s mom “how I want to be my skid’s mother.” (So sick of this, really….)

Anyhow, I pulled out a book from my impressive collection of stepmother, stepparent, blended family books, (yeah, I did my research when we did this Brady bunch thing), called “Understanding Stepmothers” by Elizabeth Church, to share some thoughts on the matter.

In it, Church describes several “types” of stepmothers. There is : “Nuclear Model” Stepmom – one who wants to take over the mother role: does not encourage the kids to have contact with the mother (I was the one who insisted the kids call their mom every night they are here), who pretends that the skids are her own, is ashamed of being a blended family (ummm… Don’t think that is me. Hello blended family blog!!!), whose husband sits back and is not involved, (have you met Rob???? Well, technically no, but you know what I mean). But then there are some amazing traits too! Fiercely loyal, the mama bear comes out, adores her skids…. I’ll assume that all the ” good stuff” is why I get “accused” of wanting to be this kind of stepmom.

BTW, no type of stepmom is the RIGHT one. We do what comes naturally, based on our values and beliefs, our personalities, our insecurities….

Another type is the “Biological Model.” This is the, “you take care of yours, and I’ll take card of mine.” This is the one where blood is thicker than water, you do not want to be viewed as a parent (or just aren’t viewed in that way) to your own step kids and surprise surprise, you will have challenges with anyone who does take on a parenting role with you kids. (Even your ex. Hmmm… sounds very familiar) Not me, but I can certainly see this approach is the one my skid’s mom takes. And wishes I took. And that is fine!!!! But it’s not me, and never will be.

Another approach is the “Extended Model”. Incidentally, this approach seems to breed the happiest of stepmoms (and blended families). Yippee, because it’s more me. “I’m not your mom, but I am a parent figure.” I am the third (or fourth, depending on the child’s other family) parent, I do motherly things, we are family because of our relationship and bond, you are accepted into my extended family and with my friends. We create our own memories, start our own traditions, create our own identity. We are proud to be blended and value the benefits a blended family brings! Both Stepmom and Dad are very involved in raising “their family”. Family is everything, and the definition of family is broadened well past blood.

I pulled this book out to try to put to rest (in the kid’s eyes) that the way we do family is “ok.” I’m not some bizarre, twisted woman who takes a “highly unusual approach to step parenting.” (Now I’m just going to let it go, right? That’s what needs to be done. Let others deal with their own issues and I am just letting go….)

We are family.

Plain and simple.

We are different family. I don’t need to have your blood and you don’t need to have mine.

Is it different? YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

You know it (step child/child) and I know it (step mom/mom). So we build our own relationship and not worry about what it’s “supposed to be.”

And we focus on love. On caring for each other. On creating amazing memories, lasting traditions, and inside jokes. We share meals, chores, family nights, movie nights, vacations, graduations, funerals, waiting rooms, and celebrations. We laugh, cry, grieve, fight, make up, pray, have fun, and be together. We build respect and loyalty. That’s what family does.

We are family.


Quote of the Week: We are Family — 10 Comments

  1. AW! I love that she said, “Does it matter?”
    In my house it was different only because the bio parents were deceased so they weren’t there to assert their feelings/opinions/parenting.
    So my parents really did step in those roles as parents of all five.
    It wasn’t perfect. It was very messy. But hey, it worked.
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    • I admire your parents so much. It must have been so hard. A whole different bag of problems to face when raising kids is already so difficult! Like everyone, I’m sure they made mistakes, but it look like, overall, they did a fantastic job!!! And messy can be so beautiful:)

  2. A movie could be made about the Mom/Stepmom stories of this blog!!!! Do it!

    Love the quote…and love Zandra’s perspective about bio and love-such a smart girl

    Also very cool to hear about the different ways to stepparent-never knew there were so many categories. I always wonder and estimate which one I would be-but like any other situation very hard to know until you are actually in it and living it.

    Love Lauren Kate

    • There are even more “models” of different Stepmoms. None are completely “right” or “wrong”. You do what works for your family and according to who you are as a person. I think most “Moms” when they try to think of how they would be a “stepmom” )in terms of their own biological role (that they would want to protect their bond with their children, that they would not want some “other woman” having any say with “their children”, they have a need to protect their own relationship.) But it’s not like that, in my opinion. We don’t “own” our children. And just like we want our children to be loved by their grandparents, aunts, uncles —a step parent is another addition to that. Yes, they will have a voice, because the sad fact of divorce is that you DO “lose” out on time with your kids – and that someone else WILL step in to do all the logistical, and a I daresay “motherly” things with them when they are not with you (it may be a stepmom, or it may be the Dad…but the reality is, it won’t YOU). Fight it or embrace it. It is what it is. You can make it hard for your kids or easy. And it is HARD!! Very. I remember when Z and J’s stepmom was introduced — I was so bitter! I had such a hard time! But I understand now that they NEED and DESERVE to have a good relationship with her. I WANT that for them, because I want them to be happy when they are at their Dad’s too —- with their other family! I do not want to stand in their way, or make their relationship difficult because I have insecurities. My children will develop a relationship with their Stepmom regardless, the only difference is whether they feel they have to hide the relationship from me (in fear of upsetting me) or share it with me and feel like they don’t have to separate their lives.

  3. Great response Zandra. Smart girl. We have a huge issue at home being that my step-kids mom says I do too much with the kids (what? doe she expect me and the kids to sit at home bored?) and she is now converting to “Super mom”. She gives the kids a hard time about being with me and us doing anything with the kids. I have even contemplated being step-mom model #2 at times. These step-mom/bio-mom relationships are so difficult.
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