“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.