Thursday, May 16, 2013

I'm Not a Mom, I Just Play One at My House

I am not a mom, but I have three kids. I do everything a mom does. I cook, clean, help with homework, read bedtime stories, plan vacations, drive kids to school... I'm expected to treat these three children just like they are my own. That is easier said than done.

Balancing work and family is difficult for any mom. For a stepmom it's even more difficult. Compromising for three kids I didn't bring into this world isn't easy. I have to balance work, my relationship with my partner, my relationship with kids who aren't mine, and the relationship or perceived relationship with the kids' mother. Oh, then there is the relationship with my family and his family. It feels a lot like like musical chairs and I am always the one who ends up without a chair.

There is the constant reminder that I am not a mom. He let's it slip, "you don't understand because you don't have kids". The kids sing the mommy song and do the mommy dance when it is time to go back to their mom's house. My family is great, but they don't acknowledge the children's birthdays, which feels like not acknowledging that I have kids.

On the outside I look like a contender for mom of the year. I go to little league games, soccer practice, I leave work early so my partner can coach the boys teams, I cook healthy meals plus a simplified version for the kids to eat, I plan birthday parties and I genuinely am invested in his children. I want to be the best "mom" possible, but sometimes it hurts.

This past Sunday was Mother's Day. For me, this year, it came like a slap in the face. It screamed at me YOU ARE NOT A MOM. My partner was right when he told me I place a lot (he said too much) of significance on things like holidays and birthdays. It's not just mine though, I place significance on everyone on these days. I want everyone in my life to know that they matter. I want to know that I matter.

My partner was wonderful to me on Mother's Day. He celebrated me for being such a wonderful mother figure to his children. He let me know how much he appreciates me and everything I do. Despite all he did for me, I still have an empty spot in my heart. 


  1. Hi Ashley - I found your blog from your Paper Doll feature in this month's StepMom Magazine. I can completely relate to this post about 'playing mom'. My stepdaughters are here half the time and it feels very strange to me to have half-time residents of my home who are clearly NOT my children and, though they are respectful, mostly, and polite, I am an outsider. My husband, too, tells me I place too much importance on holidays and traditions, but though this is the path I have taken in my life, there's still this lingering desire for the fantasy of the family I had in my mind. Accepting what IS rather than trying to fix it is my first step. I look forward to keeping up with your blog!


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