Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
God calls us to protect our hearts, and for good reason! As stepmoms, when we believe lies about ourselves, and our identities, our stepfamily suffers. Here are a few of the most common lies that stepmoms believe – and truths that you can replace them with.
- You’re not a mom. Let’s just get this one out of the way: you are a mom! Check out Psalm 113:9 – it’s God who makes us mothers, not our (step)kids. #truthbomb
- You’re not a “real” parent. No matter whether it’s a clueless teacher or a not-so-well-meaning friend, this one drives me crazy! I want to ask what a “fake” parent is, but I can only imagine what kind of answer I’d get, lol. Need to combat this lie? The Bible defines parents as teaching, training, and leading their children – especially in His ways.
- You’re just the babysitter. This is a common feeling/fear of stepmoms early in the marriage. It could be based on fact (your husband suddenly has someone reliable to take care of his kids), or a less-than-friendly comment from the ex-spouse or stepkids. Either way, it’s not true. God has called you to so much more! You are a wife and a mother. Repeat it until you believe it!
- It’s the kid’s time with their dad – not you. I’m sure I’ll incur the wrath of some stepfamily “experts” with this one, but hear me out! I agree that it’s very important for kids to have bonding time with each biological parent, and family courts do not typically include stepparents in visitation orders. However, I do believe there is value in kids seeing their dad in a happy, stable marriage – and developing a healthy relationship with their stepmom on any level.
- Your home isn’t really your stepkid’s home. A stepmom friend shared that when her stepdaughter arrived for summer visitation, she brought 42 signed and sealed notes from her mom with the words, “___ days until you get to go home.” This, ladies, is parental alienation at its finest. Children of divorce and separation by definition have two homes, one with each parent/guardian. Your home is one of your stepkid(s) homes!
- Your extended family isn’t their family. I have witnessed kids being told that their stepmom’s parents weren’t really their grandparents, and heard horror stories of stepkids arriving for visitation saying that their new baby brother by their dad and stepmom wasn’t their brother at all. This misinformation not only alienates the stepmom but manipulates children for the sake of a jealous parent – and I have no time for it. Can too many people love your stepkids?? I know it’s frustrating, but keep reinforcing the love and care that your family feels for those kiddos!
- You have no right to take care of your stepkids. I saw a Facebook post from a new stepmom, stating that her stepkids’ mom told her she wasn’t allowed to help brush their teeth or tie their shoes. I was appalled! We can argue about stepparent “rights” all day long, but I believe taking good care of the children is a responsibility! And a joy, in my humble opinion. Embrace your inner nurturer!
- You’re the reason that your stepkids can’t see (or don’t get along with) their dad. Unless you’re doing something to specifically sabotage their relationships, chalk this one up to parental alienation from the other household, or simply the growing pains of a step or blended family. As stepmoms, we often internalize the discord and conflict in our homes and end up blaming ourselves as the common denominator. You can only own what is yours, stepmomma – lay the rest at His feet.