Thu 3 May 2012
Grab a cup of coffee and get cozy. You are about to read a heartwarming story by Rebecca Suhy about the love she feels for her stepdaughters and the reality checks she has as their “bonus” mom. I know many will relate and be inspired by her heartfelt words. The love for her family truly shines through and there is nothing wicked about that. Enjoy!
I’m not sure anyone ever wishes for, or asks, to be a Stepmom.
I was 26 years old when I met my husband. For years I had been looking for Mr. Right, and I had my checklist of who he was—a tall, handsome man who made me laugh and was driven by his career. I had been in serious relationships before, but I was unsettled by the men I had previously encountered and although I enjoyed the thrill of the hunt, I was ready to finally be settled. So, on that fateful night in November 2003, I began talking to the man that would become my husband. He was tall (check), handsome (check), funny (check) and a fireman (BONUS!). What I didn’t know at that time, but what I eventually found out, was that he was divorced and had two daughters. So NOT on my checklist.
Just like it was a surprise to learn about the “other” women in his life, meeting my future stepdaughters for the first time was also unexpected. It was a year into our relationship, and we were parking at his parents’ house in order to attend a community event. It was Halloween 2004, and all I remember is a three year-old Wonder Woman being held by her grandmother, and a four year-old princess running after her. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Do I introduce myself, will he introduce me?” It was a very quick interaction, but I knew the “first” meeting, albeit informal, was over.
Over the next few years, my interaction with the girls was effortless. Because of the custody agreement, we share, and continue to share, responsibility for the girls. Therefore, we have our own family dynamic. What began as a casual situation, quickly and easily, turned into a family. They were so excited when my husband proposed, I was so excited for them to share in our wedding day as flower girls, and they are the BEST big sisters to our 3 year-old son Ryan, who is now as old as one of his big sisters was when I first met her.
What I find hardest about being a Stepmom is experiencing those “reality check” moments when I realize I’m not their mom. When they’re with us, we’re a traditional family—doing homework, eating dinner together, playing, disciplining, etc… But, what I sometimes forget is that they do the same thing at their mother’s house. They essentially have two lives and we’re not a part of their other one. The girls and I do our “ladies-only” shopping sprees, movie dates, manicures, etc… like any mother-daughter/s would. But, I don’t get the privilege of being the first female they call if they’re sick or listed as an emergency contact, etc… I’m extremely grateful for the relationship I have with my two stepdaughters. They embraced me like another mother, they recognize me on Mother’s Day and they’ve naturally learned to share their love. No one can tell the heart that they’re not my own, because I love them like they’re my own.
In June 2011, my oldest stepdaughter underwent corrective surgery for her scoliosis. When I learned she would have to get this done, I cried, like any mother would, despite knowing this would be the best thing that ever happened to her. I struggled with my place in the waiting room at the hospital with both their mother and father, and remained strong in my decision that if I love her like my own and I care for her like one of my own, then I will be alongside her biological parents, because it is where I belong. I made it through that day with a lot of emotion, but just like any mother would. And her amazing recovery and only made me appreciate both my girls and my important role as a stepmom.
I find it a roller coaster ride and a bit of a struggle to go from mom to stepmom based on activity, or day, but I’m learning and I’m getting good at it. No one wishes for, or asks, to be a Stepmom, but if you’re as lucky as I am, you may want to consider it.
Rebecca (Becca) Suhy is a Cleveland based mom of a three-year old boy, Ryan, and stepmom to two girls, Allison, 12 and Jenna, 10. Married since 2006 to her husband Michael, Becca navigates the joys (and headaches) of stepmotherhood on a daily basis. Sharing part-time maternal responsibilities for her two girls is challenging, but she feels extremely fortunate they have such an amazing relationship. Becca looks forward to connecting with fellow stepmoms who find their role to be even crazier than motherhood. Becca serves as principal of Rebecca Suhy Communications in Cleveland where she specializes in public relations, social media and marketing communications strategy. She is 1999 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Follow Becca on Twitter @beccasuhy.