Today is a special day for a few reasons. First, the United Nations has designated November 16th as International Day of Tolerance. And because of that @redheadstepmom has designated today as Take Your BM (the mother of your stepkids) to Work Day.
@Redheadstepmom told me she had the idea for @TakeBM2Work2012 because she thought it would be fun for Stepmoms to invite their BMs (or representations thereof) to walk a mile in their shoes for a day, be it at the workplace, home or school, and perhaps improve relationships through communication and understanding. I believe that is something most stepmoms wish for.
She and another amazing stepmom, @LovingStepMom on Twitter, started posting about this day. Before long, lots of stepmoms were inquiring more about bringing the
mom of their stepkids to work.
As I thought about it, this thought came to my mind (as it has many, many times)….
I would love for the mom of my stepdaughters to know the depth of my heart for my family, for her two daughters. I never want her to be threatened by my presence but rather at peace with it.
Have you ever longed for the mom of your stepkids to understand the journey you walk? Have you ever wished she would accept your presence in her children’s lives? Do you ever think… ‘does she know the impact her hurtful words/actions towards me and her ex are having on the kids’?
Maybe you have a great relationship with the mom of your stepkids. If so, then you live the blessing that occurs when all parents put their egos aside and parent with the best interest of the kids in mind but sadly that isn’t the case for many stepmoms.
So taking my kids mom to “work” with me would be great. I would love for her to see what I do daily and not from a work perspective but from a heart perspective.
Since I can’t take their mom to “work” with me given I’m a custodial stepmom, here are the things I would want the mom of my stepdaughters to know about a typical day for me and the steps I take out of love each day ……
- I wake up every morning with the attitude that I will do my best.
- I make sure your daughter’s have clean clothes and warm meals.
- I’ve taught them the value of dressing modestly. I’ve bit my tongue when they want to wear some outlandish accessory but spoke up when their shirts were too low cut. I protect them.
- I teach them to respect themselves.
- I’m home when they get off the bus. I listen to the drama of the day. I’m there when they cry because they didn’t get invited to a birthday party. I listen to them share about a crush that they “just can’t tell dad about.”
- I offer advice on how to make friends, how to talk to a teacher when they don’t agree with a grade… I help them make life choices.
- I’ve had to have the puberty talk with each (and yes, the sex talk). I’ve shared my experience and cried silent tears when they ask me “how old was my mom when she started her period?” There are so many questions I can’t answer for them.
- I helped them each buy their first bra and talked to them about the importance of “good support.”
These aren’t conversations that I relish having with them but as the mom in the house, it is my responsibility. If not me, than who….
- I’ve worked hard to build into them that their worth is not in the clothes they wear or the boys that like them. They are worthy because God loves them. I’ve taught them that they have to love themselves first.
- I’ve been there for questions that they don’t feel comfortable going to dad about.
- I’m teaching them to cook and why they should make their bed every morning before they leave the house.
- I give them daily chores and make sure that they do them.
- I’ve corrected them when they’ve made a poor choice or lied. And I’ve yelled at them at times as I have my own kids. I’ve also asked them to forgive me when I have had a harsh word. I want all my kids to understand the power of asking for forgiveness and receiving it.
- I monitor the books they read and the movies they watch.
- I get them to practice on time (most days).
- I take them to church and small group and have a close group of adult women I trust that they know they can go to if they feel they can’t come to me on something. I am building a circle of trust for them.
- I love their dad and I support him. I take care of the house so when he comes home he can just hang out with the kids. I do that so he has more time to pour into his girls and my kids as well.
- I tell them you love them.
- I tell them they are going to be okay. I tell myself that too.
- I’m here everyday.
But being a stepmom is not a glamorous job. Honestly, it is the most difficult and thankless role I’ve ever had. It has tested my patience and endurance. Through it all I have learned a lot about myself. I am stronger, braver, more courageous than I ever gave myself credit for. I am modeling that for the kids in our home.
Things have gotten much better but I want you to know that I am committed to this family. I am committed to loving your girls through it all.
I have endured much in my role. I’ve been sworn at by my youngest stepdaughter. Spit on (by the same one). I’ve had those four dreaded words “YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER” screamed at me when I’ve had to enforce a consequence.
The job of stepmom truly tests a woman’s character and her endurance. Many things I’ve endured “on the job” as many of us have would make most people run. Far. Away. But I get up every morning and try my best. I know the pain my youngest stepdaughter spews at me is just that – her pain. I’m trying my best to love her through that.
Moms, please know as stepmoms we are loving your kids through their life. Love. Yes, love. No one can have too much love. Please don’t be threatened by the presence of a stepmom in your children’s life but rather accept the love they bring.
We don’t become stepmoms because we want to take over the mom’s role. We become stepmoms because we fall in love with a man with children. When we marry him we commit to caring for and nurturing his children.
It is a blessing to you the mom and your kids that we take that role seriously.
The above is a glimpse into my heart as the stepmom of my two stepdaughters. And I want to leave you with these quotes on this International Day of Tolerance and Take Your BM to Work Day:
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
“Don’t judge any woman until you have walked two moons in her moccasins.” - American Indian Proverbs
Just as we don’t want the mom of our stepkids to judge us, we too have to be sensitive to them. We don’t know what they are going through and what motivates them. Would be interesting for them to give us a glimpse into their heart and their fears. As women, it is our heart and our fears that have the power to propel us forward or get us stuck. We all have hurts and burdens and we deal with them in different ways. Being compassionate towards one another can go a long way. Hard to do but important.
If you could tell the mother of your stepchildren one thing, what would it be? Are you participating in TakeBM2Work2012?