So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

If someone would have told me some real truths about being a stepmom, I would have given it a little more consideration before diving in head and heart first.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that being a stepmom is horrible. I’m not saying I don’t love my stepchildren. However, let’s keep it real and say the hard things no one really wants to say.

Stepparenting can be an extremely hard job. It is definitely not for the weak-minded or weak-hearted. You have to be Ford-tough emotionally and mentally to handle what comes with the territory.

Here are five hard truths I wish I would have known about being a stepmom before I was one, the non-Brady Bunch version:

You will never be your stepchild(ren)’s mom.

My love for my stepdaughter is as deep as if she came from my own womb. However, she felt that rebelling against me was showing loyalty to her mom. And what child wants to be disloyal to his or her mom? It took years, but I was able to find peace once I realized no matter how much love I show her, no matter how many sleepless nights I spend worrying about her, no matter how many tears I shed for her, regardless of the time, effort and support given to her, I am not her mom.

Your best efforts still may not help you build a relationship—so be you.

The general consensus of the stepmoms in my network is we were all afraid to be ourselves in the beginning. Personally, I am an energetic, loud, trivia-loving, happy ball of energy. My stepdaughter was really annoyed by my personality. So I would work so hard not to allow my big personality to overpower the room because I do have a tendency to do that.

RELATED: So God Made A Stepmom

Well, after making such a conscious effort to change how I normally behave, it was revealed that my stepdaughter was annoyed with how mellow I was. So I quickly realized I should always be me. Putting so much effort into changing me, hoping to gain love, was pointless. She would have to come around in her own time. Until then, everything I did annoyed her.

Parents don’t always act like parents. Adults don’t always act like adults.

When you are a main player in the game of raising other people’s children, it is hard to watch the other parent put themselves first while their child is your #1 priority. I was in disbelief that the other parent would be so careless with and unconcerned about her child’s life.

Granted, I knew there were people out there who neglected their children, raised their children poorly, and made bad decisions as parents. However, I knew this in a general sense. I won’t go into all of the crazy, mouth-dropping, eye-popping, infuriating details. What I will say is just because a person is of legal age to be an adult, it doesn’t mean they are going to act like an adult. Most importantly, you can’t make them act like a parent either.

No matter how much you do to help your spouse and your stepchild(ren), you may never get the credit you deserve.

Being a stepmom gets tougher when you feel under-appreciated, used, unheard, and emotionally drained. It is easy to feel used because you love hard but things like not being recognized on Mother’s Day or other special occasions occur. The child may never say thank you for being my bonus parent and giving me your all. You have to be OK with knowing you are a great person for supporting and loving your husband and your stepchild(ren).

You can’t just quit.

The feeling of wanting to quit as a stepmom is normal. However, the reality is, if you quit being a stepparent then more than likely the only way out is divorce. There are not many people who will leave their children for their spouse, and rightfully so.

RELATED: A Stepmom and Her Stepchildren Grow Together

One thing that is for sure, however, is it’s OK to feel like you’ve had enough. It’s OK to have weak moments. You are not a bad person for feeling weak during moments of high pressure and stress, that just makes you human. Talking about it with your spouse can sometimes be difficult, but it is the best thing for you and for your relationship.

Sometimes you may need to get an unbiased third party involved, like a therapist, to help sort through the weeds of emotions, denial, and personal issues to get to the root of the problem. No matter the road you take, it must be one of communication. Unless you are getting a divorce, quitting is not an option.

Brittany J. P. Reese

Brittany  J.P. Reese is a mom, step-mom, wife, author, writer, editor and entrepreneur. She is a true night owl who loves to laugh and whose best work is created through procrastination during the wee hours of the morning. Her belief is God gives you the tools you need in life. It is up to you to use those tools to build your happiness and pave the way for your children.

These Are the Sick Years

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom kissing head of sick toddler

I’m still in the trenches of toddlerhood, and yet, I already know I will look back on my daughter’s preschool years with affection for what it is: sweet, fun, curious, and undeniably precious. What I won’t miss about this stage is that it’s germy. SO germy. The preschool years bring endless crud into our home. Crud that is heartbreaking when your beloved child’s body is working hard to fight it off, but that also works its way into other bodies. The adults in the home who have jobs and responsibilities, run the entire household and have just endured the emotional...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Kids the Summer Fun I Never Had

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys playing in the waves on the beach, color photo

I love that my kids hate school. Stay with me here . . . Yes, I absolutely love that year after year, my boys cannot wait to ditch school for summer break, that they endlessly bemoan the academic year and cannot wait for June.  I love it because it is normal. I love it because it means they enjoy being at home and implies that I make summers fun for them, or, rather, allow summers to be fun for them. I love it because I always dreaded summers when I was growing up. Dreaded them with knots in my stomach...

Keep Reading

Mothering One Day at a Time

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding daughter in matching shirts, color photo

As I sat with my growing belly, full of anticipation for the arrival of my firstborn, the possibilities were endless for this little girl. Maybe she would lean toward the arts and be a dancer, writer, or musician. Or maybe she would take after her great-granddad and become a scientist. And maybe one day she would be a mother too. Dreaming about the future was fun and exciting. But then she surprised us with an at-birth Down syndrome diagnosis. Special needs were never included in my dreaming sessions.    All of the sudden, my hopes and dreams for this new...

Keep Reading

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

I Know It’s Just Summer Camp but I Miss You Already

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Kids by campfire

You would’ve thought I was sending you off to college. The way I triple-checked to make sure you had everything you needed and reminded you about the little things like brushing your teeth and drinking plenty of water about a thousand times. You would’ve thought I was sending you to live on your own. The way I hugged you tight and had to fight back some tears. The way you paused before leaving just to smile at me. The way I kept thinking about that boyish grin all the way home. The way I kept thinking about how you’re looking...

Keep Reading

I Want My Boys To Become Men of Character

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boys with arms around each other by water

I’m a single mama of two young boys. As a woman raising young boys, I’ve thought a lot about how I want them to act—as kids and adults. We joke around that I’m not raising farm animals, and we don’t live in a frat house. I’m trying to plant seeds now so they grow into men with positive character traits. They burp, fart, spray toothpaste on the sink and somehow miss the toilet often, but I’m trying to teach them life lessons about what it means to be great men and gentlemen.  Interactions with other men provide opportunities for us...

Keep Reading

Until There Was a Boy

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother looking at son and smiling, color photo

I never believed in love at first sight . . . until there was a boy.  A boy who made my heart whole the first time he looked at me.  A boy who held my hand and touched my soul at the same time.  A boy who challenged me and helped me grow. A boy who showed me that, even on the worst days, the world is still a beautiful place.  RELATED: I Met a Boy and He Changed Everything A boy who reminded me how to laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. A boy who tested my patience...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Heart Remembers These Sweet Moments Forever

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and baby laughing

Motherhood gives you all the feelings. It’s hard not to be utterly thankful for and grieve the little things of your last baby, trying to take in all of the firsts and lasts. Every bin of clothes and baby gear packed up produces a tiny crack in a mother’s heart, breaking just a little bit more each time she says goodbye. It’s not that she needs those baby clothes, but it’s the memories each outfit held that are difficult for her to let go of. She does not want to forget those beautiful moments. When she looks at that bin...

Keep Reading

I Want You To Miss Your Childhood One Day Too

In: Kids, Living
Kids jumping off dock into lake

What I miss the most about childhood is owning my whole heart. Before I gave pieces of it away to others who weren’t always careful with it. And some, who never gave the pieces back. I miss my knowing. My absolute faith that my mother’s arms could fix just about everything and what her arms couldn’t, her cookies could. When my biggest grievance was not getting my way. I miss feeling whole, unblemished. Before words cut me. Before people had taken up space in my mind, created permanent movies that were ugly and still play on repeat at times. Before...

Keep Reading

No One Told Me It Was the Last Time You’d Be This Little

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young son playing in ocean

No one told me it would be the last time I rocked you to sleep. A cry in the night, the haze of a dimly lit room, our rocking chair worn brown. We were the only ones in a little world. No one told me it would be the last time I carried you on my hip. The way my body shifted—you changed my center of gravity. Your little arm hooked in mine, a gentle sway I never noticed I was doing. No one told me it would be the last time I pushed you on the bucket swing. Your...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime