Let me just get this out of the way: being the second wife and stepmom is hard and not a lot of fun at times. I started to write about how being second is really great and happy, but that’s just not true. It’s a lot harder in some ways than being the first.

Being the second wife means there was a history.

A long one. A committed one. A history that still appears and exists online and in photo albums. A history you can’t forget because any time you want to go to a restaurant or visit a new place and there’s a pause from your spouse, it’s probably because it’s already been visited.

It also means there is baggage and not the cute “this was my half of a high-quality, carry-on set.” Nope. Baggage as in stuff that, as much as anyone tries to leave it behind, is still over there in the closet. Baggage we both sort through together as we build our life together.

Being the second mom, the stepmom, also has its sucky moments. My stepdaughters are AMAZING, and I could not imagine my life without them in it, but my role is definitely second. Our bonds are real, and we share special moments, but there are other “more special” moments I don’t get to be a part of. Experiences set aside for the first mom. And I won’t lie. Sometimes this causes me to get into a nasty game of comparison with myself.

Being the second mom also means my vote on certain topics is as complicated as understanding the popular vote vs. electoral college and somewhat similar. My vote is cast, but that doesn’t mean it carries the same weight.

Now, here’s the good news. 

As second, I have the benefit of learning from past mistakes and experiences. For my husband and me, it means we have a heightened awareness for what we need in our relationship and areas we both, personally and as a couple, need to grow in.

It means I’m no longer young and naive about the world or what “happily ever after” actually means. Turns out it includes infinitely more nights doing laundry and eating cereal for dinner than going to a fancy ball.

To the girls, I’m the second mother figure in their lives. And while this may be the hardest place for me to be second place, I know it has the potential to serve the girls well in their future. They have another trusted female role model at the ready to help them navigate the beautiful lives ahead of them. 

So, while I’m not here telling you every day is sunshine and roses, the truth is being second really isn’t that bad after all. 

You may also like: 

The Insider’s Guide to Being a Stepmom

To the Stepparents Who Love Their Bonus Kids So Well—Thank You

This is the Ugly Side of Marriage

Jessica Janssen Wolford

I’m Jess. Mom to the best kid in the entire world. Step-mom to the best step-daughters ever made. Wife to a truly amazing husband, who isn’t worried at all that I might be going a bit crazy by sharing our story with the world. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or at www.astepintherightdirection.live.