When I married my husband, I received an added bonus of becoming a stepmom to his sweet little boy, Charlie. Charlie is as bright as can be and full of joy. He’s always ready with a helping hand and could talk all day and night if you let him. I could not have asked for a sweeter stepson.

However, this whole thing was new to me. Becoming a wife and a stepmom. Wow! There is SO MUCH to learn between those two titles. Some days I cry, some days I laugh, but every day I am thankful God blessed me with this little gem to raise. I am thankful for the time I have been given to cheer him on, help him out, and to help him reach his maximum potential. Here are four things I’ve learned since becoming a stepmom:

1. Your love won’t always be reciprocated, and that’s OK.

From the moment I came into the picture, Charlie has always been kind and sweet to me. He’s never disrespected me or treated me badly. However, I remember crying to my husband because he didn’t treat me like I was his mom. I tried to do thing after thing to show him I loved him, and I’d get nothing in return. Again, he was never rude or unkind to me, but he never just gave me a hug, or cuddled with me on the couch. He didn’t confide in me or tell me he loved me at bedtime.

One day, I had to make a decision. I loved Charlie. Charlie, might love me, he might not. Does Charlie’s love for me affect the love I have for him? No. I had to come to terms with the fact that Charlie might never treat me like I am his mom, and that’s OK. I would love him still. I believe that’s the sign of an incredible mother. My mother has always loved me whether I was happy, sad, snooty, silly, unkind or disobedient. That’s what a mother does.

2. It takes time.

Guess what? Turns out he does love me! It just took time. It can be a long time, it can be a couple weeks for some children, but if you continuously show them love without expecting any in return, they’ll recognize it. Charlie had to learn to trust me. He had to adapt to not being the only one in his dad’s life anymore. He had to push the limits a little bit to see what would slide with me, and what would not. I can honestly tell you, it is SO worth it to let them love you in their own time. Don’t try to force a relationship. Just be patient. It will come.

3. Be a class act.

Sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the drama that comes along with having a stepchild.

Don’t. Rise above all of that nonsense. Respect your stepchild’s mother and encourage your stepchild to have a good relationship with his or her mother. Remember, if you love them, you’ll put their needs before your own selfish thoughts or jealousies.

4. You are not alone.

One last thing I want you to all know, you are not alone. Being a stepmom is tough! I didn’t know many stepmoms, and I remember crying and crying because I felt so alone. Nobody understood. I could cry to my husband, sisters, mother, or friends and they’d all try so hard to understand and listen, but they would never fully understand. Guess what? I understand, and you’re not alone. 

I hope this helps any women who are still adjusting to becoming stepmoms. It’s a wonderful thing, but a very difficult one. You have to love somebody more than yourself and hope that one day, they’ll return the sentiment.

Be present for your stepchild, be kind, be loving and be praying for them. You’ll see the rewards come to pass in due time.

Originally published on the author’s blog

Lauren Shambo

I'm the stepmom to one boy and birth mom to two girls. I live with my husband in Upstate NY. I'm a lifestyle photographer and a full time mom! I love being a stepmom, it has taught me SO much!