The Part-Time Stepmum
On one of my early dates with my now husband I remember him talking about how some of his friends didn’t really understand his commitments to his daughter as he ‘only’ saw her every other weekend. I said to him, “You’re her dad everyday regardless of if you see her or not”. Reflecting on this now, I see even more so how true this is. She’s never from his mind and he misses her in ways that I can intellectually empathise with but not emotionally truly understand.
You see I’m not a mum. Neither biologically or in the sense of taking on a full-time Mum role. I very comfortably identify with the role of stepmum. I’m here whenever my stepdaughter needs me. I support her dad when she’s not around. When she’s with us, I do everything a mum would do. But I do it differently. And I do it for different reasons and with different feeling.
But I’m also realising that just as there is no such thing as a part-time parent, there is also no such thing as a part-time stepmum. Or at least not for me.
Even when she’s not here I’m still her stepmum.
I’m her stepmum when I talk to her before bed at night, when I watch her in a concert or at sports day, when I go to her school progress meetings.
I’m her stepmum when I wash her clothes, when I tidy her bedroom and make up her bed, when I pack for holidays and weekends away.
I’m her stepmum when I create a dressing up box and find things to fill it, when I download songs for her playlist, when I plan activities and craft projects for the weekend.
I’m her stepmum when my parents call and want to know how she is, when I turn down invites because it’s ‘our weekend’, when I plan two Christmases so she doesn’t miss out.
I’m her stepmum when I write my blog, when I read parenting articles, when I wake up in the night because I think she’s shouting for me.
And in so many other ways.
I’m her stepmum whether I’m at work, or out with friends, or on a solo trip, or on a date with my hubby.
It has become part of my identity in a way that doesn’t seem logical for the 3 nights out of every 14 that she actually lives under my roof.
There is no black and white. I’m neither a mum nor totally not a mum. I’m always ‘on call’ although not always needed. I have a lot of freedoms that parents don’t have but not as much as other child-free woman.
Such is the role of stepmum. It’s means different things to different people. It changes and evolves. Week after week. Day after day.