Stepmoms get such a bad rap. Most of the time they are forgotten about, hated on, or misunderstood. I am lucky enough to have a stepmom that is pretty awesome. She came into my life when I was at the tender age of 15, and I know that my positive view of her was because of one person in my life. A person I admire more now as an adult, for the difficult actions he took in my teenage years. That person is my dad.
My dad made me love my stepmom
Not through force, but through loving actions. He took the hard topics of separating from my mom, dating, remarriage, and having another child, with stride. My dad is a quiet man, but he included his 15 year-old daughter in every decision he made when it came to welcoming his new love.
Take note single parents, these are the steps he took to get me to accept his future wife:
1. He talked to me
He would sit me down and we would have adult conversations about his feeling towards dating, me meeting his girlfriend, and eventually marriage. My dad never kept me in the dark, and I respected him for that.
2. He was kind
Including me in his decisions meant that he had to be sensitive toward my feelings. He was putting his heart out there, not only to his new love but to his only child. Our reactions towards each other were HUGE, and he was kind enough to ask me how I felt about it all, constantly.
3. He let time pass
I didn’t meet his new love right away. He made sure that it was something serious before bringing us together.
4. He included me
I was his right-hand woman, there every step of the way on his new journey through finding love. Looking back, he did NOT have to include me in any decision. As a grown man, those were his to make. But his actions brought us that much closer, and it allowed me to be okay with him moving on from my mother.
5. She included me
Now, I know my stepmom wanted to get on my good side, but she didn’t have to do all the things she did. She became my friend, my ally, and she even allowed me to name their first baby. #crazy But because of all those amazing acts of including me, it gave me a love and respect for her that I may not have had without them. She did not HAVE to include me, but she did, and I am forever thankful.
As I sit here, I think about how difficult it must have been for her, or any step parent. Step parents come into a family that is either broken or already filled with love. To be the outsider looking in and trying to catch up, must be so grueling. They are the parent that must walk on egg shells to give just the right amount of love and attention, not too much or too little. And to be accepted, they must jump through hurdles. So, let’s all give those amazing plus ones a round of applause.
Keep clapping for those brave parents that brought them in too, like my dad. I respect him, I love him, and I admire him for the actions he took long ago. My gratitude for my dad is astounding. My hope is that our story helps a single dad or mom out there with their future transition in love and family.