Every week I receive emails from stepmoms who are concerned about what having an “ours baby” will do to their stepfamily dynamic.
Concerns include how their stepchildren will react, what his ex-wife will think, how she will balance the responsibilities of being a stepmom while still tending to their own child… just to name a few.
(If you’re wondering what an ours baby is, here’s a definition that I threw together)
Ours Baby – when a stepmom/stepdad has a baby with their partner who also has children from a previous marriage. The stepmom/stepdad may or may not have children from a previous union as well.
My replies to these emails always include THIS piece of advice.
Don’t overthink it.
As stepmoms, because our family dynamic is far more complicated than a “first family”, we have this nasty little habit over over-analyzing situations. We often assume that any complications are due to the fact that the we are in a blended family.
And well, sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t. But either way, it’s not worth driving yourself crazy over.
The way I see it, when you decide to have an “ours” baby, as long as you are excited, include the kids in the process, and remind them that you’re not “starting a new family” but adding to the one that you already have, you’re on the right track.
If the kids aren’t excited, keep in mind that there are many situations in “first families” where kids aren’t thrilled about the new addition either. It can take time for everyone to adjust.
Today I thought I’d share 3 Truths about Adding An “Ours” Baby to your Blended Family Crew.
These truths our OUR truths. They come from our personal experience of adding Reese to our family.
1. You will (probably) never achieve balance between your stepchildren and your “ours” baby… and that’s okay!
Even though the goal is to always make sure that everyone is treated the same, the fact is, your baby will be with you 100% of the time, while you’re stepchildren are with you less. Naturally, you will have more experiences with your child than you will your stepchildren. It’s inevitable.
Don’t feel bad about that. It’s important to remember that their lives don’t stop when they are at their moms.
They have experiences, are making memories, going for ice cream, getting birthday presents, having movie nights, celebrating holidays, going on vacations. They are still living their lives. Your child’s life shouldn’t be put on pause until they are back.
From day one I’ve told my husband that I refuse to allow our daughter’s life to be dictated by our week-on-week-off access schedule. Lucky for me, he agrees!
When we are all together as a family, everyone gets treated the same. Balance is acheivable. But when they are at their Mom’s, we keep living our lives… as we should.
** THIS ONE DOESN’T APPLY TO FULL CUSTODY SITUATIONS **
2. Being a “Real” Mom will change how you look at being a Stepmom
Or it did for me at least.
It’s made me more empathetic, and consider what it would feel like for another woman to be caring for and having special moments with my child.
in fact, since becoming a mom myself, I’m way more forgiving and considerate of “mom fails” (as the internet refers to them). It turns out, I was a much better mom before I actually became one.
3. You may love your child differently than your stepchildren… and that’s okay too
When I first became a stepmom I made the commitment that I would my stepchildren as my own. I’ve always stood by that.
When I got pregnant, I was sure the way I felt about my stepchildren and my baby girl would be virtually the same.
It’s not…. Not even close.
It used to drive me crazy when other moms would say to me “you won’t understand until you’re a mom yourself”. I found it disrespectful, and like it undermined the role that I play in my stepchildren’s lives.
But as it turns out, they were right.
There is this special bond that I have with my daughter that is unlike anything I have ever experienced before. My husband and I created her together. She came from me. She is a piece of me.
I’m sure you just **gasped** and thought to yourself “did she actually just say that?”
Yes. Yes I did.
But before you get your panties in a bunch and start sending me hate email, let me explain.
The type of love and bond I have with my stepchildren is ALSO unlike anything I have ever experienced before.
The fact that I love them differently, doesn’t mean that the love is any less important in my life. It is just a DIFFERENT type of love.
Just like I love my sisters differently than I love my husband, or my husband differently than I love our daughter. They are all my family, and all mean the world to me… just in a different way!
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