I recently took the ultimate plunge a single, never married, 28-year old female could take. I moved in with my partner; My partner with an ex wife and kids.
It hasn’t been easy. All of us are navigating new, uncharted territory. It’s like we’re all learning how to tie our shoes again. We all knew how to exist in our individual worlds. I had made a home for myself in a full service doorman building studio apartment with a stunning view of downtown New York City and the Hudson River, a rooftop to brunch on, a gym to workout in, a lounge to play “host” in when a studio was not sufficient for guests, a valet to drop my dry cleaning off at and a convenience store to compensate for any forgetfulness during your latest trip to the grocery store. And I decided to trade it all.
Some days we have endured and some days we have thrived. But all of them have been the most unpredictable, volatile, passionate, rewarding and terrifying days I have experienced in my twenty-nine years of being. I got through grad school finals more smoothly than this. I’ve broken up with boyfriends more easily than this. I’ve trained for marathons and IRONMAN triathlons more effortlessly than this. A woman simply cannot anticipate the courage she must have to enter a family as a (step)mom.
While it has been a tumultuous transition when at our valleys, I can not neglect to mention that we have also experienced wonderfully positive peaks. Couples counseling has made my partner and I a stronger, united force, more equipped to handle the challenges that this new situation is rapid firing at us. Yet, there still are a lot of unknowns and not much packaged, canned, simple clean advice on how to adjust to this new scenario.
I’m a marketing manager at Audible, a division of Amazon that provides audiobooks you can listen to anywhere with our app. (No, we’re not “books on tape.”) At the end of each year, marketing and merchandising meets to review the books coming out in 2015. The list is astounding and impressive, and it’s not even exhaustive. The books that were highlighted in 2015 are guaranteed best-sellers; the latest Janet Evanovich thriller, yet another James Patterson novel, Bethenny Frankel’s book with instruction on not screwing up relationships, the highly anticipated follow up to Grain Brain, Brain Maker, a scientific guide to making smarter food choices for your brain. There are books about the effects of anti-depressent drugs on your body, and even HuffPosts’ Rebecca Harrington’s comical account of celebrity diets gone wrong, books about “love math”, about following your gut, about charting a life that matters, about protagonists that forget if they committed a crime, about innocent men wrongfully accused. As I sat in this meeting, I was faced with a glaring, jarring reality, that out of the plethora of topics these books covered, there were not books written (or at least not largely discussed) on the topic of entering stepmommyhood. When I searched for “stepmommyhood” on Amazon an error message appeared: Your search “stepmommyhood” did not match any products.
Typically, I live by the theory of: if it doesn’t exist on Amazon, it doesn’t exist. There are quite literally no products related to “stepmommyhood.” So, I performed the search, “being a stepmom.” The search timed out. I searched “blended families” and the best I came up with was a book that sounded promising until I read about the authors: A divorced man who is a clinical psychologist and university professor, and a female teacher who helps students who have difficulty in single-parent or blended family scenarios. No thanks. While I’m sure these individuals have a wealth of experience to share, neither can write from the (step)mom-to-be’s perspective. If there is one thing I’ve learned through the trials and tribulations of transitions, it’s that no one truly understands a (step)mom’s perspective until it’s experienced. Even a (step)mom herself has a hard time articulating and pinpointing exactly what she is feeling until it happens repeatedly and she can finally put her finger on it.
Luckily, since this post was published, we found a few resources and hidden gems that have been encouraging, taking the infrequent highroad to (step)motherhood. I would encourage you to visit our Faves to explore what resources Erica and I have found helpful.
We all have had days of hopelessness, but we also all have a-ha moments of triumph. I’ve realized that those a-ha moments are what make this (step)mom journey worth it. Our society does a much better job about pointing out and complaining about the negatives and doesn’t emphasize the positive impact and experience a (step)mom can have for herself and her new family. One thing you can count on in this blog is that you will always be encouraged, celebrated, and empowered. We are mercilessly emphasizing the positives of being a (step)mom to elevate our role in our newly formed family, with friends and extended family, and to women across the globe, while keeping it real…
Blog Pairing: Mother Teresa
Disclaimer: All opinions are my own.