A note to stepmoms everywhere


Forging a Family Pod

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courtesy Yeah, that’s right, I’m a unicorn. Braving the storm for my little unicorns in training.

Been a bit of a rough week. I apparently have a little party hangover. It’s been stressful, working at a church during the busiest season of the year for a pastor who possibly has the absolute worst case of ADD I’ve ever witnessed in a human being. It’s been trying, and the past 2 days have felt like 4. Not sure how this is going to play out, he keeps forgetting to finish telling me what he needs before he adds the next thing.

I’ve had emergency chocolate as soon as I’ve gotten home for 2 days now.

Today I got home and talked to the oldest child for a bit. We discussed the holidays and what we will be doing, and we talked about a party that will be at my brother’s house. The kids never get to go to my family’s Christmas parties, they are always Christmas eve, and they are with their mom that day. But the oldest said “your family is so cool, I wish our family could be more like them”. She is referring to my in-laws and an incident that I don’t want to give light to.

I told her “we had to fight for what we have. We might be cool with each other, but that was a struggle”. She laughed, but then I told her why.

Our bond was forged in the depths of ugliness and growing pains in the lost youth of 2 people not ready for a family. Moments like my brother sitting on the bed with me, holding me while I shook and cried while our father tore our house apart in a jealous rage. When my mother threw our prized antique gumball machine out the car window, shattering it in the street while fighting with my father the day we moved out after the divorce. When my brother would knock on my wall late at night to ask for something when he was sick, or just to talk, or have me listen to some music he was into.

I was a best friend to my mother, and I was a partner in crime with my father. Things were crazy, and things were ugly, and we survived things that only the 4 of us can understand. My parents may be divorced, but we are a pod.

When I moved into the house with my husband, the whole family was traumatized. The kids never saw the divorce coming and their whole world had just shattered. My husband wasn’t prepared for the mourning he was to do over his marriage. It seemed like the only one who wanted me there was the oldest child. There were fights, disagreements with their mother, times when we all were upset for one reason or another. Times when we had to defend our decisions and our best efforts in the eyes of family.

Our struggles as a blended family may not have been as frightening, or as visceral as the struggles of my childhood, but the 5 of us have survived things that only we can understand.

Not everyone gets that. They want to stand outside and judge, but it doesn’t matter. They are not inside our “pod”, they weren’t forged in the fires with us.