My mom was a stepmother to 3 of my stepbrothers. In the house it was my mom (their stepmom), their dad (my stepdad), and me (the only girl and the baby.) Two of them lived at the house the majority of the time and my oldest stepbrother stayed for a couple of years; none of them shared the same mom but would visit or stay with their moms for periods at a time. I asked my mom a few questions about what life was like raising 3 boys as their stepmom.
Briana: Do you think it was easier being a stepmom to boys rather than girls?
Jackie: In my situation, absolutely being a step mom to boys rather than girls was easier. Having 3 stepsons and each having a different mom, created a different dynamic in that each mother’s relationship with her son was extremely different from the other.
With the oldest step son, it was a natural acceptance, his mother had moved on long before I came along. Her and her son had a strong relationship. We bonded immediately.
With the middle step son, his bond with me as a young child was very strong, our relationship bloomed out of necessity, probably because he never felt the motherly bond as an infant and it was something he wanted but couldn’t express verbally. So he was very demonstrative right away. His mom had been at odds with his dad because she had wanted a relationship with his dad and punished the child for the dad not reciprocating.The youngest child, we had a bond always, however, strained a lot of times because he definitely was the one who tested all boundaries. His mother using him as a pawn and the fact that she literally despised me just added kindling to the fire.
Jackie:The hardest thing about being a step mom was having different parenting styles from my spouse.
Briana: How did you make sure each child was treated equally and that no one felt left out?
Jackie: Because I’ve always had a close bond with you and the fact that your understanding was well beyond your years, it was easy for me to navigate making each child feel special and not “blended”. I never referred to them to anyone as my “step-sons” they were introduced as my children.
Briana: : What was the hardest part about working with the boys’ moms?
Jackie: Three different women, three very different personalities. The oldest child’s mom, we never really had much contact, but when there was any, always amicable.
The middle child, a decent dialogue, but I was resentful because I felt like she rarely did anything with or for her son until he got older and he was more of a benefit to her than a liability.
The youngest child’s mom was the biggest thorn in my side. She had frustration, anger and resentment which boiled over into her child’s life and sometimes into my home. We never saw eye to eye. I realized that it wouldn’t ever get better because my ex never mediated the situation. Never.
Briana: What was your biggest concern about being a stepmom?
Jackie: I never had a concern about being a stepmom. I knew I only wanted the best for my children in all things and it was my responsibility to make that happen while they were in my care.
Briana: Did you and Pop ever disagree about the discipline of the boys?
Jackie: Always disagreed about the discipline of the boys. In hindsight, his parenting skills were so different from how I’d been raised.
Briana: Looking back, what is one thing that you would do differently?
Jackie: I’d spend even more time than the time I spent: traveling, doing cultural things and just enjoying you guys more.
Briana: What is one piece of advice you would give to other women about how to be a good stepmom?
Jackie: Don’t refer to your “step kids” as “step kids”; love them like you birthed them.
BMWK – Mrs. Jackie had different experiences with all of her son’s mothers. And regardless of her relationship with them, she loved the kids as if they were her own.