A Letter To My Children’s Stepmom


A Letter To My Children's Stepmom

I see you there standing on the sidelines at my child’s sports game. 

And sitting in the back row at the school play. 

Awkwardly wandering the elementary hallways on meet-the-teacher night. 

You’re kind of young, and you’re a little shy, and you’re not quite sure where you fit in. 

You’re new to this mom thing, and it shows. 

It can’t be easy going from single-with-no-children to stepmom-of-two in the span of a single 45-minute wedding ceremony. It must feel overwhelming at first. 

It can’t be easy to figure out your role in this disjointed family. Are you supposed to give bedtime hugs, but no kisses? Should you help out with homework, but skip helping out with bath time? Do you dole out punishments, or do you let their dad handle all of the consequences? Where exactly do you fit in? What should the kids call you?

I’ll admit that I felt apprehensive about you at first. I didn’t like the idea of you getting to spend time with my children that I was missing. Christmas Eve dinners that “weren’t my year” and family movie nights with my family in my old living room. I felt jealous over the bond you were sharing with my kids. What if they decide they like you better? What if you’re the cool mom and they forget about me?

But as time went on, I realized that I didn’t need to worry. There is room in their hearts for both of us. They can love you without taking away any love from me. They can have an attachment to you without compromising their relationship with me. We don’t have to be in competition with each other. 

I started realizing other things, too. 

Their dad is a better parent when you’re around. I don’t know for sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say he’s a better husband, too. Perhaps you’ve found a way to repair the broken pieces that I was never able to fix. You’re good for him, and you’re good for my kids. 

So I just wanted to write you a note to tell you that. 

I know we’ll probably never be best friends, and that’s okay. 

But I still wanted you to know that I appreciate you. 

I appreciate the balance you bring to their dad’s tough-love parenting style. I appreciate the fact that the kids look better dressed with their hair actually styled when you’re around. I appreciate the way you encourage my children and care for them and set firm boundaries without being harsh or overbearing. I wasn’t sure about you at first, but now I feel better knowing that they’re in your hands on the weeks that they’re not with me. 

I see you there on the sidelines of the sports game. My child suddenly trips and falls to the ground and starts crying, unable to get up. I jump up out of my seat to go to her, but suddenly, you’re there first. And I just hang back a minute and watch the two of you. I see you crouch down on the ground and tenderly rub her back, whispering encouraging words in her ear. I see her look up at you and solemnly nod, rising to her feet and running to get back into the game. She’s little, and I probably would have babied her like I always do, and carried her right off the field to sit with me on the sidelines. But you didn’t. You watch her run down the field with a faint smile on your lips and pride in your eyes, and then you turn and meet my gaze. And I smile at you, with a look that I hope conveys what I’m feeling. 

You’re a good mom. 

And I hope you know that today, of all days. I hope you don’t have that shy, awkward look when people wish you happy Mother’s Day as they pass you in the grocery store, and tell you that you have beautiful children. 

I hope you smile and nod and accept their words as truth. 

Because you’re a good mom, and this day is for you, too. I am, and will always be, so grateful that our children have you in their life. After all, they’re not just my kids; they belong to both of us. 


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