Ms. Dora is a parent, grandparent, and Christian counselor who offers suggestions on raising confident, compassionate, responsible children.
There is a certain monumental act which goes unnoticed, though it deserves the world’s applause. It is the choice to become a mother to another woman's child.
Motherhood has its challenges, and step-mothers often have a double share. Their children experience multiple layers of emotions which are overwhelming. It is not unusual for one of them, in an attempt to throw a jab at the confusion, throw it at the mother instead. Most times, the child shows immediate regret, and a mother’s heart forgives.
The following poem tells the story of a step-mother who struggles to win the hearts of her two step-daughters.
Poem: Heart of A Mother
“You’re not my mother,” she screamed at me;
I heard the anger in her voice.
She could no longer ignore me;
‘Twas time for her to make a choice
Between accepting my wise counsel
And denying that I was around;
Ever since her father had married me
She thought my advice was unsound.
“You’re not my mother,” the younger joined in;
The echo did not surprise me.
The girls teamed up to create a hell
Whenever we did not agree.
Ready to date at age fifteen
And thirteen—too young by my book;
Their father requested my input
So there I stood with a caring look.
“I’m not your mother,” I gently said,
“But how I wish I could have been;
You’re two very special young women
Based on potential that I’ve seen.
I’m not surprised that those two young men
Are anxious to be your first dates;
Good women are hard to come by,
Whether as girlfriends or as mates.
“I’m not your mother,” I rubbed it in.
“But you need a mother’s insight
To help interpret the ways of men
When wrong seems so much like the right.
It’s not that you’re foolish or wayward;
Not that I wish to see you frown
But I’d like the chance to guide you,
To love you like my very own.
“True, my womb never could produce you
But my heart doesn’t seem to know;
My bosom desires to hold you
To nurture and shield as you grow.
I’m looking ahead to the future
When a man noble like your dad
Come seeking a shrewd, worthy woman
Who showed tact when pursued by a lad."
The older one hung her head a bit
And wiped a teardrop from her face.
The younger one took that as her cue
And shuffled to my embrace.
“I’m not your mother,” I started to say,
“Forgive me,” sobbed one, then the other.
My heart forgave them as soon as they asked,
For mine’s the heart of a mother.
A Quick Heads Up
"You're not my mother," is a statement a stepmother can expect to hear. If she does not hear it, it is time to thank God that her relationship with her step-child is better than average.
James Lehman, MSW counsels that when a child says those words, it is an attempt to:
- take away the parent's power;
- invite the parent to a fight.
The child's hurtful words are not to be taken personally; the child would have said it to any other woman. It is probably just the child's way to create a situation in which he or she can release anger, frustration, confusion or any other negative emotion.
The advise is for the mother to stick to her mother's role. Be firm but remain approachable. Say nothing judgmental about the biological parents and grasp every opportunity to be loving.
5 Encouragement Quotes for Stepmothers
- "You can have a meaningful, loving, influential relationship with your stepchildren, but it will be different from that between a mother and child. That's okay. Embrace it, and make the most of it." ―Lindsay Ferrier
- "Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother." ―Oprah Winfrey
- "Stepparents are not around to replace a biological parent, rather to augment a child's life experience." —Azriel Johnson
- "I want to say this to every stepmother: take it a little easier, try not to be so insistent, try not to have your desires dominate. . . The moment you step back from whatever it is that exasperates you, you get an unrestricted view of the situation—and you can take a breath before you move forward." ―Margit Eva Bernard
- "Children only want to please. If you just care and love and pay attention, they will respond and fill your heart." ―Shadra Bruce
Another Article for Stepmothers
- How to Establish a Positive Relationship Between Stepmother and Stepchild
There are some simple tips which the prospective stepmother may overlook. They can make the difference between a seeming wise or wicked stepmother. They can help to establish a positive relationship with the stepchild.
© 2011 Dora Weithers