3 Words Every Stepmother Knows

By Michelle Zunter

I think it can be universally agreed that most girls don’t dream about becoming a stepmother when they grow up. I didn’t even know what a real-life stepmother was until I stayed at a friends family home over the holidays when I was 19. This was an eye-opening experience for me.

Outside of stories like Cinderella and Snow White, I had no concept of what a functioning, real-world stepmother would look like until I met my friend’s stepmother.

My friend’s stepmother was a “cool stepmother .” She was a free spirit. She made a mouth-watering vegetarian soup that I still remember today. She let her gray, curly hair tumble free without vanity. She was kind, welcoming, and intelligent. She was a therapist. I idolized her.

Looking back now, I would never have guessed that I would also become a stepmother some 15 years later. I doubt I even entertained the thought of something like that when I was 19. Words like divorce or stepparents were not a part of my daily narrative back then.

My own parents stayed together while I was growing up and they are still together today. Most kids I grew up with in my small, Canadian town had the same type of parent dynamic as I did. If there was a marriage break-up there was usually a boyfriend or stepdad who eventually came around – but not a stepmother .

There are three words that will visit a stepmother at one point or another. Some of us may never actually say it – but we will think it.

These days, things are quite different. The abundance of blended families and stepmothers who have their stepchildren half of the time or even full time is quite staggering.

Now that I am a stepmother , I’ve discovered this growing culture of fiercely dedicated, determined, and passionate stepmothers who wear their hearts on their sleeves and put their walk where their talk is.

But there are three words that will visit a stepmother at one point or another. Some of us may never actually say it – but we will think it.

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