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There are many times when being a mom and a step-mom feels like a thankless job. We cook food for the family, only to be told that it "tastes funny" or to remind kids for over an hour to eat their food and stop playing. We clean a room in the house, only for it to be messy within the next hour or less. We sweep and mop the floors, only for them to be muddy again within the same day. We budget the bills, only to have things come and blindside us that were not expected in the month’s budget. We do laundry, only for something to be worn for an hour and then thrown right back into the hamper.
As a stepparent, we do all of this plus the added task of taking care of children we did not give birth to. Expected to love and care for them as our own, but do not receive the same love and respect back. We arrange meetings, help with homework, try to set good examples and parent in the most appropriate way possible, but it still never seems to be enough. Unfortunately, many of us get very little respect from birth parents for whatever reason may it be—resentment, jealousy, or unwarranted hatred. Sometimes the feeling that you are always doing something wrong can be overwhelming, draining, and mentally exhausting. However, being a mom is one job we cannot just quit. Our families rely on us to make sure things are taken care of, cleaned, and cooked.
How do I move forward on the days that get to me mentally? The days when I want to go on a "mom strike" and just leave everyone to fend for themselves? I check out, just momentarily. I take a bath or a long shower, I go grocery shopping (kid free), I go for a walk. During my alone time, I think about how my life was before I was a mom. I think about how lonely I was and how I had longed to feel what true love was and what it meant. I never knew the feeling of true love until I had children. Then after I tuck my children in for the night, I look at them while they sleep and my heart is filled with an abundance of love. My children have brought me more love than I have ever known within my lifetime. The kind of unconditional love that I never thought I would have in my life. This is why I continue doing the same mundane tasks, day after day, night after night. This is why I put up with so much, as a step parent, that would send many people into fits of rage. I do it all for my children, to be the best mom I can possibly be for them. Because one day they won't be so little anymore, and one day I will miss all the pillows and blankets that are constantly on the floor, the crumbs in the couch, the toys scattered throughout the house, even stepping on Legos...
One day I will miss it all and the house will be silent. Only then I hope that the loneliness doesn't return. I hope that my kids remember me as the mom who sacrificed to be there for them, who put her own dreams and goals on hold to ensure I could be there to help them learn and grow, who cared to help them through homework. Who was there to help talk through the tough things in life. I want to be remembered as the mom who always had a home cooked meal and clean clothes in the closet. I want to be a memory of care and love for my kids so that even when they are grown, I still feel like home to them whenever they come around again. One day I will be nothing but a memory, and I plan on being a good one.