This is one of my favorite topics! An idea that used to drive me insane and now, one I simply laugh at. When things start to heat up, be it from jealousy or any other tension, biomoms like to do what I call ‘tossing out the biology card’.
Let’s just call it like it is. Somewhere along the line it becomes a competition. An ongoing competition. A race to the trophy of ‘Best Mom’ between biomoms and stepmoms. Who will win?! Who gets to be the child’s favorite?! This can be a silent race, or a very vocal, bitter and sometimes downright pathetic race.
Ladies, we need to come to accept that we will be faced with petty BS consistently and instead of entertaining it, take the high road in every situation. You will hear me referring to the ‘high road’ a lot. The high road is holding your tongue when it’s easier to sling mud. Well deserved mud at times, but still wasted unnecessary mud 🙂 The high road is allowing the child to talk about, make cards for, and if nothing else, having you simply remain NEUTRAL in every aspect involving their biological mother. This can be very difficult, but it gets easier once you learn to see it from the right perspective.
I’m to a point now where I don’t even give it a second thought. My stepson’s biological mother’s name does not cross my lips in front of him. Her life is hers alone to live without my concern as we live ours without her concern. The two should not cross except in absolutely vital circumstances. You are NOT married to her ladies. Remember that. I’ve been taught that if he asks about her, I am always to give generic neutral statements, and remind him he is able to contact her at any time if he would like. These generic neutral statements are where you win friends. Use them, consistently. It’s not your job to answer questions for little ears, let them figure it out. They will do so without your help and they will only resent you if you are speaking poorly of their flesh and blood. And no it doesn’t matter if it’s deserved, your opinion isn’t what counts. Have faith that the child will form an accurate opinion, if you leave yours out of it, he will and your relationship will be better off for it.
I’ve learned how incredibly, EARTH-SHATTERINGLY intelligent children are. All they want to know is that they are loved and their opinion matters. They want to know that they are allowed to feel ANY WAY THEY WANT and you won’t judge them or make it uncomfortable for them. In a phrase I often use to describe these munchkins, they are wise FAR beyond their years. They were forced to grow up faster than kids who never had any such challenges. They know the truth already, you ‘feeding’ it to them will only backfire. If you honestly are taking the high road, the biology card will become easy to blow off.
The throwing of this ACE starts something like this:
Stepmom is in the picture. She is raising stepchild, sometimes full time, sometimes part time, sometimes it changes, but she is in the picture nonetheless and an important part of it. Biomom has trouble with this. She senses a threat, real or imagined.
Stepmom is doing one of two things:
1. Fueling the fire ~ coaxing the kid to pick favorites, speaking poorly of biomom, or trying to take over and leave biomom out
2. Taking the high road ~ keeping opinions to herself, trying to encourage a relationship with biomom, buying gifts for her so the child can give her something, making cards for her with the child for occasions, connecting biomom to teachers, doctors, coaches -helping to ensure her involvement with the child etc.
Perhaps biomom has every right to be livid with a woman who jumps in thinking she can take over the parenting (scenario 1), or in some cases, ahem, she is bitter because someone is doing it better (scenario 2) and perhaps she feels a bit guilty…so instead of DOING all the things she knows she should be doing, she talks about it. They must believe putting it down on paper and telling people that’s the way it is makes it reality.
In either case, after either being pushed to the limit by a shallow stepmom’s childish attempts to piss her off (scenario 1), or in some cases, feeling more fulfilled by using words and saying what they do for their child(ren), rather than actually DOING it (scenario 2), they throw out the biology card. It is thrown at their convenience, usually when there’s nothing left to ‘play’. Stepmom is actively taking on the role of mother, while biomom frantically tries to discredit her. But biomom has run out of false accusations and most likely, petty insults too. Whatever will she do now?! How can she win the trophy if she isn’t doing her part?!
So, the card is tossed, enter, the ACE. It comes in either verbal or written form. It’s so familiar and predictable, it does at some point actually become funny. I’ve read it. I’ve heard it. It is an all out last ditch effort to remind the WORLD that THEY CREATED THIS CHILD AND A STEPMOM CANNOT COMPETE WITH THAT! Something about a ‘bond between a mother and her child can never be broken, and we know what we have and no one can take that away from us and God put us together and you will always be my child and I made you and we are one and —-‘ ……bored yet?
Okay, while it’s TRUE that a biological bond is one of great importance, a bond that a biological mom has that a stepmom doesn’t, it is not the only thing that makes a mother. Now, I will give THIS to a biomom, there ARE evil stepmothers out there. They are terrible people, and they wish to creepily move in on another woman’s child because they aren’t mature enough to handle this position. In THAT case and THAT case alone, this ACE is as good as gold and is more than valid.
But for the MAJORITY of stepmothers, we KNOW we didn’t birth your kid for God’s sake, who are you so desperately trying to prove this to? Us? Or yourself? I don’t WANT to be his birth mother. That was not God’s plan and I don’t try and alter God’s plans in anything. However, for whatever reason, you are not raising this child with his father. By splitting from his father, you chose to allow another woman the opportunity to join in the responsibility. Sometimes, your choices dictate that another woman raise your child entirely. Enter: Me. Biomoms, you can’t POSSIBLY think this is a dream come true for us can you? No woman grows up with the dreams of having their life strung together this way. No woman dreams of having a DIFFERENT wedding, or a DIFFERENT mother-child relationship or a DIFFERENT and COMPLICATED lifestyle. But some women are strong enough to take this all on because the child and his father were too special to pass up.
I get the jealous drivers behind the biology card at times. I do. I really do. But what is to be gained from this? Instead of DOING the work, these biomoms TALK about what they have done in the past (worthless in the present and future, folks), they TALK about all that they are DOING (really? Not leaving much of an impression eh?) and they TALK about their FUTURES with this child. A pretend future. An imagined future. The only FUTURE with a CHILD is one made with sweat, blood, and tears day after day after day so the child knows who they can COUNT on in the future. It’s NOT based upon whose NAME is on the BIRTH CERTIFICATE they won’t even look for until they’re 18 years old and applying to colleges!
Oh, and more importantly, that card alone, that flimsy, piece of paper, that floats away in the most subtle of breezes? That card that is easily ruined by the slightest rain or better yet, RIPPED IN TWO by tiny hands at their discretion (anyone with kids knows a silly little playing card doesn’t stand a chance around a young child!)….that card? It means less than nothing in the eyes of a child. Believe me, I know this. My stepson said to me this morning as I DROVE HIM TO THE SCHOOL WE PAY FOR, after I FED HIM BREAKFAST, after I GOT HIM READY, wearing the CLOTHES I WASHED, carrying the LUNCH I PACKED….phew! He said that I was the best mommy ever and he was so happy that God brought me to take care of him.
A beautiful blessing to my ears. This isn’t new. I’ve heard that more times than I can count. Not because I TALKED about what a great mom I am or all the things “I DID” for him somewhere in the past that I hold onto because I haven’t made any new memories for him. No. It’s because I AM one hell of a mom and I “DO” DAILY for that child. Not in years long gone. Not sort of sometimes. Not here and there. Not when convenient. I DO IT DAILY, CONSISTENTLY and have never stopped. And he knows it.
Now, I didn’t create him, we’ve established that. But one mother gets up every day to do these things. That mother is me. I used to love hearing about how I was just ‘faking’ it; just a wannabe mother and I could ‘share’ in the parenting but I would never be his mother. Because he wasn’t ‘mine’ and I couldn’t possibly know about the BOND he shared with someone else because he’d never share that with me.
Yawn. Yawn. Yawn.
Well, it’s like this. While these biomoms are busy shuffling their deck, we’re raising ‘their’ kid. While they sleep well thinking they’re throwing out aces that we can’t possibly compete with, we sleep well knowing we’re doing right by ‘THEIR’ kid and ‘THEIR’ kid is viewing US as MOMMY. And while they waste time talking about all the reasons they share an unbreakable bond with the child(ren), we’re making memories, the child’s growing up, and their words are falling on deaf ears.
I try not to spend too much time on the very real issue that having a child doesn’t simply make you a mother. But sometimes, just sometimes, it has to be said. I have and will continue to take the high road. And I will do so for this reason alone….
The day will NEVER come that my stepson says anything in any shape or form similar to this: “You kept me from my mother and you made me hate her and you lied and you didn’t take care of me and you didn’t allow me to have my own opinion. You didn’t offer to help me make her Mother’s Day, Birthday or Christmas cards. You didn’t try to encourage a healthy relationship between the two of us and you’ve left me empty”.
Those words? They’ll never come out of his mouth. He has his own opinion, the door is always open for him should he choose to go through it. Funny though, I keep the option available and he continues to refuse it. Perhaps because he’s perfectly content knowing I’m there like I say I will be. So toss your card biomoms, we call your bluff, because we have been, are currently, and will continue to be all in. Whether you’re betting or not.
Ladies, when biomom does this, it can and probably will bring you to your knees a time or two. How frustrating to feel like all your work is in vain? Everything you do and how hard you try is unraveled by simple words from someone else? And many times that someone else is doing HALF the work of you if not LESS?! Wow. Awful. Just awful.
Get over it.
The biology card is funny, treat it as such and leave it on the table for the next poor sap to use. It took me a long time to realize that what matters is how this kid feels, not what others think. Do you have a sibling? Do your parents love you equally? Do you have a mother in law? Were you blessed to have one as AMAZINGLY GLORIOUS as mine (father in law as well) who you love just like your own because they took you in as their own from the moment you set foot in their lives? It’s the same with kids. There’s room for bonds with EVERYONE. When she plays the biology card, laugh, and remember it’s only played when she is desperate. If she were doing HALF as well as you were, she wouldn’t have to be desperate 😉
Now, get up, shake it off, and get back to doing what you do best. Being one hell of a stepmom. You don’t have time for words that mean less than nothing. You have a child to raise, bonds to strengthen and memories to make. As a mature and responsible woman, you know how to give respect where it’s due. Respect her, as best you can and you must absolutely expect it in return. A stepmother takes on a thankless job and I will never EVER be disrespected after all I’ve done. If she wants to play nice, great! If she doesn’t this isn’t middle school. Let her go. Live a life that you can be proud of and one that child can emulate. He needs an EXAMPLE. Give him a phenomenal one. Keep your words positive and your heart open. The rest will work itself out as it always does.
And let her keep the aces. You’re the one going home with the jackpot.