To my own ex-stepmom

Now that I’ve been in this stepmom gig for a year and a half, I’m realizing how hard you had it. You don’t have biological kids; neither do I. We’re both childless–but have both been stepmoms. We have that in common. I realize now just how hard this role must have been for you, because it sure as heck is tough for me.

When you and my dad divorced, I was glad to see you go. But I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand how hurtful it was to have a child turn your spouse against you, like when I told my dad that you’d told me that my way of making the bed was wrong. My dad went and yelled at you and I was glad for it at the time–but now, I’m sorry. I was upset because my late grandma was the one that taught me how to make the bed, and then you told me it was wrong so I lashed out at you through my dad. I’m even embarrassed for my dad that he let me manipulate him like that. I’m so sorry.

I didn’t understand how hard it can be to have to share your new spouse with a child. I had to pass up the opportunity to be a newlywed and spend evenings alone with my husband, having dates and fawning over each other. There’s always a child around. And while my dad wasn’t custodial when you were married to him, you still probably experienced some of the same feelings: “When is it my turn? When do we get to have time for just us? When do I get to stop competing for your affection?” It couldn’t have been easy for you, and for that I’m also sorry.

I didn’t understand how hard it is to learn to be a parent while your every move is under a microscope. Doctors, school officials, the biological parents, the grandparents, your own parents and family, even the stepchildren themselves, all questioning whether you know what you’re doing or not–and usually concluding that no, you don’t know what you’re doing. “How could you know? You’ve never had kids.” But yet you still have to put out the effort, whether they think you know or not; because if you don’t, you’re like one of Disney’s wicked stepmothers. You had to feed us, you had to play with us, you had to drive us around once in a while, and you even had to bathe us when we were smaller. And yet there was always someone watching you saying, “You’re doing it wrong.” It’s a no-win situation and it must have been hard for you. I know it’s hard for me, and I’m sorry for putting you through this same thing.

Now that I’m facing these same challenges I’m sure you faced, I realize that you didn’t receive enough credit; I’m starting to think that stepmoms never do. For all of it, including things not listed here, I’m sorry. I’m sorry your marriage to my dad ended, but at the same time, I’m able to learn from it. I can look and see what went wrong, where I drove a wedge between you and my dad–and I can try to rectify these things in my own marriage.

Thank you for everything.

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on March 27, 2009.

7 Responses to “To my own ex-stepmom”

  1. That was a very nice letter..if you know where she is , you should send it to her…it would mean a lot even after all these years.

  2. i would love for someone to write me a letter like this.

  3. I am glad the karma bus found you and smacked you down. You desrve it for being a part of breaking up their marriage

    • This is rude. Obviously she feels guilty and understands. Karma will come back to you for belittling others. You should be ashamed.

  4. *Tears* Bravo for writing this! I hope you actually send it to your ex-Stepmom.

  5. I agree that you shoul send the letter to your ex-stepmom. Being a stepmom is not easy. It’s sad that her relationship didn’t work out with your dad. She must have felt some sense of failure after all she did to try to make it work. Your letter may actually help her in more ways than you know even if it has been years since the divorce.

  6. My wish for my step daughters and their mother is that they are all stepmoms one day! Its the only way they will EVER understand the hell in it all.

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