The Truth About Being a Stepmom and The Second Wife

by | Oct 2, 2017 | 0 comments

As a little girl, I had the fairytale fantasy that I would grow up, meet my Prince Charming, get married and live happily ever after.  We’d then have six kids (weird, I know. But I’ve always wanted a big family). And be the wonderful family that everyone wanted to be a part of. I never imagined being a stepmom would be part of my life plan.

But as they say, sometimes the grand plans you have for yourself get overruled by what the universe has in store for you.

For the most part I am living a fairytale fantasy of a life. I have my Prince Charming, I have four (so far) wonderful kids, and I have an amazing family.

However, my Prince Charming is a divorced man, with a child, and that makes me a second wife and a stepmom.  Being a stepmom and a second wife was NOT part of my fantasy.

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And to be honest, sometimes being a stepmom really sucks.

I never dreamed that I would marry a man who had been married before.  All of the “firsts” that couples do together when they are in a serious relationship and get married are exciting, and he had done all of those things before.

For me, he was the first man I lived with, first man who proposed to me, first man who I said “I do” to. He was there to share my excitement when I found out I was pregnant for the first time.

When I had our first child and held her in my arms, it was all exciting to me and I was experiencing it all for the first time.  I could not help but get upset whenever I would think about the fact that he had done all of those things with someone else for his first time.

It just was not fair.  However, I know that the experiences he had before me, including a failed marriage, were all teaching moments that have made him the amazing man and partner that he is today.

And I am grateful for that. 

But that all leads to the fact that I am being a stepmom.  Not an evil stepmom, but a stepmom nonetheless. I absolutely love my stepdaughter (MK), who is now nine years old.

I first met MK when she was about two years old, so she never really remembers a time when I wasn’t around.  She calls me mom, and that is her choice.  It just happened organically, and I’ve never corrected her, but I have also never requested (or demanded) that she do so.

We have a really great relationship and MK is a blessing in my life. But, that being said, being a stepmom sucks and I do not wish it on anybody.

Here are all the reasons being a stepmom sucks:

Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #1

You never really get the honeymoon period. 

Most of the time after a couple gets married, they spend the next year or more just being a married couple. They travel, go out with friends, or hunker down at home doing all the things newlyweds do (wink wink!).

But, when I got married, I wasn’t able to do that because we already had the responsibility of a child. That’s the responsibility of being a stepmom.

We did not get to take vacations whenever we wanted.  Nor did we get to have a schedule that was all our own.  We already had a built-in family and that came first.  And it sucked.

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Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #2

You have no decision rights, but all the responsibility. 

I have no say in where MK goes to school. And I have no say in what activities she participates in; nor any say in scheduling.

I have no say in anything.

But, I have all the responsibilities of the decisions that are made about all of the aforementioned things.  Whether it’s spending my time hauling her across town or being a single mom to 3 little ones while my husband is gone for hours on end doing the same, I just have to suck it up and do it.  It sucks.

Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #3

Another adult gets to tell me what to do with my time. 

There are three people in my relationship.  Me, my husband, and my husband’s ex-wife.

Decisions that the ex-wife makes about her schedule and MK’s schedule dictate what I do with my own time.   If the ex-wife books herself a solo vacation and we pick up the slack, it means any plans I had go out the window.

Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #4

It’s awkward when people ask how many kids you have. 

I never know what to say when people ask how many kids I have.

Most of the time I say that I have four kids.  But then, it gets weird because I say that my kids are ages 9, 4, 2, and 9 months.  And then I think, “gosh I hope they don’t think it’s weird that that is such a big age gap between the first two” (which is stupid I know).

So I start back peddling and explain that my oldest is actually my stepdaughter, but I count her as a kid because I love her as my own, and blah blah awkward laugh.

Why can’t I just shut up?


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Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #5

The back and forth schedule. 

It gets very emotional with our kids seeing their sister come and go all the time.  They are too young to really understand, but they know that when MK is not at our house, she is at her mom’s house, and they miss her.

But what really sucks is when you buy your stepdaughter some super cute new clothes and you see her wearing them as she is getting ready to go to her other house!

NOOOO!  I know that if she wears them, we will probably never see them again.  So, we usually have her wear the clothes she showed up at our house in back to her mom’s house.

I have four kids.  I want to keep all the cute stuff I buy so I can force the younger kids to eventually wear them as hand me downs!

Non-Joy of Being a Stepmom #6

This little thing called discipline. 

Disciplining a stepchild is so hard.  I’m lucky that I have a really respectful and great stepdaughter, but even after five years of marriage, I still feel like I have to walk on eggshells when disciplining her or asking her to pick up after herself.

It’s like I don’t want to ask her to do things because she looks at me like the “evil stepmother”.  She keeps comparing the fact that I do not ask her younger sister to do the things I ask her to do, and my response is “she is 4, you are 9.”  And it has nothing to do with the fact that she is my stepdaughter.  I’m always battling this stigma of being “evil” and not her “real” mom.

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Being a stepmom and second wife is a huge emotional rollercoaster.

It is hard.  But, it is worth it.

My life did not pan out the way I thought it would when I was a little girl, and that is ok.  The fact that my husband was married before me made him the man he is!

The fact that my husband has a daughter and is a wonderful dad made me fall in love with him even more when we first started dating!

You never know what life is going to throw at you, but it all happens for a reason.  I have a fabulous little girl in my life that I can help teach and shape into a beautiful human being.

My kids have a wonderful big sister who they adore!  My life really is a fairytale, the plot is just a little different that I had originally planned.

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Veronica Cowen
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