This past fall I married a man with 2 children from a previous marriage - hence entering the world of stepmotherhood. I never ever thought I'd be here. I had spent the better majority of my life working hard to further my career and continue to find that part of my life both rewarding and very fulfilling. I knew likely I would marry - I had great interest in the companionship and lifelong partnership that would bring. But I have never had quite the same desire to be a mom, let alone a stepmom. Life has a funny way of interjecting an alternate path when you least expect it!
Since I met the kids almost 4 years ago, and knowing my relationship with their father was going to be serious, I started searching for support help and doing a lot of reading. But so much out there just never felt like it fit me...negativity, horror stories, or just basic differences - like me not bringing any kids into the equation on my side. I felt like the odd man out, and often felt more alien to stepmotherhood (or the possibility of it) than before I started reading. It is an ongoing "battle" for me. There are some days where I feel very confident in my role as stepmom. There are other days (many more than I would like to admit) where I feel out of sorts and paralyzed almost by the two kids running through my house.
But with this book my feelings were very different. I found myself affirming some of the lines with noticeable head nods and even outloud comments like "I'm not the only one" and "I knew it wasn't just me." It was great. It was like finding a positive, comforting and empathetic friend who spoke with candor and honesty but also with heart and passion for making stepmotherhood more welcoming, more understood, and most importantly, more valued than it often is.
So many stepmoms, especially those who bring no children of their own into the relationship, struggle to find their place with the children. And also come to terms with what this change means for them - both with their husband and with their career/independent life. My big struggle continues to be how to balance my professional life - which is probably the best it's ever been right now - with a personal life that to some extent, I never imagined myself a part of. But slowly, each day gets better, a little easier, more comfortable. Thanks largely in part to a very strong, supportive husband.
Ms. Fletcher's book was refreshing, positive, and very helpful. Put it at the top of your list if you are going to be involved as a stepmother, now or in the future. Few take on the topic like Jacque does.