Today I’d like to introduce you to another wonderful Stepmom, Donna Mott of Families Unbroken! I have been following Donna for some time now, and she is such an inspiration to me and so many other Stepmoms out there, and after reading her interview, I know you will see why.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your family.
A: My husband and I have been together just over eight years. He is my rock. At the time my daughter was 8, my son was 3, and my stepson was 4. It astounds me that my daughter is now 16, my son is 11 and my stepson just turned 13! Our life is chaos and happiness. Our boys are on the same alternating weekend schedule with their other parent and together with us, so they are very close. Our daughter is the typical teenager who thinks her brothers are annoying but is the first to step up if anyone tries to say or do anything to them. We do a lot of laughing, quoting lines from movies and making memories. Even though we are on a fixed budget, we always seem to find crazy stuff to do. Over the years, we have made flubber, smoke bombs, oobleck, pudding art, gingerbread houses, homemade dog treats and more. When the boys shared a room, we cut their bunk beds apart and hung them from the ceiling to make more floor space. In the last year alone we have visited three historical sights, took a wild horse tour in a Hummer, went sledding on the largest sand dune on the Atlantic coast, went hiking in the mountains, attended two airshows, visited a local planetarium and aquarium, raced RC cars at an indoor RC car racing park, laid on the trampoline and watched a meteor shower in our backyard, toured a town featured in a famous movie, took a short helicopter tour of an island, and did I mention rode the world’s tallest giga coaster? Actually the boys rode it while I kept my feet firmly planted on the ground and prayed for their safe return. :)
Q: What perceptions did you have going into your situation? What did you think it meant to be a stepmom?
A: Going into it, I thought myself, my husband and the other parents would all just get along, but that has not always been the case. However in spite of those issues with the kids and co-parenting, I committed to loving my stepson when I married and committed to loving my husband. I wanted to make sure that my stepson knew that it was okay to love both his parents and in time, love me. I never wanted him to feel like he had to choose. During the first week we were married, we sat down with the kids and had a family meeting. Together we came up with family rules and guidelines that we all felt were important. Divorce and remarriage can be so difficult for the kids. We wanted to create as much stability as possible. During that meeting I told my stepson that although I was the mom in our house, I would never try to take the place of his mom and my husband said the same thing to my children about trying to replace their dad. We ended that meeting that night by writing it down on a big poster board and hanging it on the wall in our house. And then we prayed and asked God to help us grow together as a family.
Q: How did that perception change over time (if it did)?
A: Establishing the guidelines and boundaries really helped my husband and I continue to offer love and stability to all of the kids during times of change and transition that has unavoidably happened over the years, such as court hearings, moving, the other parents remarrying and having children, etc… It also helped me get through times of discouragement when I realized that no matter what I do or say, it will still possibly be perceived negatively.
Q: What advice would you give to a woman who is about to become a stepmom?
A: The best advice I can give a new stepmom (and this is not just coming from my experience but also what I’ve seen with other stepmoms) is to realize that your stepchild is not their mother. They are a separate, unique, wonderful individual with their own thoughts, feelings and ideas. Learn to separate the ex from the child in your heart. By clearing out those nonproductive feelings, you make room in your heart for a deep love, acceptance, and compassion for your stepchild that will richly bless your life.
Q: What is the best part of being a stepmom?
A: The best part of being a stepmom has probably been the hardest for me as well. And that is to learn to step back and play a more supportive role as my husband parents his son. I admit it has been hard at times to not give my opinion or try to take over in situations regarding my stepson when my heart is so involved. I make sure that my husband has time set aside every weekend that he is with us just for the two of them. It has created appreciation and deepened my relationship with my husband and my stepson. The closeness that our family shares, the adventures that we go on and the memories that we make are the best part!
Thanks so much to Donna for so eloquently putting into words the feelings that so many of us have! And for the insightful advice that I think we all can use.
Follow along with Donna and her family: