I’ve said it before – being a stepmom is one of the hardest jobs in the world. So it is so refreshing when you see a woman who not handles it with grace, but also makes it a goal to help others in the same situation. That woman is Jamie Scrimgeour, and she writes the blog, The Poptart Diaries! I love reading her posts for the sound advice that she gives, and also the feeling of knowing that we aren’t alone in this. I know you’ll love getting to know her as much as I have.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your family.
A: My husband and I have been together for just over three and a half years now. I’ve been married to him and his three kids for about two and a half. And I say I have been married to him AND the kids because that’s how I looked at it from day one. When I committed to marrying this man, I knew I wasn’t just committing myself to him, I was committing myself to the three kids that came along with him.
On top of my stepdaughter, who is 13, and my stepsons, who are 11 and 8, my husband and I have a daughter, Reese, who is 18 months old.
All three kids just adore Reese. She has been the perfect addition to our family. In doing this interview, I’ve taken a moment to reflect on the past 18 months, and it’s really made me realize that Reese has brought us all closer together as a family.
Q: What perceptions did you have going into your situation? What did you think it meant to be a stepmom?
A: I’m a child of divorce myself, so I know what it was like to have another women come into my life in the “stepmom” role. When I started to date my husband, all of the memories that I had as child came roaring back. Many of them not so good.
I don’t think I knew exactly what it meant to be a “stepmom”. Even though we all think we know what we’re “signing up for”, you never know how life is going to progress. All I knew is that when I committed myself to him, I was committing myself to them.
I never wanted them to feel like they were left out, or that I was coming in to take their father away from them, or trying to replace their mother. I knew is that no matter how things progressed, I would always treat them the same as I would treat my own child and that I would always be empathetic to their situation, remembering that however resilient kids are, their world had been rocked and no matter what, having divorced parents is no easy feat.
A: In terms of trying to be empathetic and reminding myself what it feels like to be a child of divorce, my position hasn’t changed. I constantly make an effort to keep this at the forefront of my mind.
I know from my own experience that even as time progresses, having divorced parents isn’t something you just “get over”. It’s still hard, no matter how much time has passed.
A: Number One, be empathetic. Take a moment to put yourself in everyone’s shoes. Think about what it feels like to be a stepchild, think about what it feels like to be the ex-wife, think about how it feels to be your husband in your situation. This is especially important in scenarios where there is conflict and tension. It helps to shed some light onto why people are behaving the way they are behaving. Being able to understand someone’s position, whether you agree with or or not, can be a huge game changer in the blended family world!
Number Two, which actually is right up there with number one, stay out of any conflict between your husband and his ex-wife. No matter how amicable things are, there will be times when they don’t agree. Even if you feel like you can help solve things, or you want to jump in and give your two cents, just don’t. Bite your tongue. Support your husband behind the scenes (or even call him out when he may not be seeing things straight), but try not to get directly involved. Chances are it will only make matters worse.
A: What’s the best part of being a stepmom? That’s actually a really hard question to answer, because there are so many things I love about my family. Actually, I guess that’s the answer right there… this family. This family is the best part of being a stepmom.