I am a military wife, and parent to 3 almost grown stepchildren and 1 young toddler.  I have been raising kids for 12 years now, so I was always a little confused by the comments I received when I was pregnant about how my life was about to change.  I realize that many step parents only have their children part time, and so perhaps people thought that my role as a “new mom” would be vastly different from what I had previously experienced.

My role as a step parent has been different than many.  In fact, I do not really understand the “step” part.  While I respect the role and title of the children’s biological “mom”, and therefore am overly cautious to remember my title as “stepmom”, I have never raised these kids that way.  I do not know how to parent part time.  I was not raised in a step family environment, therefore I raised my kids the only way I knew how, as kids, rather than “step” anything.

While so may feel differently, my heart quickly discovered that there is no such thing as step-love.

While my husband was deployed and the children’s mother was MIA, I was the person responsible for raising these kids.  I have been a cheer mom, a team mom for football, a booster club participant, a fundraiser mom, and more.  I have sat through more tumbling practices, dance recitals, back to school nights, and sporting events than either of their biological parents combined.

Yet, somehow my life was to change so dramatically with the birth of another child?  Maybe the people making the comments about my life changing don’t really understand our family, or choose to not understand, because it is not the norm.  But, the reality is, the only difference with my “own” child is that I don’t have to share her, I don’t have to worry about someone being offended because I was referred to as “mom” by a friend or family member, and, God willing, I won’t ever have to comfort the cries that come from a child wondering why her “real mom” couldn’t be at that week’s important events.

While there have been many struggles with this role, I would not give it up for anything in the world.  I love my family and all of my kids, with all of my heart.

On a side note:  Interestingly, most of the people saying that are the parents of younger children, and have yet to enter the adolescence era with their kids.  They are the ones who truly have no idea what they are in for!